Looking back: the long-term impact of LPS

Some members of the class of students that participated in the inaugural year of Letters to a Pre-Scientist in 2010 have now entered college! Meet Emma Hughson, a first-year college student at UNC who was in Macon Lowman’s 6th grade class when Letters to a Pre-Scientist was piloted. She explains how the program has influenced her education and career goals. Hearing pre-scientists reflect back years later shows the real impact that the mentorship of a scientist pen pal can have.


Emma HughsonMy name is Emma Hughson. I am double majoring in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina. I am planning to attend graduate school with hopes of working in a social service/outreach setting. My hometown is Colerain, North Carolina. I attended middle through high school in Bertie County in very rural Northeast NC. Bertie County is a rural community that is comprised mostly of farming and other local businesses. I did enjoy my hometown, but I do feel that moving from a very small town to a very high paced environment like Chapel Hill has been a challenge. In the header is my yard/around my yard, this is the basically how the whole county is this time of year.

In 6th grade I was a part of the first group of pre-scientists at Bertie Middle School in Windsor, North Carolina. Looking back on this experience, I feel that a great deal of my appreciation for higher education came from my 6th grade teacher, Macon Lowman, and her emphasis on mastering something that you truly care about. This experience instilled that beyond an undergraduate or even high school education is something very important, even though it is not common in Bertie County. I began UNC wanting to pursue biology and eventually become a doctor, but this changed the more I became involved with other activities on campus. Although I’m not pursuing a career in the “true” sciences, I do feel like the research involved in the social sciences is genuinely science even though it does not encompass our traditional views of STEM. I would say that my initial like for STEM has led to wanting to become more involved in research and is very much STEM related. I am very excited to again be a part of Letters to a Pre-Scientist, but this time as a scientist. Along with discussing all things STEM with my pen pal, I feel that the most important thing I have to share is my experiences throughout middle and high school. Because I recently graduated high school (May 2017) and am currently experiencing college and applying to graduate schools, I feel that I have a different perspective than most “scientists”. Although I have not received my pre-scientist’s letter yet, I am extremely excited to be reconnected with Letters to a Pre-Scientist and encourage another individual to pursue an education in any scientific field.

Help Letters to a Pre-Scientist provide even more students with the mentorship of a scientist pen pal. Donate to our fundraising campaign by November 30, and spread the word!



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