By Janelle Burrell

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — CBS3 is celebrating Black History Month by introducing you to unsung heroes. One of them is from Delaware, where a college sophomore made it her mission to uplift young people from her violence-plagued neighborhood.

“When I was about 12 years old, I decided that it was going to be my job to encourage girls in my community to love STEM– science technology, engineering and math,” Jacqueline Means told CBS3’s Janelle Burrell.

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“It’s all about your vision for the future. What you see yourself doing,” she added.

STEM opened up the world to Jacqueline Means, well beyond her rough neighborhood of Southbridge in Wilmington, and she’s determined to make STEM the ticket out for other girls as well.

“The violence rate is really high, and the drop out rate is really high,” she explained, adding, “And I said, I want to do all that I can to minimize those effects.”

In Wilmington, murders were up 25% last year, according to city police statistics. Jackie, 19, remembers the moment she knew she had to do something.

“I was just doing some homework and my parents were in the living room, and my brother was upstairs, and we heard some shouting,” she said. “We look outside the window to see what’s going on, and we see a young man who couldn’t have been more than my brother – who was 15 at that time – gunned down in the street, right across from my house and that was something that I’ll never forget because not only was it traumatizing, it was the reason I started my organization.”

She calls it the Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative.

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“So I said, you know what I just have to show them that, you can be so much more than what you can see,” Jackie said. “And that was it, that’s what made me really want to make a difference.”

Over the last seven years, the self proclaimed ‘STEMqueen‘ has introduced hundreds of young people to stem using visual experiments. And another tool in her arsenal?

Jackie is the reigning Miss Black USA Talented Teen and previously was Miss Delaware Talented Teen. That’s in addition to being a pre-med major at the University of Delaware.

With STEM as her pageant platform, the titles are a way for her to continue to spread her message, impacting the next generation in her community.

When asked what it is like to see little girls get excited for her experiments, Jackie said, “It just warms my heart, seeing the little girls have fun.”

She added, “If I can get a 7-year-old to get really interested in science or tech or engineering or math, and they know that this is something they can do, then they’ll carry that with them through their life.”

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CBS3 asked Jackie where she sees herself in 20 years, and she has it all planend out. After graduating college and medical school, she wants to become a practicing pediatric surgeon. Her goal is to continue to use her talents, to help and inspire young people.

Janelle Burrell