18-year old Jackie Means (AKA The STEM Queen) is a lifelong resident of Southbridge in Wilmington. She founded the Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative, which is dedicated to bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to the underprivileged girls of Wilmington. She has also appeared on national television, including The View, Steve Harvey, The TODAY Show, Access Hollywood and Dr. Oz! Because of her commitment to improving the community in which she lives, she is this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE.
“I grew up in Southbridge, Wilmington. I went to the Delaware Military Academy for high school, and I am currently a student at the University of Delaware pursuing my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience. My first job was actually with the City of Wilmington! I worked in the Parks & Rec department as a student after-school tutor and activity instructor.
I absolutely LOVE getting a burrito bowl from my favorite food spot on Market Street: El Diablo Burritos! I go pretty often with my friends, and what we’ll do is we’ll get our food, then head to the Starbucks on the Riverfront and get our drinks, take it all back to my house, then watch some of our favorite shows together! It’s a blast.
My favorite Wilmington attraction is the Riverfront! There is so much to do and see, and great places to grab a bite to eat! It’s also a great place to get some physical activity in – I love walking up and down with friends and family.
I have a lot of love for where I grew up, but I know that a lot of improvements need to be made. Living in Southbridge I want to continue to do my part to better my community and make Southbridge a better place.
Wilmington gave me the incredible opportunity to serve my community. It gave me a place with a need that I could help fill – a need for STEM education. After seeing the negativity in my community, I knew that I wanted to help, and I decided to help by combining my two passions: STEM Education and helping others. I knew then that I had to offer help in some way; provide a different picture of what life could be to the young girls in my community, so I founded the Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative. W.U.S.I. is an initiative dedicated to bringing STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) to the underprivileged girls of Wilmington.
I am very active in my community! For the last 5 years, I have been using the organization I founded at just 13 years old to positively impact the young girls living in Wilmington. Through my Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative, I’ve hosted multiple interactive and hands-on workshops, which I call Girls Empowerment STEM Events, throughout the years. In the past 5 years, I’ve been able to positively impact over 1,500 young girls through STEM! I’ve also extended my impact to the national level, having been featured on many national TV shows, including The View, STEVE Harvey Show, The TODAY Show, Access Hollywood (2x!), Dr. Oz, and many others! I believe that having STEM skills is necessary to thrive in the 21st century, so I am extremely grateful that I am in a position to inspire thousands of young girls to embrace the exciting world of STEM!
To continue spreading not only my love of STEM but also hope and happiness, since March of 2019, I have been posting weekly and bi-weekly STEM videos on my multiple social media platforms AND leading virtual STEM classes on ZOOM, educating others about everything STEM! During a time where there is so much uncertainty, fear, and unhappiness in the world, I have found creative ways to continue to safely bring some fun education & joy to the people, especially the children, living in my community.
Wilmington is a small place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a big impact! Living somewhere so small has its benefits, a major one being that there are opportunities to make connections everywhere you turn. If you are only willing to look for them, moments to network are everywhere around you. Take advantage of those moments!”