Preparing for STEM Competitions at Baldwin

Sharzad Shojaian '18, Guest Writer

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Originally featured in the March 2018 Edition

The Baldwin School’s presence at the Technology Student Association Region 5 Conference on Saturday, February 10 at Strayer Middle School in Quakertown, Pennsylvania raised the question of whether Baldwin students are adequately prepared for extracurricular STEM-based competitions.
A day prior to the conference, TSA members could be found running along the familiar blue hallways with wood glue and rulers, furiously texting and calling missing team members while printing and seeking answers.
In spite of the fact that they arrived exhausted at the conference the following day, the Baldwin students did very well. The high school division alone managed to secure six top-ten places in their team and individual competitions. It seems the hard work of the committed participants, members of Baldwin’s TSA club, ultimately led to this triumph.
Baldwin’s BETA club members have had similar experiences feeling unprepared for STEM competitions. (BETA stands for “Brain Exercises and Training Association” and is the Math club at Baldwin.) A current member of this club, Hannah Yin ‘18, said, “I have the AMC [American Math Competition] later today, and [BETA] only had one session to prepare for the competition.”
As in the case of the TSA competition, however, some BETA students have done very well in these math competitions, and both the students and the faculty adviser enjoy discussing the problems during the club meetings.
Alumna Jessica Zhang ‘17, currently a student at Dartmouth College and head of BETA for two years while at Baldwin, weighed in on Baldwin’s participation in STEM-based competitions: “We tried very hard to make prep for math competitions like the PAML [Pennsylvania Math League] and AMC competitions part of the club ‘curriculum’ so to speak, but we also needed to cater to other interests,” such as students’ interests in incorporating art, origami, and math review sessions for final exams and the SAT II.
Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Blankenship is optimistic about the success of Baldwin clubs. She said, “I think we’ve found a few [clubs] that are intense enough and that enough students can make time for that we’re starting to see more success there. We do well in math competitions… We’re starting to see more success in TSA.”

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Preparing for STEM Competitions at Baldwin