CS PHOTO BY JACLYN LIPPELMANN
Eighth grader Danielle Dedeaux will be graduating from St. Mary of the Mills School in Laurel on June 2.
CS PHOTO BY JACLYN LIPPELMANN Eighth grader Danielle Dedeaux will be graduating from St. Mary of the Mills School in Laurel on June 2.

Ever since she was seven years old, Danielle Dedeaux has wanted to be a meteorologist – and not the type on the morning news. Dedeaux, an eighth grade student at St. Mary of the Mills School in Laurel, wants to fly Air Force jets into hurricanes.

“I like the mystery of it,” she said. “Because when you are flying into a hurricane, you’re flying into nothing but clouds. Nothing can prepare you for flying straight into the eye of the storm.”

Dedeaux first got interested in this career path through a video game that she played as a kid, in which the player had to issue warnings for storms. Since then, she has continued to pursue her goals in school and in extracurricular activities.

Dedeaux is a part of the eighth grade MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) team at St. Mary of the Mills, and in a recent competition, her team made a prosthetic arm out of a pipe, two spoons, hot glue, and a pulley system. She also competes as a member of the school’s Trivia Team, is a part of the Math Counts program that meets every Wednesday to solve high school and college level math problems, and has participated in the GEMS (Games Engineering Math and Science) program sponsored by the US Army Research Lab.

“I just love thinking about the way the world works,” said Dedeaux.

While she is in high school, she plans to get her pilot’s license. Afterward, she would like to attend Pennsylvania State University to study meteorology. She has already attended a summer weather camp at that university, where she learned how to read radars and cloud formations.

If she is ever home and distracted by something else in the midst of a storm, her parents will yell up to her, “Hail!” and she will run downstairs with her camera to photograph the weather phenomenon. While she was away at the weeklong weather camp, there was a tornado near her house, and she said she was “so upset that I missed it.”

Dedeaux has studied Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that caused destruction throughout the Gulf Coast.

After she gets through with flying into hurricanes, she hopes to go into architecture and build structures to withstand strong weather like that storm, so she can help people by preventing something so devastating from happening again.

Next year, Dedeaux will be attending the Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac after receiving the Cornelia Connelly Merit Award scholarship. She is already looking forward to getting to know the chemistry teacher at the school, who has a degree in meteorology.

“I’m looking forward to geeking out about weather with her,” Dedeaux said.

Her current science teacher, Kathleen Ruiz, described Dedeaux as “a natural born science mind” who “inspires me as a teacher to do better.”