What matters to you so much that you will shout about it to the world?
The answer to this question is actually quite important as your passion for what you love makes you, well, YOU! For Taylor Richardson, a 14 year old from Florida, the answer to this question is science and space. She’s been a big fan for a long time and she set up a crowdfund when she was 9 years old to go to space camp! She now wants to give other young women like her same chances so she has lent or donated more than 8,000 science and technology books in her community through ‘Taylor’s Take Flight with a Book Club’. She has also raised over $150,000 to send young women to see the films Hidden Figures and A Wrinkle in Time. This year, Taylor teamed up with the Irish company that makes Lottie Dolls to create ‘Astro Adventures Space Suit’ which was inspired by all of her hard work. Taylor has met celebrities like Oprah and Ava DuVernay, but she hasn’t let that get to her head. She is now working on bringing A Wrinkle in Time to Ghana for young women and instead of getting presents for her upcoming 15th birthday, she has asked for donations to give some of these young women essentials like shoes and textbooks.
It is pretty incredible that Taylor has achieved so much in such a short time, but it is clear that she has worked hard to make it happen. She has a fantastic Mam and Gran who are behind her all the way – a team of awesome women who are changing the world together! We asked her some questions about all of the fab work she is doing!
What sort of skills do you need to do what you are you doing?
I think you need determination, drive, support, confidence, education and to be open-minded, especially if you are working in a team!
What do your friends think about all the work you do?
I don’t know! I am Taylor at school and Astrostarbright when I am working on promoting science. This helps me focus on my friends and my grades when I am at home in Florida.
Who inspires you?
Dr Mae Jemison is a big inspiration for me. She was the 1st African American in space
I read her book ‘Finding Where the Wind Goes’, where she spoke about how she was bullied and how she sometimes felt discouraged. I’ve definitely felt like this before so it was really helpful to read about Dr Jemison’s experiences.
Who are your heroes?
My Grandma, Mae Jemison, Oprah Winfrey, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye
How do you feel about having ADHD?
I call it ‘Abundantly Different and Highly Divine’. It is what I have but not who I am. If everyone is trying to be someone else, then who will we be? It will not hold me back.
What was visiting NASA like?
It is really just an office building, so it isn’t actually that exciting. However, I did get to experience Zero G at Space Camp and that was so cool!
Whats your top advice for Shona readers?
- If you can dream it, you can achieve it! Support people who look like you and who don’t look like you in your village and beyond.
- Oprah told me that “The highest honour on Earth that you will ever have is the honour of being yourself.” and this is something I live by!
- You do not know what you want to do right now, but the best thing you can do is give back to your community.
Taylor has lots of great ideas and she is working really hard to make them all happen. We can’t wait to see what she gets up to in the future and you can find her on Twitter as @astrostarbright and Instagram as @astronautstarbright. You can see her full talk online and we definitely recommend you check it out!
Thanks to our Head of STEM and GIF’s Dr Claire Murray for meeting with Taylor, and being our constant eye on the world of Science.