A Spotlight on the Stem It Up Club and Its Founder

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Anvi B

Nikita at Club Rush in 2021, explaining her board to students.

Anvi Bhagavatula, Photojournalist

September and October is the time for an introduction to fall, school dances, and getting back into an academic mindset. Club Rush provides a huge support for students looking to integrate themselves into the school, as well as beef up their college application. The clubs on campus range from South Asian Cultural association to the Gavel club, each entertaining a different interest for the students here. One of these clubs is the STEM It Up club, run by Nikita Gupta (11)

 

The club is about outreach to youth coders at nearby schools, allowing students on campus to get volunteer hours outside of school on Friday afternoons. The club bases itself off of FLL, or First Lego League, which is a team that allows students to compete in huge robotics tournaments. Right now, the club is coaching Travis Ranch middle schoolers for their annual tournament later this year. 

 

Nikita Gupta started this club as an outlet for her love of robotics. As she joined different STEM programs growing up, she began to notice how only some kids had STEM activities in their schools, sharing, “Many students are either unable to afford these high quality [STEM] programs or they live in areas that lack such programs.” Thus began the STEM It Up goal of allowing students to learn robotics freely and tap into their passions.

“Many students are either unable to afford these high quality [STEM] programs or they live in areas that lack such programs.”

— Nikita Gupta (11)

As expected, it wasn’t an easy feat to get approval from the district to teach. “I sought after an organization that would aid in the effort,” Nikita explained, being directly discouraged by the “unsuccessful phone calls and emails left on delivered.” Finally, after weeks of searching, she found the R.E.A.C.H Foundation, a partner of the PYLUSD board, to monitor and fund STEM It Up. 

 

Nikita’s job with robotics entails a great amount of advanced engineering and coding, which play a huge part in her passion of working in engineering in a hands-on way. Right now, she’s on a robotics team that creates industrial-sized robots that are entered into competitions where they have to complete tasks such as throwing and picking up objects neatly. Her team is funded by many major companies, including Qualcomm, a mobile technology company. Nikita’s role on the team is to use CAD, which is a 3D modeling software that intricately develops plans for her team. 

 

STEM It Up provides a fun option for students on campus to get volunteer hours and aid the community, while also not having to spend a huge amount of time on projects. Be sure to check it out after Club Rush