Amaya Reyes-Hatfield, pictured with her mother Breanna Hatfield and grandmother Teri Farley, is raising money for her trip to Boston in July for the week-long summer exploration program she was selected for.

When the National Youth Leadership Forum program awarded 11-year-old Amaya Reyes-Hatfield her acceptance letter to participate in a week-long summer event of scientific exploration, it came as a surprise. The “Pathways to STEM” is a leadership program set forth to include America’s high-achieving students to explore a career journey into science, technology, engineering and math.

Her name had been submitted by Chris Mayes, Hawthorne Elementary School Counselor and her fifth grade teacher, Jamar Covington, who recognized her as one of the potential students to succeed in such a field.

“I was surprised when a golden invitation came in the mail saying that I had been selected to choose from 12 different places to attend this program. I earned a $500 scholarship from an essay I wrote which helped, but since I was picked I started a fundraising campaign to pay for my trip costs,” Reyes-Hatfield shared.

Since choosing Boston as her destination, she has posted a donation can with a full presentation board at her mother’s G & B Bistro shop, located on E Street, as well as presenting a snow-cone sale during Armed Forces weekend and setting up lemonade stands. Earning her way has been a challenge but every donation has been appreciated by her excitement to attend such a prestigious, week-long learning session.

Her grandparents, Doug and Teri Farley will accompany her, with plans to meet up with some family members while visiting the historic Boston Harbor, Paul Revere’s home and other monumental locations.

Reyes-Hatfield will be housed at the Babson University dorms, along with her age group of third through fifth grade students. She will be participating with students from within the United States and is hoping to build her strengths in math and study science through the Envision Program. Her personal focus is in forensic science, with her last paper being done on DNA which she will bring to the program on opening day.

This explorations program began in 1985, serving over 800,000 students in more than 145 countries. Designed to create an early pathway toward careers and leadership, it is a hands-on experience to tap into a child’s natural curiosity while challenging the mind. During the six day’s they will build robots, investigate ‘whodunit’ crimes, scrub in like doctors that work with microscopes and find a variety of role-playing exercises to stimulate problem-solving. The students will also build their presentation skills and goal-setting.

Breanna Hatfield, her mother, stated, “It seems unreal that my daughter can receive such an opportunity like this, coming from such a small town and all. I appreciate that her achievements and academics have been recognized already and she can only grow from here. This will challenge her and help her determine what she wants to do.”

A Go-Fund-me page has been set up, as well as the donation can at G & B Bistro, to offset all the costs of this upcoming July experience.