Keira Seidman: Bensalem Young Achievers

 

Bensalem Weekly was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to interview Keira Seidman, I say fortunate because this is one incredibly busy person and she just graduated on Friday.

Keira’s had a very busy High School Career, an honoree at the 30th Annual Salute to Women Who Make a Difference Gala, named Hometown Hero of the Week by Rep. Fitzpatrick, PAGE’s Distinguished High School Student of the Year for 2022, and that’s without getting into all her extracurriculars.

Keira has also been selected as a 2024 Exelon Foundation STEM Academy Scholar.

The scholarship, launched in 2021, gives local students a full-ride including tuition, required fees, housing, a meal plan, as well as books and supplies. Exelon also provides the Scholars with mentorship throughout their career journey including a pathway to college, entry into the energy industry as well as internship and employment opportunities at Exelon.

And when she’s not busy winning awards, scholarships, honors, and getting ready for Rowan University she runs a business with her sister Sophia called STEAMcraft on Etsy which you can also follow on Facebook.

We wanted to have some fun playing 20 questions with Keira, knowing she had a busy weekend and wanting her to relax with some casual questions. But first, let’s learn a little bit about what motivates her.

Keira Seidman in her own words: When I was nine years old, my family took me to a “Young Innovators Fair.” Upon walking in, my eyes popped out of my head and my jaw dropped to the floor when I saw the myriad of STEM booths. From that point on, STEM has held a special place in my heart.

Now as a senior in high school, I am preparing to enter college to study mechanical engineering! FIRST, Robotics has been the main driver of my passion for engineering. I have been a member of a FIRST robotics team since sixth grade. Additionally, I spent a lot of time volunteering at FIRST events in my community, giving back to the organization that has done so much for me.

Through FIRST Robotics, I have had the privilege of meeting so many people in my community. I have mentored and inspired girls to pursue STEM. As the Team Captain of my FIRST Tech Challenge team, I have learned so much about leadership and team management. I am very grateful to have these skills, and I am ready to apply them to new organizations in college. I also enjoy participating in STEM outreach programs, helping underprivileged communities receive equal access to STEM resources and activities.

 

“The Exelon Foundation STEM Academy Scholarship is truly a golden opportunity that will eliminate the financial burden of attending college. This will allow me to focus on my education and continue volunteering via STEM outreach without worrying about going into debt. Exelon has provided me with so much, and I am excited to give back by helping other young women with their educational and career paths. I am already looking forward to starting that process as an alumni mentor this summer at the 2024 STEM Academy in Philadelphia!”

 

Another passion of mine is volunteerism. In addition to volunteering with FIRST, I volunteer with my local food pantry, helping them collect and distribute resources to families in need.

Outside of my studies, I love to spend time with my family and friends, and I enjoy drawing and painting. I love to read books and write about anything from poetry to short stories. I am so thankful for this scholarship and for the many opportunities I will be given through it!

And now…

20(ish) Questions with Keira Seidman

Hi Keira. First, I would just like to say congratulations on the scholarship! I’m sure you’ve made a lot of people proud, family, friends, teachers, and everyone you’ve touched with everything you do.

Keria, how the heck are you?

I’m feeling great! It’s really amazing knowing that I have this Exelon/Exelon Foundation scholarship and don’t have to worry about taking out loans or anything like that like my other friends. I was able to make my college decision based on where I wanted to go, not what I was able to afford.

How did you feel when you found out you received the full-ride scholarship?

It was very overwhelming and honestly, a crazy feeling. I’m so happy!

Can you share the moment you learned you had been awarded the scholarship?

Exelon told all the recipients that we’d be going into another round of interviews on Zoom. I joined the call and they surprised all 7 of us by telling us we’d actually received the Exelon scholarship. I couldn’t believe it was happening!

How has your family supported you in reaching this milestone?

My family has been there for me every step of the way. My parents are my biggest supporters, they are the ones who really helped me get involved in my community and encourage me to follow my interests. They are thrilled for me!

What role did your teachers and school play in helping you achieve this scholarship?

My teachers supported me throughout the entire scholarship and college application process. They wrote recommendation letters, read my essays, and gave me advice and one of my teachers was actually the person who first told me about the Exelon STEM Academy program. They also sparked my interest in robotics and mechanical engineering.

Who has been your biggest influence or mentor throughout high school?

My mom is a chemical engineer, and watching her career is what inspired me to pursue engineering. Since I was in elementary school, I knew I wanted to be an engineer, and seeing a female engineer, like my mom, taught me that I could do that too. My dad has always been the one to help me find activities and drive me to all my different extracurriculars.

What challenges did you face during your high school career, and how did you overcome them?

Some of the biggest challenges were trying to find time to fit everything in my schedule because, there are lots of things I want to do, and eventually, I realized I had to cut some things to make time for what’s important to me. I love science but also play sports. One of my biggest challenges was finding time for robotics and softball. Eventually, I was able to work with my softball coach and robotics mentor to adjust my schedule, so I didn’t have to fully lose out on one activity over another.

That last question is really a lead-in for this question because I can barely manage my day! How did you balance your academics with other commitments and activities? I know you had a ton of them in school and out.

The biggest way I balance my academics with other activities is instead of being on my phone when I have even a small amount of free time, I study whenever and wherever I can. I also use Google Calendar for everything. I have all of my activities lined up so I can keep track of my extracurriculars and not over-commit myself.

What was your favorite project or subject in high school, and why?

My favorite class is probably chemistry or physics. I really like the combination of math and science and you can see there is a real-world application. After taking those classes, I now think about cool real-life things like the acceleration of the car while I’m driving to school.

I read that at one point, you were on the fence as to which field you wanted to go into, mechanical or chemical engineering. What inspired you to pursue mechanical engineering?

Robotics was the main factor in my decision. I like both chemical and mechanical engineering but doing robotics for as long as I have, I just knew that was my passion. There’s something about the combination of building mechanical parts of the robot as well as the design part that I find interesting.

Can you describe a specific project or accomplishment that you are particularly proud of?

This year I was chief engineer on my robotics team, and we finished our project ahead of schedule. That was a result of the work I did to improve the team’s communication and we saw a huge increase in efficiency since those changes.

What are your career goals in mechanical engineering?

I’m looking for a very hands-on career. One of the main reasons I like robotics are the different sub-teams and the different career options. I really want to use my hands to build things that help our community.

Are there any particular engineers or scientists you look up to? My personal hero is/was Richard Feynman.

My mom. I remember going to “take your child to work” days with her and I was amazed by the different experiments and labs. Because I was able to see a successful female engineer in my day-to-day life, I felt like this was all possible.

What are you most looking forward to in your college experience?

I’m most looking forward to more opportunities for hands-on involvement in mechanical engineering and the different labs and clinics.

Now for the really hard questions! What was it like growing up in Bensalem?

It’s a very fun community with a ton of activities around. I went to Belmont Hills Elementary School and I remember going roller-skating or ice-skating with my classmates every weekend.

Did you feel there were ample things to do with your friends? I ask this, knowing about all your extracurriculars, but you know what I mean.

Yes, there was definitely a lot going on when I was growing up. Since COVID, there isn’t as much but it’s still so close to Philly that you can always go into the city.

If you could change one thing about Bensalem, from your perspective, what would it be?

I think there should be more large community events that bring everyone together, not just certain schools or teams. I am lucky to live here, and the town is my home.

What’s your favorite movie?

The Matrix – I really like action and philosophy. There’s always something new for you to think about each time you watch The Matrix.

Who’s music are you listening to on repeat?

My favorite artist is AJR. I like the way they bring in a ton of different instruments and have a unique sound.

And finally, what advice would you give to other students in terms of just surviving the High School experience? A lot of students feel overwhelmed by just the class load, let alone extra activities on top of that.

The biggest thing I’d recommend is to try and get involved in as much as you can and, do what it is that you like to do. It’s possible to do multiple things at once just find some way to keep track of it, whether it’s using Google Calendar or a planner. Just don’t sell yourself short because you don’t think you can’t juggle multiple things at once, it really is possible. You need to find things that fit your schedule. There are even a lot of activities that don’t require asking your parents for a ride, you can take the afternoon activity bus. Just try to find things that interest you and go after them!

Keira Seidman is truly an inspiration, not only to her peers but also to adults who believe they don’t have enough time in the day to do everything they need to do, myself included. She’s a prime example of where there’s a will, there’s a way!

I’m glad we had this opportunity to get her story out.

 

**Correction 6/11/24: Keira will be attending Rowan University and not the University of Pennsylvania. Change has been reflected in the text.

Leave A Reply

Bensalem Weekly Logo

Bensalem Weekly is the go-to local resource for the Bensalem Township community. From entertainment, food, Bensalem news, education, and more, Bensalemweekly.com will be a central hub for delivering information and initiating important conversations within the community.