STEM Day with a unique twist


Photo by Simon Albert, LT

Juniors work together on their math skills to solve the code for a zoom escape room.

Simon Albert, Guest Writer

Students and faculty participated in a series of immersive activities and seminars about the complexities and diversity of the STEM field this Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Students chose between eight conferences with varying areas of expertise and discussion. The purpose of STEM Day is for high school students to engage with their specific interests in STEM and its importance in the real world.

“STEM skills are everywhere. You can go into a non-STEM field and you will still find yourself presented with these challenges that require you to think critically and problem solve,” Upper School STEM coordinator Cassandra Batson said. 

Students in the CESJDS upper school are involved in a wide array of activities such as sports, arts or clubs that result in STEM being overlooked. Oftentimes students take on so much they have trouble dividing their time, which puts STEM activities at a big disadvantage.

One thing that discourages students from participating in STEM is the science and math involved. “I really struggled with science growing up, and I think what is important is being able to work through those challenges and being willing to work through your mistakes,” Batson said. 

This STEM Day was especially unique as speakers who do not live locally were able to Zoom in to JDS to share their knowledge. Dr. Bella Vizel is a cancer and immunologist specialist and one of the speakers zooming in from Tel-Aviv. She brought in a new perspective as to how STEM applies to the medical world through her own experiences in cancer and immunology research. 

“I think it is really cool to see how STEM applies in all different types of ways, and in ways you wouldn’t think of,” sophomore Darya Dayanim said. 

Some students like Dayanim have been further inspired to pursue a career in STEM. Dayanim has always been interested in STEM and took a specific interest in the science and math components. She has been involved in STEM programming starting in freshman year and has continued to grow in her knowledge of these topics. She has been especially involved in coding and engineering.

During period five, students collaborated in groups of three to solve a series of problems and puzzles in order to solve the virtual escape room. This activity was a combination of interactive and online activities. Students worked on sudokus, word searches, equations and the creation of a cotton ball slingshot. Although these series of activities proved challenging for students at times, the interactive components allowed students to understand STEM in a new light. 

Going forward, Batson hopes students will be more involved in STEM programming and that STEM will be more incorporated in the classroom. 

Simon Albert

“STEM is our future, STEM is used every day and to keep our world running, and to improve it because it is [currently] not in the best place, you need STEM,” Dayanim said.