Five years ago, I attended my first NEED Youth Awards and I was amazed by the program and peers I met along the way. Flash forward 5 years and I have just wrapped up my fourth year on staff with the brightest and most curious minds that I have ever met! When I first applied as a Youth Staff Member, I was a soft spoken and shy student- but was aware of my capabilities and passion for STEM and energy related activities. When I arrived, and was surrounded by individuals from all over the United States. I experienced a strange form of culture shock that was eased by our similarities in our love for science and education- little did I know what I was in for. This year at the Youth Energy Conference and Awards, I had the opportunity of undertaking a role in facilitating the Junior STEM Challenge and I am most certain to say that I have grown personally and professionally through NEED. NEED serves as a reminder that there are other people with similar and different experiences that are there to learn and grow with you and that is what keeps me coming back. The 37th Annual Youth Awards program underwent various phenomenal changes and additions that made it into a wonderful weekend and served as a reminder of the development of the program amongst students and teachers involved. The best thing about NEED is that the organization never settles and strives to make energy education and programs accessible for anyone in search! If you really immerse yourself in the potential of NEED’s mission and friendships made along the way, you quickly realize that this program may become a part a part of your life.

First visit at NEED in 2013 determined to receive my Polar Bear and Fish Pins!

Youth staff member receiving an award

2015 Student of the year!

Summer energy internship employees

2017 Hawaiian Boat Rides with friends I have grown up with in NEED the past few years!

Leading Junior STEM Challenge with fun Youth Staff!