Experimenting with STEM Clubs

Julia Goldberg and Talia Winiarsky

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Many students are bringing their passion for science outside of the classroom this year by experimenting with new science clubs: AstroParPhy, Women in Science and Engineering, STEAM on the Hill, and Women in Biology and Medicine.

Karen Jang (12) is the founder of the Astro ParPhy club, which will give students the opportunity to learn about subtopics of physics such as astronomy and particle physics. The club is open to all high schoolers, including freshmen and sophomores who have not yet had the opportunity to take physics.

“I hope to emphasize lab experiments, such as the building of cloud chambers and cosmic ray tubes,” Jang said. “Learning in the classroom is one experience, but actually performing the experiments and seeing the particles yourself is a completely different one,” she said.

She also mentioned a possibility of video chats with physicists such as Dr. Michio Kaku from the City College of New York.

Janvi Kukreja (12) established the Women in Science and Engineering club (WISE). The club has two branches. The first will host Saturday morning workshops at the school for Middle Division girls, where they will have the opportunity to work on experiments and engineering challenges. The second will be a course offered to participants of HM 246, an after-school Service Learning program.

Kukreja believes it was important for her to establish a club specifically for girls interested in science and engineering, she said.

“I saw a pattern of girls not pursuing their own passions and living up to their potential, simply because they would be the only girl in their situation,” Kukreja said. “It’s important for younger girls to know that they are capable. I want this club to make them feel comfortable when exploring science.”

STEAM on the Hill, founded by Jeffrey Chen (11), Rohan Bhatia (11), Ahaan Palla (11), and Julia Roth (12), connects the school’s Upper Division (UD) students with Summer on the Hill.

Originally, Chen, Bhatia, and Palla applied for and won the Capelluto Gant offered by the Alexander Capelluto Foundation. They also approached Summer on the Hill Director Markell Parker with their idea for a new club which would allow UD students who are knowledgeable about computer science, engineering, and business to teach Summer on the Hill students.

At the same time, Roth came to Parker to speak about a program where Summer on the Hill students could learn about video production, primarily sports broadcasting, from UD students, she said.

Parker informed the four students of their similar ideas, and they “automatically knew they should join forces,” Roth said.

“It’s going to serve as an opportunity for Upper Division students to direct their genuine passions about science straight back into the community,” Bhatia said.

“Video production has been a huge part of my life, and having the ability to share it with younger kids is incredible,” Roth said.

Tatiana Pavletich (12) is the founder of Women in Biology and Medicine, which is going to “provide a safe space for women at our school interested in biology to further explore their interests,” she said.

Pavletich loves biology and has always wanted to incorporate more of it into the school. Although there are many science-based clubs at the school, none focus primarily on biology and medicine, she said.

Pavletich expects to have study sessions for the school’s science classes, especially for biology. Furthermore, she wants to invite female doctors and researchers as speakers in her club.

“I’ve worked in labs before, and I’ve seen how underrepresented women are in the field. It only made me want to market the club towards women more,” she said. “I’m excited to have female speakers share their own personal experiences in the field with our community.”