Eden Prairie Schools Student Accepted into a National Elite STEM Program at the University of Minnesota

Zara Vidal, a 3rd grade student at Eden Lake Elementary, has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity coming up this summer. Not only will she create robots, practice medical situations and investigate simulated crime scenes, but Zara will also be representing Eden Prairie Schools and meeting students from all over the region to develop effective leadership, self-awareness and empathy skills.

At Eden Prairie, we believe that student’s continuous learning is essential for personal fulfillment, opportunity and success. Zara is showing us how each student can enthusiastically and confidently engage in the continual pursuit of personal goals and aspirations. 

“Everyone at school is excited to see Zara grow from her experience ” said Brian Gunderson, Zara’s 3rd grade teacher. “Zara is a wonderful student who shows potential to become a leader in our community.” 

The National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF): Pathways to STEM, is centered on building leadership skills, which is one of the reasons why Gunderson nominated her.

Tim Beekmann, principal at Eden Lake Elementary, shares the same sentiment. “Zara will do a great job in representing Eden Lake and the district. She will make us all proud!”

NYLF is a competitive, nomination-based program dedicated to training young minds in the topics of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Elementary school students have the opportunity to meet other brilliant future STEM entrepreneurs through workshops and group collaboration. 

In addition to the unique skills taught by NYLF, Zara will be involved in intensive, engaging, hands-on activities focused on emotional awareness, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and goal setting, all while exploring medicine, engineering and crime scene investigation.

Zara is no stranger to solving mysteries. The Eden Lake Elementary student has been watching crime solving shows with her mom, Adra Crawford, since she was six years old. 

“I’ve learned some pretty interesting techniques on solving crime, so I’m looking forward to putting what I’ve learned to use in the real world,” Zara said. 

This region’s event is taking place at the University of Minnesota in July, and various colleges throughout the country are hosting the program throughout the summer. 

 Crawford, Zara’s biggest cheerleader, couldn’t be happier for her daughter’s excitement.

“Zara is on a successful academic and career path. I’m happy this program is giving her the opportunity to have fun while learning more about STEM,” Crawford said.

Congratulations Zara Vidal!