Elea Abisamra published her first book in fifth grade. Before she became a Virginia Tech College of Science student majoring in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, Abisamra’s grade school years were focused on her love of writing.

A family friend introduced her to Amazon’s CreateSpace, now known as Kindle Direct Publishing. With her mother’s support and editing, a young Abisamra published a book. She felt seen and heard, something she longed to share with other kids. This seed would continue to grow into a global nonprofit called Kids Can Write.

“I love science, but I feel there’s always been a mindset where people think, ‘OK, you’re an English person’ or you’re going to be a lawyer or doctor or engineer, and in my head, storytelling is the thread between everything,” said Abisamra, now a junior. “You can go be a scientist, but you also have to communicate and you also have to be compelling when you communicate. You have to make scientific methods, which is like planning your story. Stories are everywhere.”