Sitting Down with Milan Naropanth, President of the LHS STEM Academy
Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Mahir Majid ('23)
A thriving academy
After returning from virtual programming, the STEM Academy (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) has been actively involved with many events last year that shaped our school’s culture, including its mixer with the Black Student Union and Star Wars Day. Milan, the president of the career academy, is here with us to talk more about its initiatives for this upcoming school year.
How long have you been a part of STEM?
I’ve been a part of the academy since my freshman year of high school, but I didn’t have an active role until my sophomore year. When online instruction began, I made it a priority to keep the academy thriving because I found value in STEM enrichment. At the end of my junior year, I became president of the academy.
Do you think the STEM Academy has changed since 2020 (before virtual instruction)?
As a leadership team, I do think there have been some changes to the STEM Academy since 2020. Due to our period of virtual learning, we had to cut back on in-person events for the safety of our constituents, including the pause of some previously-hosted events like our annual Game Night or Engineering Night. However, with this, we also increased our focus on our main goal of the academy: to enrich our own constituents in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. As such, we introduced new in-house events like Retro Labs and collaborations with LHS-based organizations to give our members the opportunity to explore STEM fields interesting to them, even during the challenging times of virtual learning. Slowly, though, the STEM Academy is returning to local outreach with events like Fall Fest and schoolwide designs (shoutout STEAM crew!).
What are some of your plans with STEM for this year? Do you plan on making any collaborations with the other academies?
This year, we plan to host similar events to previous years (STEM Seminars, Career Night, Hacking/Software Information Sessions), but we also hope to expand our community outreach. A new programming council called the “STEAM” team has been tasked with organizing community outreach, so they plan to decorate the school with the Academy’s current initiatives. For example, the committee is currently decorating the school with planets, asteroids, and black holes to match the academy’s current initiatives with astronomy. Furthermore, the STEM Academy is collaborating with the Arts and Humanities Academy in a new initiative called the Science Fiction Society where members will discuss the intersection of science and fiction in movies, books, and other pieces of text or media. Beyond our fall initiatives, we are continuously looking for ways to enrich our constituents with different areas of STEM. We hope you join us this year!
What was your most memorable STEM event?
I’d have to say the academy-hosted Career Night last year was my most most memorable STEM event. Of course, we hosted many great events like our mixer with the Black Student Union or our festivities on Star Wars Day, but, frankly, nothing beats the presence of STEM professionals giving our constituents insightful information about their careers. At last year’s virtual Career Night, we were lucky enough to have Lawrence High School alumni, Stanford graduate students, and even NASA professionals explain everything from their day-to-day activities to their research goals. We hope to have the same experience this year. (The Rube Goldberg event is a close second of mine!)
Outside of the STEM Academy, Milan is actively serving in other organizations at Lawrence High School. He is an officer for Math League and also a chief-editor of the Lawrencian Newspaper. We wish the best of luck to Milan and his plans for the STEM Academy this upcoming school year.