When Laila Hammond first went to Rogers Explorers, she wanted to be an astrophysicist for NASA.
After completing the intensive three-day program, she found even more interesting possibilities for her in the aeronautics field.
“I really wanted to be an astrophysicist with NASA going in, but after the whole experience,” said Hammond, an incoming freshman at Russell County High School, “it really just kind of opened up my mind to even more careers that I could possibly do with NASA.”
Hammond attended Rogers Explorers from July 11-13 at Eastern Kentucky University.
She first applied for the program because she thought it would “be fun to get to go and experience what being in college is like.”
“[Rogers Explorers representatives] actually came to our school and talked to us about it, and they explained what it was for and how to apply for it,” Hammond said. “They told us they would teach us about certain career paths: some space, medical, outdoors, and leadership, and since I want to be an astrophysicist, it was something that I was interested in doing.”
During her time in the program, she not only got to experience the different classes offered, but she learned new skills, played group games with the other participants, conducted experiments, and participated in other hands-on activities.
“There was a lot of stuff that got us to interact with it,” she said. “One day, we went and cleaned for community service … We also went to rec and played leadership and teamwork games.
“My whole experience was just great.”
Hammond noted that her favorite part of the Rogers Explorers program was the leadership, communication, and trust games with her fellow peers, which she said were “very fun.”
She added that the biggest surprise was how much she enjoyed the fire safety major.
Hammond said her positive overall experience “definitely” made her consider applying for The Center for Rural Development’s other youth programs — Rogers Scholars and Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute — as well as the Governor’s Scholars program in the future.
“I’m just really thankful that I got to have this experience and that I was accepted into the program,” Hammond concluded.
Laila is the daughter of Greg and Julie Hammond.
The Rogers Explorers program is an intensive three-day, two-night program focused on cultivating skills in leadership, technology, math, science, and community service. It is developed, coordinated, and supervised by The Center for Rural Development in partnership with University of the Cumberlands, Lindsey Wilson College, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, Asbury University, University of Pikeville, and Union College.
Stories on all four Russell County students who attended Rogers Explorers — Hammond, Asa Woodcock, Marlei DeVore, and Ella Pierce — have been featured on The County Line.