STORY FROM Jalil Stephen.  Student at the T A Marryshow Community College.

My name is Jalil Cejay Stephen. I was born on April 11th 2003, at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. Although, my life started in the United States where I spent my first six months. I was raised in the quiet town of St. Cloud’s, St. Andrew’s, Grenada. Where there weren’t many children my age. It’s extremely hard for me to describe myself or my experiences, without the acknowledgement of my family. It is because of their provisions and the sacrifices they made, that I have been able to shine. They taught me about the land and agriculture. That a person’s actions can speak louder than their words and the value of honoring what I say. Most importantly, they gave me the foundation of faith, from which I’ve been afforded the ability to not only chase my dreams but to dream without limits.

Living as an only child, I spent a great amount of time alone either reading books or watching television. Unlike other children I found myself looking at shows like, “How It’s Made” and “Popular Mechanics for Kids.” These shows along with the books I read lit a fire in me to gain more knowledge on how man-made objects function and are produced. I can remember, at the age of six whilst travelling from Grenada to New York, when the pilot introduced himself to me and allowed me to take a look into the cockpit of the airplane. He gave a brief explanation of most of the buttons and screens used for monitoring their systems and navigating the airplane. That entire tour really caught my attention, I said to myself, “This is so cool. I want to do this when I get older!” For many years I had what seemed to be a battle within myself, wondering whether or not I should be a pilot. By chance, I saw a YouTube video that introduced me to engineering. The idea struck like lightning, the clear epiphany that made me realize I can combine my love for aviation with my interest in engineering.

I am often told that I am a really smart and understanding person, however, it’s sometimes hard to see myself in that light. In all honesty, I am quite shy and very reserved. There are many things I try not to share, as it’s often hard for me to trust the intention of others. Rarely have I talked about the bullying I encountered during my early academic years. As I write this bio I realize it would be incomplete if I didn’t admit the part that played in the way I conduct myself today. That situation reminds me of this quote by an unknown author that says: “The beauty of life is, while we cannot undo what is done, we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change so that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger but in wisdom, understanding and love.” I learned that in every interaction I have, I will lead with the intention to treat others as I want to be treated. I try each day not to dwell on the memory of those experiences but to excel past every restriction that may stand before me. In some ways this explains my growing passion for engineering. It has the possibility to provide global advancements in a wide variety of areas and would allow me the ability to use my creative mind to its fullest extent.

As I picture my future self, a mechanical engineering degree is at the top of my priority list. How amazing would it be to develop new technology that could reduce our environmental footprint? Or to manufacture a prosthetic device that can change the life of someone in need. With my degree I would work as a product engineer, where I would combine my knowledge of engineering with my creative senses to explore the development of functional and marketable products. I would emphasize strategies for devising clean-up to our habitat. Develop new blueprints for structuring aircraft parts or modes of transportation emitting less waste. The amount of possibilities that awaits me is endless to list.

My past experiences and the personal hardships I encountered made me into the empathetic person I am today. Currently, I am eighteen years old, and attending the T.A. Marryshow Community College. Although I am not close to where I want to be in life, I look forward to the road ahead of me as I get closer to accomplishing my goals.