STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Genevieve Hayes
Cherokee Nation citizen Genevieve Hayes stands next to her science display called “A Shell-less Eggsperiment. Hayes hopes to make strides in her community by participating on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics committee and other clubs at her school. COURTESY
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Cherokee Nation citizen Genevieve Hayes said she hopes to make strides in her community, and the world, by participating on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics committee and other clubs at her school.
Hayes is a sophomore at Casa Grande Union High School.
A member of the Amerind Club, which is short for American Indian Club, she works to involve Native students in the community by bringing awareness to diverse tribes in the state. She also helps serve food to veterans and takes part in the Amerind Pageant, in which she is Miss Amerind First Attendant.
“I am responsible for upholding an appropriate image in my community, both local and tribal,” Hayes said.
But her biggest accomplishment comes from serving on the biotechnology STEM committee.
“I am very enthusiastic about making a positive communal and global impact by applying my knowledge of science to create innovative technologies for society,” she said.
She and her school’s STEM team were recently given the opportunity to “solve a world problem.”
Hayes said she was recruited in August to be a part of Lemelson-MIT, an organization that partners with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to “inspire young people in STEM.”
She said her school’s InvenTeam had the opportunity to create an original invention aimed to solve a problem in the world. They created a wildfire protection system, inspired by the California wildfires that would save homes from catching fire.
She said the device prototype is composed of a reservoir with Class A Foam concentration, a compressed air tank, air pressure gauges, a hose and a sprinkler head.
“The invention is based on the Compressed Air Foam System that is used by firefighters. Compressed air is released into the foam concentrate container. The system them sends the foam mixture through a garden hose that is connected to a sprinkler head and releases the foam,” Hayes said.
The invention received one of 15 $10,000 grants to help build and showcase it at Eurika Fest in Boston in June. Hayes said her team is raising funds for travel.
“Being in the STEM field as a Cherokee citizen means that I am motivated every day to make sure I do not place my own boundaries. It means that I do not let others determine what I can and cannot do. If I let this happen, then it would be as if I was losing a piece of myself, losing a piece of my culture. Knowing where I come from helps me to understand where I’m going,” she said.