West Ranch High School hosted representatives from UCLA on Wednesday to speak about admissions, potential majors and what mathematicians and scientists are really working on at UCLA.
The Inspired and Connected by Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or I.C.STEM club, invited Lauren Na, UCLA’s assistant dean of academic and staff personnel, and Barbara Van Nostrand, a director of student affairs and initiatives, to campus so the pair could share how graduate students in math- and science-related fields were helping prominent companies.
A PowerPoint presentation from Na featured films like Disney’s “Moana” and “Frozen,” which both used mathematicians to perfect various aspects of the film, according to Na’s presentation.
Club President Charlotte Kim said she invited the pair of Bruins because she wants to inspire her peers — specifically women — at school to get involved in STEM-related careers.
This is why Kim founded the I.C.STEM club, which has a vision to inspire female students to be academically committed to pursuing STEM fields, Kim said. “My parents having two girls always told us we could pursue any career that benefits others. However, the various tech camps and robotics classes I attended were always full of boys.”
Kim said there’s nothing wrong with boys entering a STEM-related field, but as a child she thought it was only for men because of the lack of women role models.
Out of all the activities that she did in her youth, the ones that inspired her the most were the presentations by women STEM professionals, Kim said. In fact, she was inspired so much that she began the I.C.STEM club at West Ranch so her peers can find inspiration and role models that would help them get involved in a STEM career, as well.
“I have known Mrs. Na for a very long time,” Kim said. “She’s incredibly accomplished and so humble.”
“I will always remember today,” Kim added.