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STEM Scholars: Pursuing Career Goals Through LET’S GO

What does it take to be a member of a winning STEM competition team? Kumar can tell you. Self-proclaimed “STEM fanatic since the 3rd grade,” now a 7th grader, Kumar is preparing to bring the Westport Academy Maryland Science Olympiad (MSO) team to victory in March 2020 during his second year of participation. “MSO is really, really fun because of all the different things there are to learn about,” he told LET’S GO, “It definitely takes hard work and you’ve got to work together with the team, but it’s worth it.”

Maryland Science Olympiad (MSO) is an American team competition in which students compete in 20+ events pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. Over 7,800 middle school and high school teams from 50 U.S. states compete each year. The high-intensity program requires commitment, self-motivation, and preparation as a team-player in order to succeed in competition.

Since day one of Kumar’s first MSO season in 2018, he was drawn to the engineering events. Determined to build a competitive device in the 2019 competition, Kumar meticulously applied his foundational knowledge of engineering and the scientific method learned in MSO to build a cantilevered truss from scratch. Complying to the official construction parameters, Kumar showcased his creativity at the regional scrimmage at Johns Hopkins University with his unique design that drew interest from other students and mentors from other Baltimore schools. With pride, he clearly communicated his design ideas and shared his blueprints. His cooperative spirit within the Westport team made him a reliable member to offer constructive feedback when other members were stuck in their competition designs.

The late nights after school and early Saturday mornings spent perfecting his designs and helping his teammates were not left unnoticed by Kumar’s family. When asked about how LET’S GO programs like MSO have influenced his interest in STEM, Kumar says, “I have always been interested in STEM, but now my family knows that I like it and that I am good at it.”

Kumar continues to be an integral part of the Westport MSO team in the 2019-2020 season. His focus for the March 2020 Baltimore Regional Competition includes engineering a bottle-rocket parachute, building a Rube Goldberg machine, and creating an educational video game with Scratch programming software.

Where will you find our STEM Scholar, Kumar, next? “Actually, even before MSO, I was thinking about getting a job as a computer tech or an architect. I love to plan my designs, and I feel very accomplished when I see the finished process. That’s why I keep coming back to MSO.”

LET’S GO is proud to reinforce Kumar’s STEM identity and interest by offering MSO’s unique STEM learning environment at Westport, and looks forward to continuing to foster his STEM journey.

 

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