Clara, 17 – FUNDED

What is your dream?

My dream is to be an astronaut. I have known for a long time now that I’ve wanted to study the universe and the stars. I’d like to become an astrophysicist or an aerospace engineer I think space exploration — whether it be looking for life on Europa, investigating the properties of gaseous planets like Saturn or studying the geology of rocks on Mars — is incredibly essential not only for the furthering of our collective knowledge, but also for the fostering of an environment for widespread growth and innovation. I truly believe that what sets us apart as a species — what makes us human — is our innate curiosity for the world around us. I want so much to be a part of the amazing things that are happening in science and engineering today and also to aid in the development of future endeavors.

How the 1,000 Dreams Fund helped me:

I used the grant to pay for our textbooks for the fall of my freshman year in college.

Who is my inspiration?

When I was younger, my grandmother from China would come to Kansas to visit our family. At night we would sit in the backyard under the stars, and she would point out different planets and constellations. We’d talk for hours them, the stories behind them, how they formed. I loved the stars because they kept us together, even when we were apart.

What are some challenges I have faced?

I have been so fortunate to grow up in a place like Kansas City. However, one challenge I face in pursuing my dreams is that there aren’t a lot of opportunities available for students interested in space in this area.

What words of advice do you have for other girls pursuing their dreams?

If I could change one thing about the world, I would want for there to be universal tolerance among human beings. I truly believe that the first step in accomplishing anything is to respect and accept each other for who we are. In fact, one of the things I love about space exploration is that, while in the past it may have been something that drove people and nations apart, now it is very much an undertaking that brings us together. It really doesn’t matter where you come from or what you believe; science is special in that way — it needs no translation. I think the International Space Station is a wonderful example of the beauty of the international cooperation both necessitated and encouraged by space exploration.