Seventeen-year-old STEM Queen Jacqueline Means has made it her young mission to encourage kids — especially girls like her from under-resourced neighborhoods like her home of Southbridge in Wilmington — to embrace STEM.
She’s been given a national platform to do just that from “Access Hollywood,” the celebrity and entertainment news show on NBC hosted by Mario Lopez.
Means, who founded the Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative in 2017, first appeared in a Los Angeles taping of the show on Oct. 24, when she demonstrated some Halloween-friendly “tricks” using hydrogen peroxide, including the always popular “elephant toothpaste.”
Means’ ease on camera and quick wit went over so well with producers that they reached out to her to come back and do it again. Her second appearance was just this week, when she joined Lopez for more STEM experiments in NYC.
“They loved everything I did the first time when I appeared on the show in Los Angeles,” Means told Technical.ly. “Right after the segment, they asked if I would be willing to come to New York for the taping they were doing all week in Rockefeller Center.”
Access Hollywood asked for something over the top, and they got it — after a somewhat tame experiment with liquid nitrogen and food, Means and Lopez created a bigger-than-expected liquid nitrogen mushroom cloud on the street in New York.
It’s been a busy holiday season so far for Means, who recently landed a sponsorship with Chemours to pay for supplies for her demonstrations.
“I just did a Halloween ‘spooky STEM’ demonstration about dry ice at Neighborhood House and I gave out chemistry kits and STEM books,” she said. “I love that [Chemours is] helping out so my mom doesn’t have to pay out of pocket for supplies anymore.”
What’s next for the STEM Queen? As the current Miss Delaware’s Outstanding Teen, you’ll see her in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, which she’ll follow up with her annual toy drive giveaway and another Girls Empowerment STEM Event she’s aiming to host in December.