Good evening everyone. I am Samarie’ Alston, one of the vets. Last week I was given the opportunity to give a speech to you all today about my experiences at Eureka! and I just would like to say thank you to all of you because it is truly an honor and blessing to be standing up here today.
I remember when I first started Eureka! last summer everything was still shut down because of COVID, which I’m sure we all would say had an impact on how Eureka! camp was initially intended to “be.” To be more in-depth, swimming was not accessible, which we vets all live for (especially Messiah lol). There weren’t as many hands on activities; we didn’t get the chance to see what the experience was when it came to using the UNO meal cards, and so on. Due to this, I truthfully was not eager nor enthused to partake in being in the Eureka! program and wanted to discontinue being a part of it. Not realizing besides all the uncontrollable, Eureka! is a privileged program to be in and I was blessed to be one out of many girls who’ve done an interview to get in. Therefore, I started to change my mindset about the program and tried to look more on how Eureka! is an amazing opportunity for myself or any young woman seeking for a better future for themselves.
My experience being a part of Eureka! has been like a rollercoaster. From not liking it to appreciating it and seeing its values – I’ve learned a lot more about the values of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) because of Eureka! For instance, in bioinformatics we learned how to obtain DNA from a banana rather than a human, and how to dissect a frog as well as a shark. We also did robotics. Not only did we learned all about STEM, we touched on the topic sexual health, which I’m really appreciative about because I feel it’s really an important topic for us to talk and learn about, especially at our age.
To conclude this speech, I would just like to thank a few people. To start, I would like to thank my peers, the vets for bringing good energy to the group, even when one of us is not having the best day, for making one another feel comfortable while around each other. It was a no judgment zone, that sister feeling. Next, I’d like to thank the UNO staff, especially Mr. Parker for being understanding and taking consideration of all of our feelings. And lastly, I would like to thank Ms. Morgan for keeping this program put together for every single one of the young ladies, for being supportive, and for making me feel like you’re someone I can come to if needed instead of just “boss” (having that boss mentality).
Congratulations to both the vets and rookies on your graduation today.
Being a part of this program has truly impacted me as a person, and words cannot describe how thankful I am.