Photo Credit: Alex Arovas '20
Club Spotlight: STEM Edition
September 29, 2019
Artificial intelligence and automation are booming. As technology advances and brings a greater impact on the modern world, it is more important than ever for today’s generations to understand the microscopic and macroscopic workings of the physical world. Here are some student groups at SHS that explore the topics of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM*).
With events ranging from the understanding of the human body in Anatomy and Physiology to applying the physics of music to an actual instrument in Sounds of Music, SHS Science Olympiad has topics for everyone’s interests. Students partner up in each event to study for written tests, build complicated contraptions, or practice lab set-ups as they prepare for competitions in the second half of the school year. The team travels each year to Regionals, consistently winning or making top three and advancing to States in Syracuse, NY. Last year, the team began competing early by participating at the competitive national MIT Invitationals. The students are advised by SHS chemistry teachers Jennifer Wagner, Jim Williams, and Kevin Viviano.
Science Olympiad meets on Mondays and Thursdays in room 384, with more daily meetings in competition season. For more info, contact [email protected].
Entering its fourth year, the Robo Raiders engineers, designers, programmers, and champions of technology for the community. With meetings in the modern, high-tech design lab, students build a robot from scratch following a methodical design process. Others work on programming the robot to take inputs but also run autonomously. Together, the group will continuously engineer and rebuild components of the robot. “As a team we are committed to making the best robot. Sometimes we do some unconventional things, such as meeting at certain members’ houses during the weekend or breaks, and sometimes even taking all nighters together while having fun making a cool robot,” said captain Alex Arovas ’20. The team competes in the annual FIRST Tech Challenge, where they hope to advance past Regionals to the Worlds level. The club also spends time on community outreach, setting up demonstrations of their robot for Scarsdale STEAM Day, Heathcote’s H.E.X.P.O., and their own Robotics Event. The team is advised by SHS STEAM teacher Brian McDonald.
The Robotics Team meets after school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the Design Lab, with more regular meetings in competition season. Visit www.scarsdalerobotics.com for more info.
Racing to solve problem sets at dozens of tournaments and online competitions each year, the Math Team has a particular penchant for puzzling problems. Members range in background knowledge, but all enjoy working through hard questions over some snacks and later holding discussions about solutions. “The math team at SHS is very accomplished, but all of the members are also very inclusive. After most of our meets, some of our more seasoned members take the time to explain challenging problems and to answer any questions, making participation in the club a great way to improve problem solving techniques,” explained co-president Lily Kronenberg ’20. She leads the club along with co-presidents Charles Lau ’20 and Deyuan Li ’20. The season begins with a weekly national online tournament called Math Madness. State and National league competitions take place once a month. The team also competed in the famous Mandelbrot Competition until its ending last year. Locally, the SHS students will host county meets or compete locally at Edgemont, White Plains, and Woodlands. The team is advised by SHS math teachers Laura Estersohn and Samuel Greenberg.
Math Team meets on Wednesdays for Math Madness and regular meetings in room 251, also meeting on Mondays for later County meets. Contact [email protected] for more info.
Historically, women have been underrepresented in the fields of math and science in industry and in academia. Only recently has the trend improved, thanks in part to the educational focuses of some SHS students after school.
Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS)
“The goal of GEMS every year is to get young kids, especially girls, interested in STEAM,” explained vice president Margaret Kempe ’21, who organizes members along with co-presidents Alison Chan ’20 and Sarah Silverman ’20. Once a month on Friday, the club visits one of the Scarsdale elementary schools. After introducing a science concept, the students perform a fun experiment that builds on the lesson. Past activities have included strawberry DNA extractions, gummy bear bridge-building contests, leaf chromatographies, and liquid density experiments. The club is advised by SHS STEAM teacher Brian McDonald.
GEMS’ first interest meeting will be sometime near the end of October. For more info, contact [email protected].
Girls Who Code (GWC)
Students in SHS’s GWC, collaborating as they learn different coding languages, create computer programs, and discuss programming problems. Beginning this year, the club will follow the official GWC national coding curriculum. Previously, students had self-studied languages
“My favorite part about this club is the community we have formed with the members. I truly feel like we are having an affect on the lives of the girls in the club, not just because of what they are learning coding wise, but by empowering them to pursue whatever they are interested in, no matter what gender they are,” explained Amelia Lane ’22. Lane and Katie Barlow ’22 lead the club as co-presidents. They are advised by SHS STEAM teacher Lisa Yokana.
GWC meets Wednesday 7th periods in the Design Lab. For more info, DM the club’s Instagram @gwcscarsdale.
*Note: STEAM—versus STEM—includes ‘A’ for the artistic and design elements of scientific activities. Maroon chose to use STEM as we do not know of any existing SHS clubs that strictly focus on design.