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Smithfield-Selma High School Sophomore competes at First Robotics Competition (FRC) World Championships in Houston, Texas.

Ava Cummings is one of two finalists representing North Carolina for the prestigious For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Dean’s List award. The Dean’s List award recognizes the leadership and dedication of the most outstanding students in FIRST. Recipients of this award are great examples of current student leaders who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission while achieving personal technical expertise and accomplishment.

Ava’s initial nomination was based on her outstanding achievements and contributions at Smithfield-Selma High School through activities such as founding the Mural Club, participating on the soccer team, and presenting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the community. Ava travels with f(x) Robotics to different STEM or STEAM events within Johnston County. At these events, Ava talks about STEM and robotics during robot demonstrations. This past summer, Ava worked with Cummings Aerospace to develop and run a robotics-focused summer camp at UNC Pembroke for underserved students with limited opportunity to otherwise access STEM learning. Based on last summer’s success, Cummings Aerospace and Ava are expanding the camp to include both middle and high schoolers for two weeks. As a member of the Lumbee and Coharie tribes, Ava strives to provide opportunities for Native Americans and STEM.

Having been nominated by her team, Ava earned this award through a series of interviews first at District events and then again at the FIRST North Carolina District State Championship at East Carolina University. Ava moves on to compete at FIRST Worlds during April 20th - 22nd. North Carolina fields approximately 75 FRC teams, and each team can nominate two deserving students. Ava competed against the top 150 students for this award.  SSS is proud to have her show the rest of the FIRST world the quality and excellence of students in North Carolina and especially Johnston County.