Yesterday I took my Refugee Travois to Raleigh, our state’s capital, to meet Governor Perdue. My family, including my grandparents, joined me. Also, Katie Bradigan, Discovery Education’s Director of Urban Partnerships, joined in the fun.
Even though the day went very well, it started off kind of rocky. As of 9:00am, the belt system for the travois was not working because I don’t have the hips of a woman. The hip belt system works great with women. But not with me. Three hours and several design changes later, I came up with a design that relies on the shoulders to bear the load. That works a lot better for slim-hipped people, like us guys.
So even though I thought I was done with the prototype, I wasn’t. Thank goodness I figured something out before we left for Raleigh.
Katie Bradigan met us in the parking lot. “This looks like a 3M/Discovery Young Scientist!” she said as she saw my mom and me on the ground assembling the travois. When Ms. Bradigan told me that us YSC finalists are known by Discovery employees throughout the world, I was amazed. How cool! She also said that us YSC finalists are mentioned in Discovery’s presentations all over the world. Very neat.
Our first stop was to meet Dr. Jeff Warren, Senior Policy Advisor to the President Pro Tem, Senator Berger. I had a great talk with Dr. Warren and he really seemed to enjoy learning about the travois.
Then I towed the travois from the Legislative Building to the Capitol. Fortunately, I met two kids along the way who wanted to take a ride in it. Ironically, their mother is from Ethiopia, which borders Somalia and has had terrible famines as well. The two kids, Leah and Joshua, were a lot of fun.
Next, onto the Capitol to meet Governor Perdue. She was so gracious and genuinely interested in my invention.
I talked with her about having an annual event in Raleigh to celebrate the state’s top STEM competition winners. She thought it was a great idea, as did Dr. Warren. So I think next year’s science winners in North Carolina will be celebrated on the floor of the North Carolina General Assembly and in the Capitol. It’s great to win science competitions, but what us kids fail to understand is that society really does care.
Thanks to 3M, Discovery Education, Governor Perdue, and Dr. Warren for helping us young scientists know that our work matters.