This year, The First Tee home office added a new national participant opportunity – the USGA “Learning Science Through Golf” Academy. It’s a four-day academy this July in Far Hills, NJ that includes interactive lessons and experiments, each illuminating various Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) principles.
The USGA’s expertise in the areas of research, science and innovation is of growing importance and touches on every aspect of golf, including a greater understanding of the intersection between science and environmental stewardship.
Local participants between the ages of 14 to 18 and minimum of Birdie Level in The First Tee program, with a future interest in STEM, were eligible to apply for this new event.
We are thrilled to say that our very own Kennedi Whitener-Mason, Eagle Level participant from Fort Bragg, NC was one of 24 teens from across The First Tee chapter network selected to attend! She will have hands-on access to the USGA Research & Test Center, a facility that supports the research and development of solutions for the betterment of the game, and also includes the USGA’s proprietary golf club and ball testing lab.
As part of the essay portion of her application, Kennedi was asked how her future career aspirations related to this academy and what her dream job would be.
Kennedi has big dreams! While her career aspiration is to become a Large Animal Veterinarian, working with animals at a Zoo or rehabilitation hospital, her path to achievement is unique.
A rising High School Junior, Kennedi wants to study Biomedical Engineering. Through these studies, Kennedi wants to learn more about protecting the environment, and golf courses, through the use of organic fertilizers, developing vegetables that provide additional nutrients for humans and animals, when consumed during a long round of golf to provide extended stability, and to be able to engage in research studies focused on curing skin cancer.
After receiving a degree in Biomedical Engineering, she plans to apply to Veterinarian School to become a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine.
Kennedi expressed that having the opportunity to study biomedical engineering first will not only allow her to combine her passion for the game of golf and developmental research, but also aid in her care of large animals by learning how medicines are created and work in the body, how fertilizers protect the environment and what is healthier for animals, and ways to provide better nutrient rich plant crop to animals.
The timing of Kennedi’s acceptance to the STEM Academy couldn’t be better. This August our local chapter will be hosting our first ever Golf, Life and STEM Camps across the Sandhills – at Gates Four Golf & CC in Fayetteville and Pinehurst No. 6 and 9.
Kennedi is excited to be able to return from the July academy and be involved with preparing interactive experiences for our younger participants as well as feeling empowered to present information and engage in conversation on various aspects of golf and STEM.
The First Tee of the Sandhills is truly more than a sports program for youth. Through our in-school and after-school programs, we are shaping the lives of young people from all walks of life while exposing them to new experiences and platforms to grow into successful young adults.
Congratulations to Kennedi Whitener-Mason on her second national opportunity selection!