Valencia High School senior Abiela Sarrieddine spent her summer thinking about … science.
Inspired by the world of STEM, particularly data science, Sarrieddine wanted to meet other like-minded individuals. So, she set about planning the VHS STEM Conference, scheduled to take place 2-5 p.m. Sept. 30 at Valencia High.
“A few months ago, I went to a conference at UCLA for neuro tech, and it consisted primarily of college students — every single person was in college or older,” Sarrieddine said. “After I went to that conference, being the only high schooler there, I thought, ‘Why don’t we have a conference for high schoolers?’ Especially since junior and senior years are such monumental times in deciding our career paths and future.”
Sarrieddine came up with the idea in April, and spent the following summer months brainstorming, contacting various organizations and spreading the word.
“Over the summer, I started getting clubs to get on board, and I got about 10 clubs to join from around the Hart district,” Sarrieddine said.
The day will entail workshops, guest speakers from Boston Scientific and LebNet, and even an award ceremony recognizing the winners of an ongoing competition, for which submissions are due Sept. 20. The prompt is to “curate an innovation that will benefit our society.”
“If [students] decide they want to fill out this project, they have until the week before [the conference] to submit it. At the end of the conference, we will [have] an award ceremony to place the highest in the competition,” Sarrieddine said. “I have three judges, [who are teachers], from Valencia High School, who will judge first, second and third places.”
While the target audience is current high school students interested in various fields related to science, technology, engineering and math, students from middle schools throughout the valley are encouraged to attend and immerse themselves in high school-level content.