The Beginning of STEM

April 5, 2018

Waukee High School offers 19 official clubs to students. From the arts to Best Buddies, the variety of clubs covers many interests of the student body—all but one. Until this year, Waukee did not have any science-related clubs. STEM Club was created by juniors Geethika Kannaparti and Meghana Yellepeddi.

“There is nothing in Waukee High School for people who like science,” stated Kanaparti. “We have math based [clubs] and english based [clubs] … we don’t have any clubs were we can find out more about the world through science. I though that is really a shame.”

Starting as a group that gives a chance to students who would be interested in doing their own research, the club then became science-based before both Kannaparti and Yellepeddi decided to expand the platform for anything STEM-related; science, technology, engineering, and math. At the moment there are twelve members from both sophomore and junior years with interests that greatly vary, but are still related to STEM. “I’ve heard of a lot of people who have had project ideas, but never knew how to make them, and I feel like STEM club could be a platform they could go off of,” Yellepeddi stated.

Dr. Holly Showalter, head of the medical and bioscience research at APEX, has been the advisor for STEM club since its start in September. Showalter helps each student with their specific interest as someone who has experience in the real world of STEM. With her help students are able to look for internships, prepare for college and learn the real world application of each of their interests.

Without research funding, the club is working on more educational studies. President of the club, junior Christine Emerald organizes each week’s plan, such as picking out articles to discuss or finding a new academic skill everyone in the club can learn. “For the rest of the year will be doing stuff to help us with school work,” explained Emerald. ACT and SAT prep and studying for any AP tests is also a main focus for the STEM club.

“In addition to that, we also work on general professional skills through Dr. Showalter,” junior Tyler Schutt explained. “Things like how to write a resume, how to write a cover letter, maybe how to interview.”

Junior Bhavana Sirimalle was one of first students to join the club. “These are the kinds of fields that will push us forward in terms of technology and scientific advancement.”

According to the United States Department of Commerce, employment in STEM jobs have grown 24.4% in 2017, versus 4% growth in non-STEM fields. With STEM employment on the rise, clubs like the STEM Club seek to make sure students interests follow the increasing curve.

STEM club is open to anyone interested or thinking about pursuing anything related to science, technology, engineering, and math. “If you are even thinking about [STEM] at least join and figure out what you are trying to do… it is a win win situation,” Sirimalle stated. They meet every Friday after school and encourage new members to stop in at any time.

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