Alena McQuarter, a 14-year-old prodigy from Texas, has shattered stereotypes and achieved remarkable milestones in her young life. From an early age, Alena has been passionate about science and determined to prove that girls of color can excel in STEM fields. 

Alena’s academic journey is extraordinary. She graduated from high school at just 12 years old and became the youngest person to intern at NASA. Her internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, provided her with invaluable hands-on experience. “Being able to go to JPL and see their work on rovers and rockets was amazing,” she said, reflecting on her time there. 

Currently a senior at Arizona State University (ASU), Alena will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical biological sciences and a minor in global health. She is also on track to earn a master’s degree in biological sciences in May. Her initial interest in engineering shifted to biological sciences after taking a course that sparked her passion. 

Alena has been accepted into the University of Alabama’s Heersink School of Medicine but is more interested in research. She plans to pursue a doctorate in viral immunology, focusing on infectious diseases. “I want to develop solutions to increase healthcare in underrepresented communities,” she shared. 

Alena’s journey has not been without challenges. In fifth grade, she was told by her principal, another person of color, that girls like her couldn’t achieve high academic standards. This discouragement only fueled her determination. “I wanted to show that I can get good grades and do amazing things,” she said. 

Alena has also founded the Brown STEMGirl organization, which supports girls of color pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math. “I want to inspire other girls to follow their dreams,” she said. 

Despite her demanding academic schedule, Alena enjoys various activities, including sports, swimming, and singing jazz and pop music. Her love for music even led her to teach music and reading to children in refugee camps in Jordan when she was nine years old. 

Her mentor, Tonya Webb, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, praises Alena’s enthusiasm and potential. “She could solve many questions in the field with her life experiences and problem-solving skills,” Webb said. 

Alena’s plans after completing her master’s include applying for doctoral programs and expanding her nonprofit globally. She is passionate about making mental health resources more accessible to college students and addressing broader societal issues. “I want to rescue children in Gaza, give voice to the voiceless, and tackle homelessness and healthcare access,” she stated. 

Alena McQuarter’s story is one of resilience, brilliance, and a commitment to making a difference. As she continues her educational and professional journey, she remains a beacon of hope and inspiration for young girls of color worldwide. “Never let people tell you no,” she advises. “Keep going and focus on your goals.” 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *