The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Humans of Harker: Engine of entrepreneurship

Aeliya Grover energizes her communities with a problem-solving spirit
Emma Gao
“Pick something that you want to do better the next day. It could be as simple as drinking an extra cup of water or as hard as going to bed on time. Just pick something that you want to focus on. You’re going to get this thing done, and you’re going to improve by just that much,” Aeliya Grover (12) said.

When people hear the term “robotics,” they might imagine students crowded around computer screens filled with lines of code, or maneuvering eclectic, whirring machines through a series of tasks. But what allows for these wonders of collaboration to occur? When inevitable roadblocks emerge, when conflicts between group members threaten to compound, who can bring the team together to move forward? For Harker Robotics, the answer is often Aeliya Grover (12).

Aeliya began her robotics journey in fifth grade, and since entering high school, she has taken on crucial leadership roles within the upper school’s program. As the current Executive President, she describes how she helps foster cohesion and productivity among a team of over 50 members, each fulfilling their own unique role.

“I hope to make sure that what they’re working on is acknowledged with words of encouragement, like saying, ‘Hey, I noticed you did this. That was pretty cool to do that, good job,’” Aeliya said. “But then also knowing when to give constructive feedback because if someone makes a mistake, you’re going to turn it into a learning experience.”

Aeliya’s impact on the robotics community extends even beyond Harker. In her junior year position as Scouting Director, she collaborated with the App Development subteam to pitch the upper school robotics team’s public scouting app, The Purple Warehouse, which provides statistics on a robot’s performance. With this tool, robotics programs around the world can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of other robots in preparation for their competitions, as not every team can commit the resources necessary to obtain this information themselves.

“We noticed that because we have such a big team, we’re able to have these subteams like scouting and strategy and media, etc.,” Aeliya said. “Other teams might not have those subteams or subcategories, so our team made a scouting app and advertised it. Now, we have over 120 teams using our app from seven countries and 30 states.”

Aeliya continuously strives to contribute to her communities, so when she learned in her junior year that, while the AI industry requires large amounts of labeled data for training models, not enough of such content existed, she founded her own business, EduNATION, a platform that seeks to train future employees in the skill of data tagging. EduNATION serves as only one example of Aeliya’s ability to not only perceptively identify problems but also help efficiently execute creative solutions.

Upper school business teacher Michael Acheatel mentored Aeliya through presenting EduNATION at last year’s sHarker Tank, an opportunity for student entrepreneurs at Harker to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry expert judges. After winning the $1,000 prize, Aeliya enrolled in Acheatel’s Incubator II class, where she continues to build EduNATION. Having watched Aeliya grow her business through multiple stages, Acheatel notes her numerous entrepreneurial strengths, including her reliability, hard-working nature and level-headed outlook.

“She’s got this really stoic, quiet confidence about her,” Acheatel said. “She’s not the loudest person in the room, but you don’t question if she knows what she’s talking about or what she’s doing. She’s able to command that aura or presence of confidence without necessarily being that loud, outspoken person.”

Aeliya also brings her entrepreneurial skill set to Harker’s Future Problem Solving club, where students collaborate to tackle issues that will grow in importance in the coming years. In tenth grade, Aeliya headed FPS’s Community Problem Solving initiative, where she created a project called ECO-Plastic focused on raising plastic awareness. Partnering with the lower school and a neighboring elementary school, she led students through upcycling activities and played an educational video the team created.

ECO-Plastic serves as yet another example of Aeliya’s unique ability to lead teams to successfully execute complex projects. Close friend Olivia Xu (12), who has worked with Aeliya in FPS throughout high school, pinpoints Aeliya’s maturity as one strength that allows her to achieve such feats.

“One really good thing about Aeliya is that she knows not to take things personally,” Olivia said. “Whenever there’s a challenge or if she makes a mistake, she knows to take it as a learning opportunity. She doesn’t dwell on the past. She’s always looking at the present or the future, which is something I admire a lot about her.”

Aeliya describes how she manages to accomplish so much, from robotics to her business to FPS, with her limited amount of time, encapsulating her determination in a motto that she embraces daily. The answer, she explains, lies in incremental yet continuous improvement.

“Pick something that you want to do better the next day,” Aeliya said. “It could be as simple as drinking an extra cup of water or as hard as going to bed on time. Just pick something that you want to focus on. You’re going to get this thing done, and you’re going to improve by just that much.”

Upper school economics teacher Samuel Lepler has taught Aeliya for the last two years and highlights her thoughtfulness when participating in class. Moreover, as Aeliya has befriended his daughter through Harker’s Eagle Buddies program, he expresses his gratitude for her warm personality and compassion.

“She’s very thoughtful and kind and welcoming,” Lepler said. “My daughter adores her and looks up to her as a mentor and friend. The best memories that I have or the best images that I have are just the kindness that she’s shown to my whole family.”

As Aeliya heads to college next year, she hopes she leaves a legacy of improving her communities with the resources given. The projects she has left behind, such as EduNATION, will continue to benefit these communities in the coming years.

“Make the most out of team community we have, and extend our community to those around the world,” Aeliya said. “For scouting, helping share TPW with the robotics community. For FPS, taking advantage of the knowledge that you have, and sharing that with the lower school students. For EduNATION, working with those around you to create courses that teach and inspire. Discover, and share your experiences with others.”

Additional reporting by Olivia Xu.

This article was updated on Jan. 12, 2024 to clarify Aeliya’s role in the TPW project.

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About the Contributor
Emma Gao, Aquila Co-Managing Editor
Emma Gao (12) is a co-managing editor for Harker Aquila, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, she hopes to explore writing a variety of articles as well as interview more people around campus. In her free time, she enjoys going on long hikes, evening walks around her neighborhood and road trips along Highway 1.

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  • M

    meganDec 6, 2023 at 7:25 pm

    so impressive!!

  • S

    Shivani GovilDec 6, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    So amazing Aeliya!! Love all that you are doing.