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Orcas Island student Bethany Carter selected as 2023 WA STEM Rising Star

Seattle, WA. – Bethany Carter, a student at Orcas Island High School, has been named Northwest Washington STEM Network’s 2023 Washington STEM Rising Star.

“Bethany’s drive is unparalleled. She is an innovator, a risk-taker, and a team player, and she goes above and beyond to find ways to pursue her passion for STEM,” says Meagan Gable, a career counselor and teacher at Orcas Island High School.

The Washington STEM Rising Star Awards recognize young women who explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in ways that will support their education, career, personal development, and community. The awardees were nominated by their schools and selected in partnership with regional networks. They will receive a $500 stipend and will be celebrated at Washington STEM’s 2023 Summit luncheon.

“The data show that a strong cradle-to-career STEM education prepares students for high-demand, household-sustaining jobs,” says Lynne K. Varner, CEO of Washington STEM. “The Rising Star Awards highlight the next generation of leaders and encourage girls and young women to explore STEM education and careers.”

The 2023 Rising Star awardees are listed by name and region on the Washington STEM website.

About Washington STEM Washington STEM is a statewide, education nonprofit leveraging STEM for social change, removing barriers to credential attainment, and creating pathways to long-term economic security for historically excluded students. In our state STEM is at the forefront of discovery, on the frontlines of creative 21st century problem-solving, and serves as one of the largest pathways to family-wage careers and long-term economic security. STEM pathways have promise like few others in Washington and it is imperative that students of color, rural students, girls and young women, and students experiencing poverty have access. For more information, go to www.washingtonstem.org. You can connect with us on Twitter (@washingtonstem) and via Facebook and LinkedIn.


When you were five years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? What do you want to do now?
When I was five years old, my highest aspiration was to be a waitress at Zippy’s or a veterinarian taking care of pandas. My focus has changed a little since then – I now want to do something in aviation, like being a professional pilot or an aerospace engineer.

What’s your favorite STEM subject?
My favorite subjects within STEM are calculus and physics. I really enjoy physics specifically because it gives us a way to describe and explain everyday things that we take for granted. I use a lot of basic principles from physics in sports, when trying to figure out more efficient ways to move or transfer power.

Who is your STEM role model?
Someone I have always looked up to is former Thunderbird pilot Michelle Curran. She flew F-16s in the Air Force for 13 years, became the second woman ever to fly for the elite Thunderbird demonstration team, and is also a public speaker and author. She has demonstrated what pursuing excellence within STEM in a high-performance and competitive environment can look like, and I find it very inspiring.


“In our small island community, students must be proactive about finding robust educational opportunities, and at every turn Bethany has selected STEM activities in and outside the classroom to challenge herself, grow as an analytical thinker, and encourage others to do the same.

“Bethany’s drive is unparalleled. She is an innovator, a risk-taker, and a team player and she goes above and beyond to find ways to pursue her passion for STEM.”

Bethany has excelled in the most rigorous math, science, and computer science courses offered at our school, and is currently the only female in her AP physics class. She served as a TA for our Technology Department […] and is also a Teen Tutor, dedicating time each week to mentor a younger student, offer help with homework, and serve as a friendly upperclassmen ‘buddy’ at a time when making positive connections is so very important.

While Bethany’s list of STEM related coursework and extracurriculars are impressive on their own, I am most inspired (awed, really) by Bethany’s participation with the Airhawks Flying Club. Through this organization, Bethany has passed her private pilot written exam, solo-ed in an airplane on her 16th birthday, and earned her pilot’s license just one year later (the youngest permitted by the FAA). She is passionate about a career in aviation; she absolutely lights up when you ask her about it.” —Meagan Gable, Counselor & Teacher, Orcas Island High School


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