Earth Day Awards 2016: Taylor Meyer's Illuminating Project

Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Meyer Optional Material

Taylor Meyer, Houston, Texas
Stratford High School, 2016

Taylor acted as the organizer when she and a group of classmates from her Academy of Science and Engineering class banded together to endeavor to build 200 solar-powered, portable lanterns to send to an underserved village in Nuevo Cañete, Peru. Taylor asked each group member to raise two hundred dollars. After compiling resources and efforts, Taylor and her classmates installed solar panels and energy-efficient LED lights onto 200 jars. Taylor is a four-year member of the Student Council, a member of the National Technical Honor Society, and the president of Health Occupation Students of America.

Q) Tell us about how you became interested in building solar-powered, portable lanterns and sending them to underserved villages.

A) I learned about the impoverished villagers in Nuevo Canete, Peru from my friend’s mission trip to Peru. Just to hear her describe the one bedroom houses they were living in without the luxuries we take for granted was so humbling that I decided I needed to give back.

If there were one thing you could predict about the future of science, what would it be? The evolution of energy as alternative energy not only becomes more advanced and efficient, but affordable as well. I predict the switch to renewables as science evolves and we changed the old reliance on dinosaurs that died millions of years ago.

Q) If there were one thing you could have in the classroom that you don’t currently, what would it be?

A) Research time, having the ability to explore and experiment with the subject outside from what the teacher dictates would leave so much more room for discovery intellectually. I would love to look up unique stories in history or discoveries in physics to better fully understand the subject.

Q) Tell us about your favorite teacher, how have they supported or inspired you?

A) My favorite teacher has been my Health Occupation Students of America Teacher, Sean Plake. This teacher has constantly encouraged all of his students to achieve and with his positivity, and constantly reminded us that he was “glad we got to see him today”. He helped me explore my interest in the medical field and made learning about the human anatomy fun as he presented new ways to learn the material and interactive lesson.

Q) How has NSHSS played a role in your academic career?

A) NSHSS has constantly pushed me to keep striving for success, having a support group behind me such as NSHSS reminded me that there were others alongside the journey with me.

Q) What is your fondest or memory related to your Earth Day Project?

A) My fondest moment would include the process of creating the lights in the blistering Houston heat of my friend’s garage. The process was difficult manufacturing the lights and by the end we had a mess of sheared plastics, more than six fans,and lemonade pitchers scattered all around us. However,  the end result of being able to help so many less fortunate than us was more than rewarding of our little sacrifice and helped me learn the importance of giving back.

Q) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A) In 10 years I see myself on the cutting edge of a research team designing more sustainable alternative energies. Alternative energy is what drives many of my passions and thus doing this project not only helped others but furthered my own interests in advancing the alternative energy world.

Q) What do you plan to study in college?

A) I plan to study chemical engineering so that I may perhaps design solutions to the world’s current energy problem.

Q) What do you hope for this year’s incoming High School Freshman class?

A) I hope this year’s incoming High School Freshman class will take a optimistic and motivated outlook to the next four years of high school. What you put into your time at high school is what you get out of it, so the more effort used will reap the greatest rewards.

Q) Outside of your environmental advocacy involvement, what has been your favorite / most enjoyable aspect of high school?

A) My most enjoyable aspect of high school has been my Academy of Science and Engineering club. This club has been a course that has constantly pushed me to think not only harder but more creatively when faced with creating solutions.

Q) What do you do to stay organized / focused?

A) To stay organized and focused I use an agenda. My most prized possession, I use my agenda to write down all of my goals I have to achieve before the end of the day and it helps me focus on what is important.

Q) How do you relax? What’s your favorite hobby?

A) My favorite hobby is photography, I have Canon TI-84 Rebel that I take around with me everywhere. Capturing life's little moments is one the most breathtaking things in the world as a moment of time is capture in an instant.  When looking at photographs I am taken back to the scene they were created in and even if they were artificial, I can still appreciate the thought and effort that surrounds their composure.

Q) Do you have a motto? If so, what is it?

A) “Dream as if you’ live forever. Live as if you’ll die today”.

About the Earth Day Awards

The NSHSS Foundation has partnered with the Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) to encourage environmental stewardship among high school students globally through the Earth Day Award competition.  Prizes of $500 are awarded to high school students in recognition of environmental stewardship, leadership and volunteerism expressed through the Earth Day projects submitted for the competition. The project was launched in 2013 and is open to all high school students annually.