STEM Spotlight is a new repeater exploring what clubs at Harker have been doing during remote learning. This week’s featured club is the Biotechnology Club, whose goal is to provide a hands-on experience in biological, computational and engineering concepts that can be applied to the real world.
The Biotechnology Club, a new organization started this year, investigates the intersection of biology, engineering and business. With over twenty active members, the club aims to prepare students for the annual Innovation Development Conference (IDC).
“The leadership team is getting oriented, but we’re going through some curriculum and posting extra resources on different topics, like biology, computer science [and] engineering,” Natasha Matta (11), Biotechnology Club co-president said. “We’re going to transition more to how you can actually pitch and write and more of a prototype type thing.”
Natasha and fellow co-president Anushka Mehrotra (10) are both members of the parent organization, Inno, and they decided to bring a new chapter to the Harker Upper School at the beginning of the year. While Inno offers large scale speaker events and organizes the IDC, the club also hopes to begin having Harker specific activities in the future.
“We were interested in forming a chapter, so we decided to try it out. We’re pretty interested in combining with the more business aspect, like making and pitching a product, and entering a conference,” Natasha said.
IDC, which drives most of the Biotechnology Club’s meetings, prompts students to design a biotechnology innovation that can address a modern day issue. Students work in teams to combine aspects of science with business and give a professional presentation. The club has prepared students to start brainstorming in January, create the prototype in February and March and submit a final product in April.
“[Students are] coming up with a biotechnology innovation; it could be something you wear or use to treat a medical condition, and they’ll be recording a video,” Emily Zhou (11), vice president of resources, said. “Real industry professionals will watch the video and give feedback, and because it’s a competition, there will be some sort of a ranking system.”
Officers hope the Biotechnology Club can be a creative and learning space for members, where students focus more on the innovation instead of the competition.
“Hopefully, members are learning something new in biotech and getting the opportunity to participate in the conference,” Natasha said. “Even just pitching or starting to create your own biotech product is a pretty cool opportunity for high school students, just having that creative space and experience in that field.”