by BECCA BARR | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

First in Robotics

student_nguyen2Not many middle schoolers know what they want to be when they grow up, but not all are like Madalyn Nguyen. She not only knows the field she wants to enter, but the specialty. “My goal is to attend a four-year college for engineering after high school,” she said, and hopes to become “an aerospace engineer working for JPL, NASA, Northrop Grumman, or Boeing.”

Madalyn’s wide range of interests has her on the right path. Currently in eighth grade in the Academy at Meadowbrook Middle School, she loves science and technology, taking classes such as integrated science, video production, and computer graphics. An excellent student, she was on the honor roll last year with a 4.0 GPA and received the Ada Lovelace Scholarship for computer programming at University of California San Diego. “I was one of six lucky young women out of hundreds of applicants to win this scholarship,” shared Madalyn.

“It was an honor to compete with the best robotics teams in the world.”


Her passion lies in robotics. She joined a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League team in sixth grade. As a seventh grader, she was the mechanical co-lead and outreach ambassador for her team, now at the next level called FIRST Tech Challenge. In the spring, this rookie team was invited to the FIRST World Championship in Houston. “It was an honor to compete with the best robotics teams in the world,” Madalyn said, adding, “it’s like the Super Bowl of robotics.” They placed seventh in their division in Houston. This year, she is proud to join Poway High School’s FIRST Robotic Competition on Team Spyder as an 8th grader. “I am looking forward to another great robotics year,” she exclaimed.

Name: Madalyn T. Nguyen (13)
School: Meadowbrook Middle School Academy
Grade: 8
Parents: Michael and Tracy Nguyen
Sibling: Abby Nguyen (12)
Favorite Places in 92128: Oaks North Golf Course and Chick-Fil-A


Madalyn also finds time to give back to the community. Last year she received the Bronze Award in Girl Scouts for community service, raising money and collecting school supplies to give to homeless children. She has volunteered for Include Autism, introducing robotics to kids with autism. Madalyn has also helped distribute food to the homeless, and mentored a newly formed FIRST Lego Team at Torrey Pines Elementary School.

A Carmel Mountain Ranch native, Madalyn lives with her parents, Michael and Tracy, and her sister, Abby. In her free time, Madalyn can be found playing golf, surfing, and participating in the Young Physicists Program at UC San Diego. With her eye on the future, Madalyn is destined for success!