Briana Cuero, a junior at Stony Point High School, has been selected for the prestigious Student Enhancement in Earth and Space Science (SEES) summer internship to be held at The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Space Research.
Students will work with scientists and engineers to conduct authentic research from data received from NASA’s Earth-observing satellites as well as designing Mars habitats and Lunar Exploration. This nationally competitive program sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium selects students who will increase their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math through space education. Over 600 students applied for the coveted 40 internship positions.
Briana became interested in engineering during the summer of her sophomore year at Stony Point when she attended a coding camp for high school students at the Texas Advanced Computer Center. It was at this camp that she realized that instead of becoming a doctor as she had always planned, she wanted to solve problems.
Because astronomy was a hobby of Briana’s, she became increasingly interested in aerospace engineering. Briana applied for the SEES internship the summer of her sophomore year but was not accepted into the program. Briana was determined not to give up.
“When I didn’t get accepted the first time, I had an epiphany that I needed to find out who I was and what I wanted, so I joined a bunch of organizations and started some of my own,” Briana said. “I spent a year trying to do new things and came to the realization that solving problems through design and building was my passion, so I decided to apply again.”
Briana said that along her journey, it was her Stony Point teachers who encouraged her to keep going and even helped her find opportunities.
“I believe many teachers have influenced me greatly, which has led me to want to emulate characteristics that they have. The most influential teacher I have had is my theater teacher, Sunshine Morgan, who has been nothing but a positive force in my life,” said Briana. Ms. Morgan helped me to understand that I can live my life for myself, which has allowed more passion towards math and science to arise, and led me to understand why I want to be an engineer.”
Briana says she has not decided if she wants to be an astronaut, a mechanical engineer or an aerospace engineer, but she feels confident that whatever she dreams, she will achieve and her message to other students is to never give up after the first failure.
Stony Point High School principal, Anthony Watson, said that Briana is a shining example of the incredible talent and grit of students at Stony Point.
“Our students have extraordinary minds and the intelligence to solve the problems of the future,” Watson said. “Briana exemplifies what Stony Point is all about which is excellence and determination. I am so proud of her accomplishments.”