EHS STEM students take full advantage of high-profile programs
Special to The Advocate
A group of enterprising Everett High School (EHS) students spent a portion of their summer immersed in high-visibility STEM programs with renowned educators and at world-class institutions, another indicator of the district’s commitment to providing students with exposure to the latest and greatest in technology and science.
“Our students want to learn, and they will do whatever is necessary to accomplish their goals,” said veteran EHS science teacher Nancy Cianchetta, who has been instrumental in connecting students to prestigious internships and summer opportunities.
To begin the summer of 2022, EHS students took a field trip to the laboratories of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), including the National Science Foundation Center for Brains, Minds + Machines. The trip was made possible by MIT Diversity and Outreach Coordinator Mandana Sassanfar, Ph.D., Superintendent Priya Tahiliani and Everett Public Schools (EPS) Chief Financial Officer Anu Medappa Jayanth. EHS students from a variety of grades and pathways had the opportunity to meet scientists, tour labs and imagine themselves as researchers at a top-tier college.
EHS students craving more in-depth work can pursue highly competitive internships that allow them to engage directly with professionals and students from across the state in academic settings and work environments. One of the most desired STEM internships is the Leaders through Education, Action and Hope (LEAH) Knox Scholars Summer Project, and this summer EHS boasted seven participants in the program hosted by the MIT Biology Department: Nicole Mumbi, Lakisha Kirnon, Dyna Louis, Breetika Maharjan, Chris Mumbi, Kirtsy Hall and Darian Ventura.
According to leahknoxscholars.org, “LEAH is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), college readiness, and workforce development program for low-income high school students of color.” The organization and its partners created expanding opportunities for students to learn from researchers in some of the area’s best biotechnology labs, colleges and universities. Participants complete a paid, four-week intensive summer research experience that exposes juniors and seniors to the skills required to conduct biomedical research and the chance to meet scientists and experience the excitement of scientific discovery. Students conclude the internship by presenting research on a variety of biotechnology topics. The LEAH Knox Scholars is funded in part by MassBioEd, BioBuilders and the Massachusetts Life Science Centers partnered with MIT.
In addition to the LEAH Knox interns, EHS senior and STEM Academy student Kien Lau was a member of MIT’s Broad Summer Scholars Program. He concluded his summer by sharing his research on Polygenic Risk Scores related to Type 2 diabetes.
Rounding out Everett’s impressive list of summer scholars is Allied Health Academy student and senior Isabella Sousa, who joined the Forsyth Student Scholars Summer Internship Program. During this eight-week internship, students are paired with, and mentored by, a faculty researcher. Sousa and her mentor completed work on diabetic bone disease.
Creating new traditions: PreK events and Back to School Bash are huge hits with families
Building on the success of two inaugural events that premiered last summer, EPS once again held two celebrations for students and families to mark the start of the school year. Up first were special gatherings for prekindergarten families held at the Room Escape Boston in Chelsea. The Webster Extension celebration was on August 23, followed by the Adams School on August 24. The festivities included games, arts & crafts, giveaways, an indoor playground and free food from Texas Roadhouse and desserts from Spinelli’s. Those who attended also had the chance to meet teachers and the Web Ex and Adams School Head Teachers, Jessyca Redler and Laurie Stokes. Superintendent Tahiliani and her team launched these events in 2021 to give first- and second-year EPS families the chance to meet pre-K teachers and other members of their school communities.
Another event that was held for the second consecutive year was the EPS Back to School Bash. The district-wide event was held on Monday, August 29 in front of Everett High School. There was food from The Chicken and Rice Guys, the Cookie Monstah and Richie’s Slush, as well as games and activities, a photo booth and giveaways. The district’s partners from the Eliot Family Resource Center and the Everett Haitian Community Health Center helped make the festivities a big success with the approximately 1,200 people who attended.