Taylor Ballard
Category: 2021 High School Winner

Taylor Ballard

Throughout history, African American women have been marginalized in the areas of education, profession, and workplace. African American women have suffered through challenging times to acquire equal rights and privileges which has highlighted their determination to empower others. As an African American young lady, I refuse to allow those adversities to create barriers that prevent me from succeeding in my career pathway . My aspiration is to pursue a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics career field where African American women are definitely underrepresented and dominated by other ethnicities. I strive to break glass doors and open opportunities that will enable me to create change, such as my inspirational figure, Katherine Johnson. Furthermore, she has encouraged me to realize that I can achieve anything considering her triumph in the 1962 NASA space exploration.

Katherine Johnson’s competence in mathematics gave her the opportunity to assist astronauts by discovering paths for their spacecraft to orbit Earth and land on the Moon. Johnson’s calculations efficiently and effectively worked for NASA space exploration; without Johnson’s skillset NASA could not have made history without her. Therefore, I admire Katherine Johnson because she has demonstrated that African American women can achieve and prosper in STEM based fields. She has motivated me to utilize my talents in mathematics and science, so I can solve real-world problems. I will not allow distractions to destroy my chance of growing out of my comfort zone, being unique, and seeking better opportunities and experiences. Katherine Johnson has set an example for younger generations by emphasizing that academic excellence will advance them towards their fullest potential.

Johnson has availed her time to empower students about the significance of endeavoring in their learning environments. She has inspired me to increase my work ethic to ensure that I am acquiring all the knowledge I can, so I will be able to apply my intellect in the workforce. Maintaining a high grade point average and being ranked as number ten in my senior class has caused me to fulfill my yearnings. Due to Katherine Johnson’s service to her community, she has made a difference in the world. African American women are more convinced that they can conquer any challenges that hold them back from their future success. Even though Katherine Johnson has inspired me to earn a STEM degree, I will also give back to my community and promote the vitalness of individual intellect.

Katherine Johnson’s statement, “We will always have STEM with us,” emphasizes the need for STEM workers to understand how the world operates and solve issues. She has helped me recognize that the sky’s the limit and I am capable of pursuing a STEM career as an African American woman. Similar to Johnson I will blaze trails for other African American’s who lack the inspiration to undertake the STEM career field. Moreover, the Regions Riding Forward Scholarship will provide me with an opportunity to earn a higher education towards my STEM profession and continue the legacy of Katherine Johnson.