Ava the S.T.E.M. Princess, a fourth-grade student at Spring Valley Elementary School, is a nine-year-old S.T.E.M. entrepreneur who uses her platform to spread the word that youth with learning challenges should not be ashamed. It just means you learn differently. She knows, she says, because she herself learns differently. Ava and her mother proudly proclaim that she now has a 504 plan that will help catapult her to success.
We recently caught up with the author, influencer, creator and CEO of her STEM-centered business, the Team Genius Squad, while she was on a mission at the Book Harvest Block Party at the American Tobacco Campus. She was accompanied by her mother and dressed to impress with her personalized lab coat emblazoned with Girl Power, the NASA logo, planets, astronauts, and chemistry patches, some of which she purchased and others that she created herself.
“I used STEM to help me with my reading and math skills, and now I can read up to grade level and read in class like all of my friends,” Ava said.
She’s also a proclaimer of the art of business and making your dreams come true.
In her book, Ava Discovers Her Inner Genius Using S.T.E.M., she writes, “With the proper tools, you can be anything that you want to be.” The books have accompanying activity and coloring books.
Ava said her mom noticed that she loved videos so she practiced by talking to her dolls, watching videos and getting ideas from cooking videos. Once she decided upon her subject matter, she decided to write a book because COVID-19 was a barrier to in-person presentations. She also offers YouTube lessons on how to publish your book.
In her book, Ava tells her story by sharing that she discovered her inner genius after troubling experiences led her to the principal’s office. Her parents sought help and found that their daughter had a reading disorder. Once Ava’s challenge was determined, she soared. She was given a 504 Plan that helped her improve her reading skills. She now teaches S.T.E.M. lessons and presents publishing workshops on YouTube. Her work has been viewed 600,000 times on YouTube, and she has 90,000 followers on social media.
Social media aside, Ava’s can-do spirit as a student is a motivating factor at her school.
“We are very fortunate to have Ava The S.T.E.M. Princess at Spring Valley. Her love of S.T.E.M. activities, excitement for learning and her positive attitude inspires other students to do their best and persevere,” said her principal, Gwendolyn Wilson.
Ava’s best advice for her peers is to believe in yourself, find something you’re good at doing, and encourage others.
She wants to establish relationships with companies to spread her message farther about STEM and its impact on young people and their ability to think critically.
Since becoming an author, Ava has been featured in Forbes magazine, she has partnered with the PBS Rootle Roadster Tour, and she hosted a S.T.E.M. event at her school. Her book can be found on Amazon as well as at the Durham County Library. She plans to write another book as well.