Reblogged from afrofuturistaffair
Wilmot, who has an outstanding school record and whose mother works in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field, was expelled from school permanently and arrested by police after her science experiment caused a small explosion. Although not authorized by her teacher, no one was hurt in the incident and no damage was caused. Kiera was also charged with possession and discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device: both felonies.
Homer Hickam can relate to Kiera. In his famous memoir Rocket Boys, adapted into the film October Sky by Universal Studios, Hickam chronicled his own unauthorized experiments with rockets, including a scene where the police showed up at his high school to take him and his friends away in handcuffs.
After being made aware of Kiera’s similar situation, Hickam decided to take action by personally offering her a scholarship to the United States Advanced Space Academy. ASA is a branch of the famous Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama (www.spacecamp.com) and offers a college-accredited program through the University of Alabama in Huntsville that includes STEM education plus college and career preparation.
Kiera has accepted Hickam’s scholarship offer. Kiera’s mother, Marie Wilmot, works at the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute (www.fipr.state.fl.us) and is excited that Kiera has been provided this opportunity. “Kiera is a bright, imaginative young lady who loves science, technology, engineering and math - and she also loves music and art. In today’s terminology, they would refer to it as STEAM, which is the STEM field with the arts added in. Kiera joined her middle school Robotics Team, which is where her love of robotics began. She is very excited at this opportunity and is intrigued by Mr. Hickam’s story. We have ordered the movie October Sky and will be checking out his books. She would like to speak with Mr. Hickam and would like to meet him in person someday.”