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Young Women in STEM Grant Recipient

Inventor | Author | Disability Activist

2021 Young Women in STEM grant recipient, Jordan Reeves

Describe yourself in your own words and your STEAM projects.

I am a freshman in high school and really trying to figure it all out. I have had some really amazing experiences in past years that gave me a chance to notice my differences give me a different view of the world. It’s helped me look at how the world is designed and ask more questions and think more openly about who should be included when things are designed. Most of my design ideas come from my own experiences as someone who was born with one hand. I’m currently looking at a way to adapt a guitar so it’s more accessible.  

What inspired you to get into STEAM?

I fell into learning about STEAM when I got to attend a workshop where I learned to design a prosthetic arm for myself. I didn’t realize it was a part of STEAM but as I kept designing the concept, I learned how I really liked using STEAM tools and I really liked how I could be creative with my ideas and make them come to life.

What are some advantages you think being a female brings to the STEAM field?

I think being female in STEAM helps me see how creating things can be more creative than some people might think.

How has living with a disability helped you to rethink opportunity?

I think having a disability IS an opportunity in STEAM. More people in the field should make sure people with physical and neurological disabilities are included when they work on solutions. Without the disability community involved in solutions, you are leaving out a huge part of our population. My experiences with a disability make me better at STEAM.

What would you tell young girls who are interested in STEAM, but too intimidated or discouraged to pursue it?

I had no idea being creative was a part of STEAM until I started inventing ideas. Brainstorming and prototyping are so much fun. It doesn’t take a lot of tools, just give it a try. Use the things you find in your home. I think when you take an idea and build a prototype, it’s easier to see the idea come to life.

How important is it for you to inspire other young creators/scientists through your platforms?

It feels strange being considered an inspiration. I hope my experiences can help others realize they should never ignore when a creative idea comes to your mind. If you see a problem, try to find and build solutions. If you have a fun idea, try to create it. If the first solution doesn’t work (and it won’t), keep trying.

What do you think is most exciting about the future of STEAM, and is there a specific advancement you’d like to see happen?

I think the most important advancement is seeing STEAM leaders realize more people need to be included if we’re all going to build and create the best products and solve the world’s biggest problems. It can’t just be white men. It needs to be men, women, non-binary people of all backgrounds and abilities.

Who’s your favorite female icon and why?           

It’s really hard to narrow down to one person.

2021 Young Women in STEM grant recipient, Jordan Reeves