Written by Abi Ghiridharan

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math– or STEM– has been gaining momentum as a national interest. STEM has been at the center of debates concerning education, the job market, and even gender equality. The Obama administration invested millions of dollars to create an increase in one million STEM graduates by 2022. Even actor Ashton Kutcher serves as an advocate to make computer coding an institution within public schools.

But it isn’t just politicians and celebrities who are making a difference in advocating for this cause. It is also includes a large portion of the students at Center Grove High School who are currently making a difference with the introduction of STEM club.

Founding member Sarah Chan poses for a photo.

“STEM is becoming an increasingly prominent area of study in the world, and we wanted Center Grove students to experience it along with interacting with other students,” said Sarah Chan, “The STEM club engages students and introduces people to the area of STEM.”

The founding members, Michelle Moon and Sarah Chan, approached Mrs. Wingler to sponsor the club and help with the clubs goals and activities.

“Michelle Moon and Sarah Chan came and asked me if I would support their club and be their sponsor,” said Mrs. Wingler. “I love those two girls, and they’re wonderful. We don’t have a club like this and we need a club like this, so I said yes. They started it and I just followed.”

After gaining sponsorship from Center Grove High School math teacher, Mrs. Wingler, Center Grove High School students Sarah Chan and Michelle Moon founded and launched the STEM club, which now hosts around 60 members.

“I gained interest due to the lack of clubs revolving around science, technology, engineering, and math,” says founding member, Michelle Moon ‘19. “These fields are beginning to develop as a major part of careers.”

Michelle Moon, founder of the STEM Club, poses for a photo.

The Center Grove High School STEM club takes initiatives to try to improve the futures of high school students. The organization creates hands-on activities that relate to the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math. It also hosts guests speakers during the meetings that talk about their careers in the field, job outlook, and the education needed in order to attain that career. In addition, the club also provides practice SAT problems and preparation.

“We are trying to get science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics and ideas out to people and where they can use them in the future,” said Wingler, “Each month we have a certain topic and we try to have one activity that deals with that topic. Then we try to have a speaker come in and the speaker is someone from the outside world that is involved with math and they tell us how they use math. This really helps students because they know what they want to maybe do when they leave high school. Then the speaker, such as a mathematician or an actuary, comes in and they can explain their job and the students can weed out what they want to do.”

In this sense, the career-related uncertainty that sometimes exists within the minds of high school students is quelled. Students are able to take a more hands-on approach to learning about careers. Rather than simply googling different jobs and clicking on websites, such as, students are able to interact with professionals and participate in various STEM related activities.

“My mother, Dr. Chan came in and told us about her high school and college education and how to choose what area of science you would want to pursue,” said Sarah Chan, “Then she answered any questions people had.”

The STEM club creates an open environment for students to learn not only about the STEM field but also about themselves and what interests them.

“Our goal is to expand our club and increase the number of members,” said Moon. “Rather than having students ask why they should join STEM, we would like for them to ask themselves why they shouldn’t join.”

Although the STEM club only started this semester, they have been rigorous in creating activities and planning for the future in order to develop and build the club. By forming innovative activities and planning for possible field trips, the club will be able to gain momentum in a short amount of time.


Math Whiz Takes Calculus by Storm

By Parker Ferguson

Summer break for high school students is usually a time of relaxation, days by the pool, and long nights with friends. The thought of school is constantly shoved to the side, as we desire to make the most of every free moment we have during the weeks away from the high school.  However, senior Zachary McDaniel had different plans for his summer break. McDaniel set out to teach himself an entire year of Calculus this past summer.

“For the first two weeks of June and the last week of summer I got a Princeton review book out and studied Calculus AP,” McDaniel said. “The book that I used really just broke it down for you; it was nice.  It told you exactly what to do and it gave you the problems.”

A good book may aid in this process, but self-teaching Calculus 1 takes dedication and natural ability.

“It was probably like 3 hours a day [I was studying].”

Most high school students would not devote three hours a day to reading for pleasure, let alone self-teaching calculus. McDaniel did try to spread the love, or in this case the calculus.

“I asked a few friends if they wanted to do it with me before school, and they all denied it.” McDaniel said with a laugh. “They all just said it wouldn’t be fun.”

McDaniel’s summer studying has set him up well to advance from Calculus 1 into Calculus 2.

“I think it went pretty well, I mean, I probably don’t understand it to the extent other kids in my class do, but I know I could probably catch up with them eventually,” McDaniel said. “In my Calculus class I’m in right now, we still have to use Calc 1 stuff all the time, so eventually I’ll get used to it.”

 McDaniel did have to prove that he had learned an entire year of Calculus before he could place into Calc 2.

“I think there was like two IU tests that you take when you get into Calc 2 and it suits where you’re at in Calc 1, so I just took those two tests in two study halls.”

Natural mathematical ability and dedication will serve McDaniel well throughout his career.

“I want to do AeroSpace engineering, which is a lot of calculus and other math like that.”

Rarely in our modern day educational system does a student have enough proficiency to skip a class, or have the natural ability to self-teach a year of Calculus during three weeks of summer. Yet, this is exactly what McDaniel did. Hope sitting around the bonfire and laying by the pool was worth it, because while you were relaxing Zachary McDaniel was teaching himself advanced math. Years down the road, when he is an AeroSpace engineer, we can appreciate that the Calculus he uses everyday to solve some of the most advanced mathematical equations, he taught himself out of a textbook during summer break.