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The Perennial

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Seniors Majoring in STEM

Colin Ternus

   California prides itself on being home to the heart of innovation and technology: Silicon Valley. Growing up in this STEM-centric environment inspired many Pinewood seniors to pursue majors and explore diverse interests within the field.

   UC Berkeley-bound  Arjun Kelkar will be majoring in data science, combining his love for math, statistics and computer science. In addition to having an excellent data science program, Berkeley is also known for their computer science, artificial intelligence and math courses, the primary components of data-driven sciences.

   “The thing I like about data science is that it’s so versatile because it can be applied to any field, whether it’s sports analytics, the healthcare industry or really anything,” Kelkar said.     

   A member of the Math Honors Society, Kelkar helps students gain confidence in math lab, which ultimately guided him towards his major choice.   

   Meghana Simhadri will also be attending UC Berkeley, as a biology major.

   “I was inspired to major in [biology] by great role models like my mom, who is a doctor,” Simhadri said.  “I’ve always been interested in it, but as I’ve gotten older and learned more about the field, my interest has grown.”

   For students interested in the sciences, Simhadri advises immersing oneself in the topic at hand and truly understanding the nuances behind it.

   “Try to really understand what’s happening rather than trying to just memorize steps or formulas,” Simhadri said.  “And of course, practice! Some advice I have in general is to get involved in STEM outside of school in whatever way seems fitting.”

   An aspiring marine biologist, Makena Matula will be double majoring in environmental sciences and biology with a focus in marine biology at the University of Southern California.

   “Biology, especially marine biology, has been the love of my life ever since I was really young,” Matula said. “It’s always been something that I knew I wanted to do, and that love has just grown.”

   Their leadership in the Ocean Ambassadors Club and participation in a multitude of marine-biology related extracurricular activities has allowed Matula to further their passion for the subject. They’ve volunteered at the California Academy of Sciences and Monterey Bay Aquarium and also have their own nonprofit to promote biological diversity. In the future, Matula hopes to acquire a PhD in marine biology and conduct research surrounding biodiversity.

   As they journey through the next chapter of their lives, Kelkar, Simhadri and Matula hope to be role models for the next generation of students interested in STEM.

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