Jordin Phipps is not your average third-grader. She is a smart, confident and ambitious leader who has a clear vision of her future. She is also the youngest person ever to be accepted to the University of North Texas (UNT), one of the largest public research universities in the country.
Jordin’s educational journey began at Watson Technology Center for Math and Science in Garland, Texas, where she and her classmates recite a daily motivational mantra that emphasizes their potential and goals. One day, Jordin’s mom, Nichole Smith, a UNT alumna and a special education teacher, recorded her daughter saying the mantra while wearing a UNT T-shirt and posted it on the university’s Facebook page.
The video quickly went viral and caught the attention of UNT President Neal Smatresk, who was impressed by Jordin’s enthusiasm and determination. He decided to surprise Jordin with a $10,000 scholarship and early admittance to UNT at a school assembly on September 30, 2016. Jordin was told by the university’s director of admissions that she had won the Presidential Excellence Scholarship for Leadership, a prestigious award usually given to high school seniors and transfer students. She was also guaranteed a spot in UNT’s Class of 2030.
Jordin was overjoyed by the unexpected honor and expressed her gratitude to UNT for recognizing her potential. She said she wants to be a teacher when she grows up, just like her mom. She also said she loves UNT and has the attitude of a North Texas Eagle.
Jordin’s remarkable achievement is an inspiration to many young students who aspire to pursue higher education and achieve their dreams. She is also a testament to the power of positive affirmations and self-belief. Jordin proves that age is no barrier to success and that anyone can accomplish great things with hard work and determination.
Jordin’s story also highlights the importance of supporting and encouraging young learners, especially those from underrepresented groups, to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. According to the National Science Foundation, women, blacks and Hispanics are still underrepresented in STEM occupations, despite making up more than half of the U.S. population. Increasing diversity and inclusion in STEM is vital for fostering innovation, creativity and economic growth.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Among those who pursue a college major in STEM, only about half choose to work in a related career. The U.S. ranks 25th in mathematics and 17th in science among industrialized nations.
To address these challenges, UNT offers various programs and initiatives to promote STEM education and outreach among K-12 students, especially those from low-income and minority backgrounds. For example, UNT hosts an annual Engineering Summer Camp for middle school students, where they learn about engineering concepts and careers through hands-on activities and projects. UNT also partners with local schools and community organizations to provide mentoring, tutoring and enrichment opportunities for students interested in STEM.
By welcoming Jordin as one of its future students, UNT demonstrates its commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive learning environment that values excellence, innovation and leadership.
Jordin represents the next generation of STEM leaders who will shape the future of our society and our world, and we at Rising Africa are proud to share her story. You are truly a Rising African and an able role model for the new African. Rising Africa is a dynamic platform that highlights the remarkable achievements of Blacks and Africans worldwide and provides up-to-date information on scholarships and sponsorships available to African youth. Our vision is to inspire and empower the next generation of African leaders by showcasing the diverse accomplishments and talents of Africans across different fields, including technology, business, arts and culture, and social activism.
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