Amazing Kid: Brigitte Berman

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Brigitte Berman

Brigitte Berman, an anti-bullying advocate, is the youngest person ever to participate in a NASA mission. Credit: Ronald Dantowitz, Clay Center Observatory

Amazing Kid: Brigitte Berman
Age: 16
Grade: 11th
Hometown: Dover, Mass.
School:
Southfield School, Brookline, Mass.
Favorite Ice Cream: Black Raspberry

Why Brigitte is Amazing:
In the summer after 8th grade, Brigitte, disturbed by the bullying she saw happening around her and in the media, felt there weren't enough resources to help kids deal with what was going on.

So, she wrote a book for kids, "Dorie Witt's Guide to Surviving Bullies."

"I sent out a survey online and learned that too many kids were suffering from bullying, didn't have the tools to deal with it and didn't even know they were being bullied or bullying themselves," Brigitte tells ParentDish.

But Brigitte didn't stop there. In March 2010, she testified before the Massachusetts State Senate in support of anti-bullying legislation that was signed into law just two months later. She says the Massachusetts anti-bullying law is considered the most comprehensive in the United States, as it includes an anti-bullying curriculum to be taught in both public and private schools, requires all school employees report and investigate bullying incidents and mandates parental notification of all students involved.

Now, Brigitte travels to schools and communities around Massachusetts to speak to kids and adults about bullying, spreading a message of tolerance. She also answers a lot of e-mails about bullying she receives from kids through her website, and is happy people feel like they can talk to her about what's happening to them.

As if that wasn't enough of an accomplishment, Brigitte also became the youngest person ever to participate in a NASA mission when she helped track Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere over the Australian outback on June 13. Brigitte and two other classmates were invited to join the effort along with her science teacher, Ronald Dantowitz, who is an expert in optical observations, tracking and spectroscopy.

The three students -- who recorded the spectrum of the disintegrating spacecraft from a NASA DC-8 aircraft flying at 41,000 feet -- were overjoyed, but shocked, when they learned just two months before the re-entry that the hypothetical NASA mission Dantowitz had asked them to plan earlier in the school year was actually a real mission in which they would be invited to participate.

Recent Recognition: 2010 NASA Ames Honor Award; Essex County District Attorney's Office Honorarium (for her book and work on anti-bullying legislation)

Brigitte's Advice to Kids: Remember, we don't have to like everybody in our community, but we do have to respect them; so, stand up for one another, have tolerance and say no to violence.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.