STEM Spotlight: Public Health Club


Michelle Liu

“STEM Spotlight” is a new Aquila repeater showcasing STEM clubs and their initiatives.

by Mark Hu and Sabrina Zhu

STEM Spotlight is a repeater exploring what clubs at Harker have been doing as they return to campus. This week’s featured club is the Public Health Club, which strives to spread awareness of issues such as infectious diseases and hardships and provide service to the community through the field of computer science.

Founded by club adviser and upper school English teacher Dr. Pauline Paskali at the start of the  last school year, the club has led initiatives, such as “Christmas For Quarantined Seniors,” which raised money for presents to local senior residents and the Public Health Podcast, which was a series of interviews with medical experts that focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the pandemic hit, there weren’t many opportunities on campus specifically dedicated to community activism for fighting the pandemic,” Kevin Wang (12), president and founder of the club, said. “I wanted to found an organization that could specifically rally community activism to help out the pandemic.”

The club also held virtual speaker events over the year, beginning with a talk by Dr. Archelle Georgiou, Chief Health Officer for Starkey Hearing Technologies, who explained her work on race-based disparities and federal intervention on COVID spread. Since all meetings were virtual, some students found them easier to attend. 

“Because they were on Zoom calls, you could just easily access the club [events] through a link,” Chloe Lee (10), a Public Health Club member said.

In addition to asking Dr. Georgiou, club officers invited Yan Zhao, Mayor of Saratoga, to speak with students about her work combating the challenges that Asian Americans face.

“We held about four or five speaker events and invited Mayor [Yan] Zhao to the campus for a talk on stopping Asian hate,” Kevin said. “We also started a nursing homes initiative. Nursing homes have been quarantined for a year, so we did fundraisers and virtual performances for [the seniors] there.”

One of the main goals of the Public Health Club is to find creative ways to serve the community. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, their efforts can greatly help those affected.

“We are so fortunate here at Harker, we have the knowledge, the resources, the connections, and the community to make a difference. I think part of the underlying goal of the Public Health Club is to make a difference,” Dr. Pauline Paskali, upper school English teacher and Public Health Club adviser, said.