Maven in the Making: Nyla Denae’ Washington

She may only be seven years old, but Nyla Denae’ Washington is already making big waves in STEM.
A photo of Nyla Denae' Washington

Welcome to Maven in the Making, where we celebrate the young women in our community who are poised to be future leaders.

A circle photo of Nyla Denae' Washington in a lab coat
Nyla Denae’ Washington

Nyla Denae’ Washington is an accomplished children’s book author and a STEM educator—and she’s only seven years old. Nyla and her mother Nakeisha Washington founded Nyla Nova STEMversity, a business whose mission is to “provide naturally curious students interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum and experiences for success in school and beyond.” The duo and their team accomplish this mission through after-school programs, in-house workshops, birthday parties, and camps, as well as a series of fun and informative books that are written from Nyla Denae’s perspective.

We spoke with Nyla Denae’ to learn more about her passion for STEM, her future plans, and her advice and encouragement for other young mavens.

What’s your “Maven superpower?”

My Maven Superpower is being excited about STEM, being a leader, and being “Me.” My name means “Winner” and “Champion,” so I focus on being and doing the best I can in whatever I do.

A photo of a little girl with lab googles on working on a paper
Nyla Denae’ doing a STEM experiment with a friend.
What inspired you and your mother to start Nyla Nova STEMversity?

We started Nyla Nova STEMversity because we wanted girls to pursue STEM-based careers like astronauts, engineers, and scientists. We also wanted boys and girls to work together so that everyone would develop teamwork and appreciation for each other. I wanted to inspire all children, but especially girls, to love STEM.

I read that your daily mantra is: “If it’s going to be, it’s up to ME!” What does that phrase mean to you, and how does it make you feel to say that to yourself every day?
A photo of Nyla Denae' Washington holding a magnifying glass and wearing a lab coat
Nyla Denae’ Washington

That phrase means if you want something to happen then it’s up to you to make it happen. You must do the work and don’t give up!

What is your next book going to be about?

We are sponsoring a “STEMventure” to London and Paris in 2023 to learn more about STEM and conduct experiments with engineers and STEM professionals internationally. We will document our trip to make our next book based on all the fun we will have.

Do you have any advice for other young people who are interested in STEM?

They should have fun doing STEM experiments and experiences to learn more about being a STEM scientist, engineer, or coder.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I will be a senior in high school, the class president, getting good grades and getting ready for college. 

Stephanie Groves is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven, and she is inspired to get her six-year-old daughter more involved in STEM.

Know a young woman who is a Maven in the Making? Nominate her by emailing

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