Jade Small
Jade Small
December 5, 2023 ·  3 min read

Girl, 12, heads to college with plans to work for NASA

A 12-year-old heads to college and hopes to become one of NASA’s youngest and brightest stars. It is no secret that some of us struggled during school, especially through the more complicated subjects like calculus, physics, or biology. However, some children, prodigies if you will, seem to excel in all areas in school. With their brilliance and natural talent, they put us in awe. It is then that we ask ourselves; how on earth does a child of barely 13 years manage to attain the knowledge and skills teenagers and adults take a lifetime to master?

12-year-old heads to college

Alena Wicker, a 12-year-old, is heading to college after graduating from high school.[1]

Alena Wicker is on her way to Arizona State University with one clear goal, to become a NASA scientist after she graduates from university.

I just had a goal I wanted to get to,” said Wicker.

At just 12-years-old, Alena is shooting for the stars and stopping at nothing to achieve her dream.

Like most people, Alena has a set of goals she plans on achieving; the first is to work as an engineer for NASA.

I always dreamed of being an engineer because, throughout my life, I liked building,” Alena said.

It’s interesting to see where the inspiration comes from with these brilliant minds; Alena’s passion for building started as a child playing with Lego. 

At four years old, she said I’m going to work at NASA, and I’m going to go up there; she would point to the stars,” said Daphne Mcquarter, Wicker’s mom.

I’m kind of a nerd for the NASA sized Legos,” said Wicker.

Alena finished high school this year with straight A’s, acing all her classes at record speeds.  

She just had a gift for numbers and Legos and science, so I started nurturing that gift,” said Daphne.

Off to Arizona

As if finishing high school at the age of 12 isn’t enough, Alena will be majoring in planetary and astronomical chemistry and science at Arizona State University.[2]

If all goes as planned, Alena will be finishing college at the age of 16-years-old.

I’ll be driving one of those future space mobiles by the time I graduate college,” Alena said.

The 12-year-old heads to college, and hopefully, she will be well on her way to NASA within the same year she graduates. 

Her goal is to, by the age of 16, be working for NASA,” Alena’s mom, Daphne said.

While many of us will continue to struggle with maths and science, Alena has made her goal to build rovers just like the one used in the Perseverance mission sent to Mars.

I’m just planning it all as I go,” Alena said. “It doesn’t matter what your age or what you’re planning to do. Go for it, dream, then accomplish it.”

Next on Alena’s list of things to achieve is starting a podcast. 

When people say reach for the stars, I don’t think they realized that this girl is going to shoot right past them. She’s got bright future.

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  1. 12-Year-Old Genius Alena Wicker Just Enrolled in College to Become a NASA Scientist.” Afrotech. Bernadette Giacomazzo.March 16, 2021.
  2. 12-year-old prodigy set to attend college, says she plans to land job at NASA.Eye witness News. March 14, 2021