Abilene Lortz is fifteen years old and a freshman honors student at John F. Hodge High School in St. James. She is passionate about all things STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and created the 501(c)(3) STEM Girl, Inc. to raise money to send girls to STEM summer camps at Missouri Universities and visits elementary classrooms to talk about STEM education.
She is a member of the St. Louis Science Center Youth Leadership Team and has taught an Hour of Code to every student in her grade. Abilene was inspired to create her non-profit because of the scholarship she received to Kode With Klossy in 2017 and 2018 in St. Louis. Abilene has been featured in an article about Kode With Klossy founder, Karlie Kloss, in Diversity in Action magazine. In February she testified in front of the State Senate Economic Committee in support of Senate Bill 894 that will soon be signed into law by Governor Parson. The bill will create a STEM awareness program for middle school students and allow high school computer science credits to count toward math, science or practical art credits needed for graduation. Her career goal is to become a civil engineer and own her own engineering firm.
Abilene recently received the Congressional Award Bronze Medal and is working toward earning the Gold Medal in the next eighteen months. Her education is extremely important to her and in May she received the President’s Award for Academic Excellence. She is a member of her school’s honor society and gifted program as well as the Duke Talent Identification Program and Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.
Abilene is honored to be the youngest person to receive the Show-Me Volunteerism Award presented by the Missouri Community Service Commission for her volunteer work across the state. Abilene believes that more teens will be inspired to volunteer in their communities but are sometimes unsure where to start. Listed on her website, stem-girl.com, are places for teens to volunteer throughout Missouri. Abilene has eight years of piano training and has played the piano for veterans at every Veterans Home in the state. She is a Volunteen at Phelps County Regional Medical Center, and a VetBuddy at the St. James Veterans Home. For the past three years she has played AAU basketball and her team has won two Gold Medals at the Show Me State Games.
Abilene’s favorite way to relax is singing, and playing the piano when no one is home. She recently became scuba certified, ran her first half marathon in June, and plays basketball and volleyball. She is also involved in her school’s women’s choir, concert choir, chamber choir, Beta Club, and FBLA, and is a five-time spelling bee champion.
Becoming Miss Missouri Teen USA is a dream come true for Abilene and she is honored to be a member of the VANBROS family and part of a group of accomplished women that she’s admired and looked up to for years. She plans to use her year as Miss Missouri Teen USA to visit classrooms to talk about STEM education, offer STEM summer camp scholarships through her nonprofit, and encourage teens to volunteer in their communities. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Abilene on social media!
Fun Facts: She sold her dirt bike to compete at Miss Missouri Teen USA this year, she is named after her granddad’s hometown of Abilene, Texas, and has eighteen first cousins residing in five different states. She also completes a sudoku and crossword puzzle every day and enjoys mud runs, skiing, fishing, and kayaking. She is always up for the next adventure as long as it doesn’t include tall heights.