Aspen Elementary School Student Amalia Valdez Excels At STEM Program

Amalia Valdez, left, and another scholar dissect a heart. Courtesy photo

The team of scholars pose with their advisor to show off their certificates after completing the National Youth Leadership Forum Pathways to STEM program this summer. Courtesy photo


Aspen Elementary student Amalia Valdez spent six days at the University of Denver over the summer participating in the National Youth Leadership Forum Pathways to STEM. There she was able to explore medicine, engineering and criminal scene investigation.

“I enjoyed building my robot that I named Bot,” she said. “I also enjoyed dissecting the cow heart.”

Now a 5th grader, Amalia was nominated for the Pathways to STEM program by her 4th grade teacher Kara Dolence. “I nominated Amalia because she has proven herself to be an incredibly hard-working student,” said Mrs. Dolence.  “She has made huge academic gains, and is always ready to work through a challenge.” 

“I knew that her leadership and organizational skills along with her motivation and creative thinking would be a great fit for a STEM challenge. I also wanted her to feel accomplished for all of her perseverance,” she added.

“The staff and other scholars were all welcoming,” said her parents, Charmaine Nahohai-Valdez and Pedro Valdez. “This gave her some independence and confidence in herself. Being away from home for a couple days and doing the schooling showed her she is stronger than she knows.”

“As her parents we are excited she was able to experience this program and hope she can continue to thrive in her academics,” they said. “Amalia would like to attend the STEM program in another state, to compare the two.”

Mrs. Dolence shared her thoughts about the program, saying, “I only know what I have read online and what Amalia told me after she went this summer, but it seems like a great program. It seems as though the students get to explore how the academics that they work on all year can be applied to real world and career situations. It seems to promote positive team collaborations and outside of the box thinking.” 

Envision is a leading experiential education organization dedicated to enabling students of all ages to explore their interests and gain critical learning experiences beyond the classroom. Envision offers programs to help students develop the leadership, scholarship, and career skills needed to succeed in the competitive 21st century. Learn more about Envision programs here.