Posted Suzanna McCloskey on 7/30/2015 |Remarkable! People
Sarah Hoffer, a three-year participant with Girls on the Run Orlando, is a true example of what it means to “boldly pursue your dreams.” She was recently awarded a full scholarship to attend the Aviation Challenge at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, home of Space Camp. As one of only two girls in the group, Sarah aspires to be a role model to expand the number of women in STEM fields.
“My ultimate goal, in all areas of my life, is to be a positive role model for young girls, in both my school and in my community,” Sarah said. “I would like to use my Space Camp journey to inspire others, especially girls, and to help them see all the wonders STEM has to offer.”
She was part of the Aviation Challenge MACH I Program, a program specifically designed for students who have an interest in military aviation and the mechanics of flight. Over the course of her week at Space Camp, Sarah had the opportunity to fly in a simulated F/A-18 fighter jet, learn critical land and water survival skills, master flying maneuvers and even hear retired Space Shuttle astronaut Col. Jerry Ross speak.
Many scientists, including Sarah, have had to overcome challenges to achieve their goals. When a pituitary adenoma left her needing painful deep muscle injections in her outer thigh each month, Sarah was not discouraged from attending Girls on the Run.
“When it kept me from running, I walked. When it kept me from walking, I used the opportunity to encourage others to keep going,” she said. “With a nudge in the right direction from family and friends, I was able to stay positive and focused, finish my treatment and achieve my Girls on the Run goals.”
As part of her journey to Space Camp, Sarah was asked to design a patch. She eloquently explained the patch in her own words:
On the edge you will notice a phrase, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” I saw this quote daily in my school’s old media center and it stuck with me. I set my goals high and give it everything I've got! If I don’t quite reach them, at least I’m on the right track and I am bound to go far.
A goal of mine was to run a 5k in under 29 minutes, my previous best time as a member of Girls on the Run (GOTR). GOTR is a club where I train for a 5k while learning life lessons including self-esteem, teamwork and lifelong health skills. This year, my new best was 27:47. I chose to represent my achievement by incorporating purple and green and adding a running shoe. Purple and green were the colors of our race day shirts.
There are also elements on the patch that illustrate cancer awareness and Sarah’s love of reading, art, music and softball. Thank you for being an inspiration, Sarah, and encouraging us all to activate our limitless potential!