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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Spotlight on Sidwell’s STEM Clubs

At Sidwell, many students are interested in pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects beyond the classroom, which is reflected in the student-run clubs and organizations. Recently, the number of clubs that focus on technology have risen in popularity. Each club has one or more student head(s) and are advised by Sidwell faculty members with prior knowledge or experience in the topic of interest. 

Current STEM clubs at Sidwell include; Sidwell Electric Car Race Team, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning, CS (Computer Science)/ACSL (American Computer Science League), Engineering, Girls Rising in Technology and  TechTalk.

The Sidwell Electric Car Race Engineering Team is headed by freshman Ruhan Khanna and advised by Math Teacher Natalia Jasper. 

According to Khanna, the club is working on building a small electric vehicle to race it in the DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix by Global EEE. The event takes place on June 1 at RFK Stadium with winners completing the most laps within a time limit of one hour while facing limited battery capacity. The winners advance to a race in Abu Dhabi.

The club has raised $6,000 for the project so far, and Khanna says they are “well on [their] way to finishing the car for the upcoming race.”

Another STEM club at Sidwell, the AI and Machine Learning Club, is run by juniors Krish Batra,Gabriel Abrams and senior Jimmy Chen, and it is advised by Computer Science Teacher Martin Suresh. According to Chen, their main goal is to “help students at Sidwell better understand the impact of AI and Machine Learning on society.” The club organizes group discussions and presentations to foster a space for interested students.

“Of course, a large reason why we started this club was the emergence of ChatGPT. It’s an incredibly powerful tool, but it’s important that people know how to use it properly. Additionally, generative AI has now expanded to fields like audio and video, so it’s a really interesting and innovative field to explore,” Chen said.

The CS/ACSL Club also seeks to  “bring together students who enjoy computer science,” said sophomore club head Madeline Blizzard. In addition to Blizzard, the club is headed by seniors Nico Rose, Iain Ramirez, George Bankoff and Quinn Patwardhan and  overseen by the Computer Science Program Director Darby Thompson.

The club’s ACSL portion provides students passionate about coding the opportunity to compete in contests that, according to Blizzard, “test their understanding of computer science topics as well as challenging them with programming questions that push the limits of their coding abilities.” 

The Engineering Club is advised by Math Teacher Amanda Curtis, and the student heads are sophomores Kenzie Goldsteen and Seneca Oehrle and senior Avni Damani. Their central goal is to make learning about engineering fun for all club members. Since some students have trouble finding ways to pursue their interest in engineering, they want the club to be accessible to all who wish to join. 

Girls Rising in Technology also seeks to foster an inclusive environment, focusing on empowering women in a field dominated by men. The club is run by seniors Kiran Bishop, Anya Capoor and Mallory Stack and sophomore Kenzie Goldsteen. Their faculty advisor is also Thompson. They encourage women to pursue a future career in a STEM field and hope to instill confidence in and out of the classroom.

TechTalk’s faculty advisor is also Martin Suresh, and it is run by seniors Avni Damani and Lucas Lopez Forastier and junior Gabriel Abrams. The club’s mission is to have meaningful conversations about new student inventions and creative ways of developing technology. The club is open to all Sidwell students, whether they have former knowledge of the topic or not.

To accomplish this mission, TechTalk invites speakers to talk about their background in the topic and their experiences with various industries so students can learn from their work. Currently, they are in the process of partnering with organizations that help provide a space for low-income students to learn about technology. “In this era of rapid technological advancements, where new high-tech products are unveiled almost daily, TechTalk serves as a platform for students to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.”

Overall, STEM clubs play an important role at Sidwell, allowing students to express their creativity, interest in technology topics, and experiment with different tech-related matters they may want to focus on in the future. 

STEM clubs give students the opportunity to  take initiative in an area they are passionate about and learn from a faculty member who can encourage their interests in tech-related topics. 

As technology advances and becomes more relied upon, STEM clubs are increasingly important so students can better understand the effects technology has on our day-to-day lives.

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