Alexis Black (Special photo)
TIFTON—Alexis Black likes to take big jumps. Like this one. She graduated from college before she graduated from high school. Now she’s ready to leave Sylvester and head to Georgia’s biggest city. As always, she’s shooting for the stars.
“My career goal is to improve rocket fuel,” Black, the 18-year-old daughter of James and Tina Marie Merritt of Sylvester, said. “There should be a cheaper and more efficient way to fuel a rocket. Space travel isn’t for everyone but it should not take so much of Earth’s natural resources to get us there.”
Black graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on May 8 with her associate degree in Engineering. On May 31, she gave the valedictorian’s address at the Worth County High School commencement ceremony.
“I decided to spend most of my junior and senior years of high school at ABAC because I wanted a challenge,” Black said. “I love ABAC. It might be a smaller school but the professors really pack a punch with their classes.”
Black will put that ABAC degree to the test in a few weeks when she enrolls in classes as a junior at Georgia Tech for the fall semester.
“I know I’m prepared for Tech,” Black said. “When I receive my BS, MS, and PhD degrees, my ABAC degree will still be proudly sitting on the same shelf with the others. It’s the beginning of my college career.”
Besides completing her academic chores, Black worked almost a full time job at KFC for the past two years. She likes to stay busy, and she loves to learn.
“My favorite thing to do is learn,” Black said. “I love the smallness of ABAC. I had one-on-one time with the teachers. In fact, I really never sat with more than 10 students in a class. The science-math program has a very rigorous curriculum. ABAC has some awesome teachers.”
Black realizes an adjustment is ahead as she moves from a small town to a thriving metropolis.
“I had a hard time with social skills when I first started college classes but ABAC prepared me to interact at a larger school,” Black said. “My parents are also awesome individuals. They’ve taught me the basics of life—how to budget, how to live, and most importantly, love what you are doing.
“Since second grade, I have wanted to be an aerospace engineer. Currently I am trying to decide between focusing on aircraft or spacecraft.”
Black’s Georgia Tech education will undoubtedly help her gain perspective on the future. She just hopes NASA is involved somehow.
“I want to work for a space travel organization, NASA preferably, but their funding is low right now,” Black said. “China and Russia are the only countries doing a lot of space work. I’m a space nut but aircraft are satisfying as well. Attaching myself to the aircraft industry will definitely keep me home in the USA. I am willing to move but I will always be a little reluctant to leave my home country.”
One thing’s for sure. Alexis Black is ready for liftoff. The first star on the right is straight ahead.