14th annual research symposium encourages climate action


Nicole Tian

WiSTEM volunteers Emma Dionne (10) and Vidya Jeyendran (10) lead one of the tables for WiSTEM’s food-based modeling activity. The symposium’s scheduled events included exhibit tables, keynote speakers, student and alumni panels, poster presentations and a variety of other activities and workshops.

by Arya Maheshwari, STEM Editor

The upper school’s Women in STEM (WiSTEM) club hosted the 14th annual Harker Research Symposium on Saturday at the upper school, with events and activities that revolved around this year’s climate theme titled “Our Survival: Saving the Planet and Healing Ourselves.”

The schedule for the symposium, which began at 8:00 a.m., featured an opening performance by the Cantilena and Camerata groups, exhibit tables, keynote speakers, student and alumni panels, poster presentations and student talks, and a variety of other activities and workshops.

The booths at the event included those of the upper school Green Team, robotics team, research club, and WiSTEM’s own “STEM Buddies” activity in which upper school volunteers helped preschool and lower school students with a set of projects. Other highlights included the “Eagles Fly Back Home” panel of alumni who talked about their journeys after graduating; the STEMnovation Challenge, in which groups of student pitched entrepreneurial ideas around climate change; and the famed annual chemistry magic show led by upper school chemistry teachers Andrew Irvine and Dr. Smriti Koodanjeri.

Dr. Max Holmes, Deputy Director and Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, and Dr. David Haussler, Team Leader of the Human Genomics Project and Scientific Director of the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Insitute, gave the keynotes speeches for the event, along with Harker alumna Surbhi Sarna (’03), who is now the CEO and president of the medical device company nVision Medical.