ISM Stories

Emma Tan Blasts Off to Mission to Mars at Villanova University

This summer, ISM’s Emma Tan (‘27) will join outstanding Middle School students from across the nation to take part in a unique academic and career-oriented immersive experience at Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

The National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) is a unique learning experience for bright, forward-thinking middle school students who will evolve into our next generation of innovators, engineers, doctors, forensic scientists, mathematicians, and physicists. For a week, those students will have the hands-on opportunity of working on a wide array of programs relating to the year’s particular theme: Mission to Mars.

As Ms. Elena Harrington, Emma’s computer teacher who nominated her for the program, explains: “They'll have astronauts and engineers who worked on the Mars Rover come in and talk to students and help kids build their own model versions of it. There are also days where they’ll do emergency medical training, like ‘if you were stuck on Mars, what would you do?’”

“They really wanted the best of the best for this program,” Harrington continued, “not only students who were interested in STEM, but students who were also academically excelling… And Emma is such a smart kid. She’s curious and interested in the world around her.”

The program’s outdoor medical simulation, “When Care is Hours Away,” will introduce students to how to perform emergency skills such as wound care or splinting injured bones.

The medical-engineering balance really appeals to Emma.  As she says, “I am most excited about meeting students from across the country who have the same interests and passion as me. I’m eager to explore medicine as I’m deciding between medicine or engineering to pursue in college and there were many interesting pathways in this program that I had to choose from.”

Emma is excited to return to Minnesota with a broadened knowledge of STEM and its applicability in real life especially as she heads to High School where the subject material becomes more comprehensive. The NYLF promises to be an impactful stepping stone in setting Emma up for success during her freshman year at ISM.

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