WiSTEM brings educational activities to lower school for STEM Buddies event


Ella Yee

WiSTEM Co-President Eileen Ma (12) and STEM Buddies Directors Michelle Wei (11) and Margaret Cartee (11) prepare an oobleck demonstration to teach lower school students about non-Newtonian fluids. The recent STEM Buddies event featured five stations where participants could learn new concepts through hands-on activities and discussions.

by Ella Yee, Co-News Editor

Members of Women in STEM (WiSTEM) hosted STEM Buddies, an event involving hands-on activities and discussions, at the lower school on Feb. 24. 

WiSTEM founded the STEM Buddies program in 2014 to spark early interest in STEM fields through engaging activities led by WiSTEM members. Organized by STEM Buddies Directors Margaret Cartee (11) and Michelle Wei (11), the most recent event featured five stations ranging from “Float Your Boat,” where participants designed aluminum foil boats to learn about buoyancy, to “Disappearing Beaker,” where they observed the effects of light refraction. The visit also marked WiSTEM’s first on-campus event after organizing virtual sessions due to COVID-19 concerns over the last three years.

“We returned to all of the same locations, the same classrooms, the same teachers that I had when I was in lower school,” WiSTEM member Jacqueline Huang (10) said. “I still remember the science projects I did there, so seeing the lower schoolers so passionate about science in those same classrooms was a very rewarding experience.”

Upon arriving at the lower school, WiSTEM first visited lower school science department chair Enni Chen’s second grade students before moving to lower school science teacher Cassidy Caldwell’s first grade students. In both classes, WiSTEM members provided a short introduction to STEM fields before inviting the lower school students to spend five to six minutes at each station.

“All of the students just seemed really excited and happy to do all the STEM activities,” WiSTEM member Sophia Zhu (10) said. “I was actually super glad that at the beginning, when we asked them if anyone knew what STEM stood for, a lot of the kids raised their hands.”

WiSTEM members who previously attended Harker’s lower school reconnected with familiar faces while leading the event. Lower school primary division head Sarah Leonard visited Chen and Caldwell’s classrooms to observe the activities.

“I’m sure the kids enjoyed the activities, and it was great seeing the grown up versions of all of you,” Leonard said to WiSTEM members after the event.

WiSTEM will host their next STEM Buddies event at the Harker Research Symposium on April 15.