Austen Roberson was raised in Columbia, MD., between Baltimore and Washington DC. He attends Howard High School in Ellicott City where he ranks first in his class of 407 students. Having never met his father, Austen grew up in a single parent household with his mother Kim, sister Awdae, his grandmother and great-grandmother. His sister taught him the value of compromise and teamwork. As southern women who lived through the Civil Rights era, his grandmother and great-grandmother imparted wisdom and empathy. “You are destined for greatness” was his mother’s constant mantra. She instilled his drive to achieve and pursue new heights. Every day, Austen strives to be the greatest he can be in all ways possible.
In school, Austen is involved in many extracurricular activities. He was a trumpeter in his school’s concert band for seven years. He served as third chair and participated in all county Honor’s Band. As a sophomore and junior, Austen was the starting Power Forward for Varsity Basketball. He helps guide freshman through the arduous transition into high school as a Howard LEO. As Vice President of National Honors Society, Austen is responsible for organizing all service projects. He has organized a donation drive for the armed forces, where students donated and packaged materials to be shipped overseas. Austen is an active member of the Alpha Achievers organization, a group of high achieving African-American males focused on mentorship and academic excellence. As a part of this group, Austen mentors younger students. Having been a mentee through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, Austen recognizes the importance of displaying academic excellence, service, and high moral standards to others that he now mentors.
Academically, Austen excels in an accelerated Aerospace Engineering program. He has designed and built competition rockets, cargo aircraft, gliders, and trains. For his accomplishments, he was awarded the AP + PLTW Student Achievement in Engineering. He also wAs a result of this and other educational accomplishments, Austen was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Commended Scholar.
Austen’s service also extends outside of school. He takes most pride in his fellowship with the Congressman Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel (ECYP). The program focuses on uplifting his Baltimore community through service and volunteerism. He also meets with Congressional officials and state legislators to discuss issues impacting his community. The organization’s primary goal is to build connections between the African American and Jewish communities, the largest minority populations in his area. As part of this experience, Austen traveled to Israel to learn more about Jewish culture and bring lessons he learned back home. ECYP hosted a teen-led Youth Social Justice Summit to educate young people about actions they can take to impact their communities. Austen led discussions about the impact of gentrification and housing justice in his community. Austen’s commitment to service has been his way to return the kindness and love shown to him growing up.