High school students form STEM-based program

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STEM Academy’s BHS club chapter board members. | Photo credit: STEM Academy

By: Sammy Kae


As the pandemic shocked school districts across the nation, parents noticed that their students were academically disengaged. In fact, the Global Fund for Children reports that the pandemic prompted the decline in education for almost 24 million children in the United States.

To address this problem two high school students, Pooja Rayanki and Samhita Korukonda, from California and Washington respectively, sought a solution. After observing the detrimental effects of pandemic education, the duo founded a non-profit organization called STEM Academy.

STEM Academy is dedicated to providing free, STEM-based education to elementary-aged children. The non-profit offers online, 5-week classes through their website, www.stemacademyedu.com.

“Our philosophy is simple,” says Pooja Rayanki, a student at Homestead High School, “after seeing our own communities tackle pandemic education, we realized that students needed more help than ever before.”

STEM Academy, which is based conjointly in California and Washington, has offered classes in all areas of STEM. The organization recruits high school students from around the country to teach group classes in their respective subject matter. In return, the teachers receive valuable management and teaching skills.

“We make sure to recruit teachers who have truly demonstrated excellence in their field” explains Samhita Korukonda, a student at Bellevue High School, “whether that be through rigorous coursework or participation outside of school, all of our teachers are screened extensively by our panel before we decide if they would be a good fit.”

While STEM Academy is strictly devoted to providing STEM education in a fun and interactive way, new classes are added every 5-week rotation, from Biology 101 to Introductory Python.

“It really keeps the students engaged,” says a STEM Academy teacher, “while also helping me broaden my content knowledge as well. I learn something new from my students every day!”

As of November 2021, STEM Academy has grown to an organization of over 1000 students and has received attention from numerous schools and districts across the nation.

“We are really grateful for all the schools and districts who have helped us spread our mission and accompanied us on this journey,” says Pooja.

In addition to attracting students from all across the country, STEM Academy boosts a brilliant team of 13 females. Their explicit focus on STEM comes from being women in a field dominated by men, and their effort to change this for the younger generation.

“Being a future STEM professional, both Pooja and I experienced the hardships accompanying women in STEM. We wanted to reverse this trend that has clouded history for so long and make sure that the next generation did not have to experience the same,” explains Samhita.

STEM Academy hopes to further expand its operations internationally and diversify its team. It hopes to recruit more staff in the future to better reach communities across the US.

Interested parents and students can learn more about STEM Academy at www.stemacademyedu.com

For any questions or inquiries, contact their management team at: stem.class.academy@gmail.com

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I just love this story, well done everyone!  Thank you for the story! Truly an asset, these young adults are great role models, best success.

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