By Chanda Temple
Special to The Times
Carver High School senior Jamerial Gardner has been busy the last few weeks.
In between class work and applying for college scholarships, she’s looking for summer engineering internships.
“I email (companies) regularly, telling them that I want experience or a job shadowing opportunity,’’ said Jamerial, 18.
While she waits to hear what will come for her this summer, she continues to line up networking opportunities in the engineering field and beyond.
On Friday, Feb. 26, she will be recognized as one of two Birmingham “Shining Star’’ students during a VIP reception at the UNCF gala at the Sheraton hotel in downtown Birmingham.
And in March, she will be one of six Birmingham City Schools students to attend an all-day STEM workshop at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
“I believe in making connections and learning all I can,’’ said Jamerial. After graduation in May, she wants to study to become a chemical engineer. Already, she’s been accepted to Tuskegee University and Alabama A&M University.
“I’m still working on scholarships. I have 19 in my phone. I’ve applied for six so far,’’ she said.
She’s focused on college because she wants to develop an app to determine the safety of drinking water.
“In certain countries, I’ve heard that their water is not where it should be. I want to eliminate that so everyone has clean water,’’ she said. “I want to create an app that will allow you to use your phone and scan the water to see if there are any impurities in it.’’
“People want clean water, which is why they buy bottled water. We need good water to keep us hydrated.’’
Caring about others is just one of Jamerial’s concerns. Making good grades and pushing herself for excellence are two others.
She is part of the Academy of Engineering at Carver. She has a 4.2 GPA and is tied for valedictorian of her school with best friend Ariana Robinson.
In March 2015, she was named the 2015 “Birmingham Student of the Year” during the Best in Minority Business Awards dinner. She was selected the Academy of Engineering student of the month in September 2014.
She visited Costa Rica in the summer of 2015 through Carver High’s Cultural Ambassadors program. While in Costa Rica, she studied the Spanish culture and explored their ecosystem and water purification system. She has also traveled to China twice through the Birmingham to Beijing project. She speaks Mandarin-Chinese and Spanish.
The school system’s academy coordinators selected students to attend the STEM workshop in Huntsville in March.
Kristie Williams, academy coordinator at Carver High, selected Jamerial because of her strong interest in chemical engineering.
“Jamerial is a member of the JROTC, loves labs, science and engineering, so I thought this workshop would be a perfect fit for her,” Williams said.
“This trip will be a great opportunity for her to meet and talk to some NASA engineers and gain hands-on experience,” Williams added. “Right now she is working on her senior project with a UAB professor. And when she’s finished, she’ll earn one college credit at UAB. This trip could provide her network opportunities and expand her research for her project.”
“I think this trip will enhance her experiences in the Academy of Engineering at Carver. She may come out of this and decide she wants to work for NASA,” Williams said.
Said Jamerial: “I’m excited to see the NASA scientists and learn about their background and how they became the people they are today. Last year was my first time visiting the Space and Rocket Center. I loved it. It’s important to keep going there. I learn so much.’’