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12-year-old girl headed to ASU hopes to work for NASA at 16

March 16, 2021 GMT

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Alena Wicker has been thinking big since she was small.

At age 4, she told her mother that she wanted to work for NASA someday.

Now, the 12-year-old has been accepted to Arizona State University and she hopes to become a NASA engineer by age 16.

“I always dreamed of being an engineer because throughout my life, I liked building,” Wicker told Phoenix TV station KPNX.

Daphne McQuarter said her daughter has always had an affinity for building and design.

“At 4 years old she said, ‘I’m going to work at NASA and I’m going to go up there.’ She would point to the stars,” McQuarter said. “She just had a gift for numbers and LEGOs and science so I started nurturing that gift.”

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McQuarter said her daughter will be double-majoring in astronomical and planetary science and chemistry at ASU.

“Her goal is to, by the age of 16, be working for NASA,” McQuarter said.

Wicker said she is proof that the stars are the limit if you put your mind to it.

“It doesn’t matter what your age or what you’re planning to do,” she said. “Go for it, dream, then accomplish it.”