MONROE — Myah Wilson, 17, graduated from Monroe High School about a week ago. Wilson is now an intern at the Boeing Co. and plans to attend Everett Community College next year to study mechatronics, a branch of engineering that focuses on electrical and mechanical systems.
Wilson has been on the high school’s robotics club, and this year went with the group to an international tournament called the FIRST Robotics Competition.
Question: What kinds of activities have you been involved with during high school?
Answer: The only club I’ve ever been an active member of is the robotics club. I went to writing club once, but it overlapped with robotics so I prioritized that.
Q: What have been your favorite classes?
A: I absolutely loved the creative writing class I took my sophomore year. Mr. (Seth) Krufka is the best writing teacher I’ve ever had.
Q: Tell me about the manufacturing program at your school.
A: The manufacturing technology class at my school, run through Core Plus (a statewide program that teaches students to build airplanes, boats and buildings), is a really cool class. Not just because we get to use our hands and tools to make things out of sheet metal, but because it gives students real-life technical skills that help them get good-paying jobs in manufacturing.
I urge anyone who wants to go into engineering, manufacturing, or even (anyone who) doesn’t know what they want to do yet, to take this class if it’s available … Especially women! I was the only girl in a manufacturing technology class at my school.
Q: How about the FIRST Robotics Competition?
A: (It’s) this amazing international competition for high schoolers.
Each team has six weeks once build season starts, to design and build their robot with the certain tasks of that year’s competition in mind. This year’s theme was ‘Deep Space’ and our robots had to place hatch panels on cargo ship structures and put cargo in the ship and rockets.
… There’s also a fairly large LGBTQIA+ presence so representation isn’t hard to come by … I have always felt safe in my team and at the competition. Most everyone has always been very accepting of me being asexual.
Q: Can you tell me about your internship at Boeing?
A: I heard about it through my manufacturing tech teacher, Mr. (David) Williams.
… After weeks of waiting to hear back after I interviewed, I originally didn’t get the internship. Apparently there were only 30 spots and a few hundred applied, but I was persistent. I got a call in the middle of class from the Boeing woman who originally told me I didn’t get the internship … She told me that some spots had opened up, I was at the top of the waiting list, and asked me if I was still interested.
Q: What do you plan to do next?
A: I’m going to Everett Community College to study mechatronics.
… Fixing things that people considered broken has always made me happy, but when I started working in manufacturing technology and in the robotics club doing the wiring for our robot (named Moral Support), I realized that that is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in college and beyond?
A: I can hardly wait for the day when I’m able to invent all of the machines in my head. I’m excited for mechatronics, but I may go back to college after a few years of working and saving to get a master’s degree in robotics.
Q: Are there any challenges you’ve overcome, in or outside of school, you’d like to share?
A: I was diagnosed in sixth grade with ADHD and high-functioning autism.
… My friends and teachers over the years have unknowingly helped me so much with that just by treating me normally, especially my teacher (Misty) Berg.
(Wilson was placed under special accommodations.) I eventually had enough, put my foot down, and met with all of my teachers, the vice principal, my school counselor at the time, and my mother to try to convince them to take me off of accommodations, because I am just as capable as anyone else. I had a trial period without any special treatment and got all As except for one B. … That was in my sophomore year of high school, I haven’t had any special treatment or accommodations since then. I made honors the year after.
Q: What have you learned about yourself in high school?
A: I have learned so many things about myself in the four years that I went to high school. I think the most important ones though are that I definitely want to work with machines for the rest of my life. I’ve learned how to work with people as a team to effectively achieve something with a deadline looming over us, and this one sounds cliche, but I’ve learned how to love and respect myself.