For 100 years, USAA has provided incredible service to the military community. Beyond insurance, the service-focused organization provides unique opportunities for service members, veterans and military families. This summer, USAA partnered with singer, actress and STEM advocate Miranda Cosgrove to bring “Fort Innovate” to nine cities around the country. Fort Innovate uses its five exhibits featuring Night Vision, Silly Putty®, Drone, Walkie-Talkies, and Virtual Reality, to get young innovators excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. To complement the traveling lab, USAA is launching the USAA Innovation Sweepstakes to provide participants with the opportunity to further explore innovation and their creativity through the chance to win a trip for four to Space Camp® at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and $50,000.
We Are The Mighty had the opportunity to sit down with Cosgrove to talk about Fort Innovate, her passion for promoting STEM, her heart for the military community, rocket launches, and … ice cream. Who better to ask Cosgrove questions about inspiring kids than four junior reporters: Addison Truesdell (age 9), Finley Fallon (11), Lucy Robinson (11), and Logan Robinson (10).
WATM: Tell us about Fort Innovate and your favorite exhibit.
COSGROVE: Fort Innovate is a traveling innovation lab that stops at all these different children’s museums around the United States, and it’s free. Kids and families go into Fort Innovate and share these hands-on exhibits. My favorite one is probably the night vision one … I used to have night vision goggles when I was a kid and it seems pretty cool to me to see in the dark.
WATM: Why is supporting military families important to you?
COSGROVE: One of the reasons supporting military families is important to me is because my grandfather was a vet and it’s always been close to my heart. And, I did an episode on the show I’m on, iCarly, when I was younger, and Michelle Obama was on. After she was on the show, I got to visit a lot of military bases and got to meet a lot of people. And I think what USAA is doing is really cool.
WATM: Where does your passion for STEM come from?
COSGROVE: I host a show called Mission Unstoppable on CBS and I get to meet all different women in STEM every week when we’re filming the show. That got me really into it. I knew a little bit about STEM but I know so much more now that I’ve been a part of that. It’s crazy how many jobs fall under the STEM umbrella that I didn’t know about, and just how fun it can all be. We have all different women in the STEM field every week.
They’re all cool, but some of the ones I’ve loved the most were, we had a woman who invented a way to make ice cream in something like 90 seconds. I love ice cream and I thought that was awesome. We met a lady who goes out into the ocean every single day and she tags sharks. It’s a little bit dangerous and fun, and she’s helping the sharks because she’s figuring out how long they live, how they migrate, what they do. That was really a cool job to me. I think it would be fun to be out on the ocean and getting to see sharks every day.
WATM: What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?
COSGROVE: Oooooh, probably chocolate chip cookie dough, or, oooh, now I want ice cream… maybe vanilla or mint chocolate chip. It’s so good. I’m going to have ice cream for breakfast.
WATM: Who is your hero?
COSGROVE: My hero is my mom. She’s kind of like one of my best friends, too. My whole life she has always been there for me and helped me with anything I need. She’s definitely my hero.
WATM: Tell us about family space camp.
One of the really cool things about it is that four people can win the sweepstakes and also $50,000. If you have a really cool idea you want to make a reality, $50,000 would help a lot. Over 4th of July, I hadn’t done a science project or anything like this in a long time, my friends and I made a rocket to set off with all the fireworks. It was so much fun to get to work with a friend to make something and see if it actually worked. It reminded me how much fun science can be. I hope that whoever wins the sweepstakes or gets to go to space camp feels like that – they feel inspired and that science can be fun.
WATM: Is there anything else our audience should know about Fort Innovate or the work you’re doing?
There are two more stops on the tour. They’re going to New York next week and ending the tour in Philadelphia in August. If you want to learn more about the tour or enter the sweepstakes you can go to usaa.com/fortinnovate to register.
WATM: One more question. What’s your favorite episode of iCarly?
There was this one episode where we captured baby chicks and I remember we really loved that one. It was just fun – we got to hold baby chicks all week while we did the episode. I don’t think i’d really ever held one before. There’s an episode where me and Jeanette – who plays Sam on the show – we stick our heads in ice buckets during the web show and that was really fun to do that with her- we were really nervous to do it and then it was so fun. Any Halloween episodes – I always liked doing those because it’s fun to dress up.
To register for the Sweeps, learn more about Fort Innovate or to download fun STEM games to play at home, click here.
Editor’s note: While this is not a sponsored article, We Are The Mighty does have an existing relationship with USAA and recommends their products because they’re an awesome company.