Editor’s note: Your Dream is Our Dream: Celebrating Student Success brings you conversations with students about their dreams and the educators who ignite and inspire them. In a new series from School News Network, students from all levels of education share in their own words and pictures how learning connects them to achieving their goals and exploring their ambitions. An initiative of Kent ISD, Your Dream is Our Dream showcases student success and how teaching and learning help make dreams come true.
Kent ISD — Jennifer Gamino-Alvarez is literally reaching for the stars.
The West Michigan Aviation Academy senior, who also attends Kent Career Tech Center’s mechatronics program, has the goal of one day working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA.
“I like space,” Jennifer said, adding she has always enjoyed numbers and math. “We keep advancing where we can go in space and I think it would be neat to be able to step up to the front lines and help to keep pushing space exploration forward, maybe to help find the possibility of life on another planet.
“After all, space is the final frontier of it all.”
To accomplish her dream, Jennifer, who lives in Wyoming, decided to attend West Michigan Aviation Academy because of the aviation classes it offered, along with the opportunity to earn a drone license. At the Tech Center, she is part of the mechatronics program, which combines traditional fields of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, information technology and control systems.
“I really wanted more hands-on opportunities,” Jennifer said. “I felt I was lacking in skills and it definitely has helped me with that.”
She also found herself breaking a barrier as the first person of color and of Mexican heritage to go through the mechatronics program. And she is ready to break more barriers with plans to study aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan’s Dearborn campus.
While her dream is to work for NASA, Jennifer emphasized that she’d like to remain with her feet firmly planted on Earth.
“My interest lies in helping someone go up into space,” she said with a laugh. “For me, personally, going there is not for me.”