Albemarle High School senior receives Emily Couric Leadership Forum scholarship

What do popsicle sticks, some rubber bands, and a plastic spoon have in common?

Well, for one, they’re all common household items. And, when assembled correctly, can become a catapult.

These materials, along with several other items that can be found in most any house, are what make up the Key to Learning kit, designed by Albemarle High School’s Aditi Prakash and her partner Ramneek Kaur.

“The kids are just so happy to have an exciting science experience,” Aditi said. “I think that getting kids involved with STEM as early as possible is the best way to get them excited about science and continue into STEM in their careers.”

The goal of the kits is to put science in the hands of children and teach them how it relates to life. The Key to Learning website features videos on each portion of the kit for students in 3rd through 6th grade to follow along with while building their way through the kit. So far, the duo has delivered 200 kits, and has received a request for 400 more.

It was Aditi’s work on this project that got her noticed by the Emily Couric Leadership Forum board. The project is also what won her a $35,000 scholarship through the forum to attend Stanford University in the fall.

“It’s been a blessing to even be considered for this award,” Aditi said. “It’s like a dream come true.”

The Emily Couric Leadership Forum awards scholarships to 10 young women leaders who make an impact on their community each year. To date, the program has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships. And Aditi plans to continue making an impact on her community, wherever she goes.

“Just seeing the amazing women in leadership that we have in Charlottesville has been amazing,” Aditi said. “I think it’s very important that women take these leadership roles and make the change in the world we want to see.”

To learn more about the Emily Couric Leadership Forum, visit their website. For more coverage on this story, see NBC29’s coverage.