The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

SNHS returns to WJ

WJ+SNHS+celebrates+their+holiday+induction+party+with+science+themed+treats.+One+group+arranged+fruit+bites+in+the+shape+of+different+chemical+bonds+while+another+group+made+a+dirt+cake+into+a+soil+profile+complete+with+gummy+worms.+Another+student+arranged+sprinkles+on+sugar+cookies+to+represent+phases+of+mitosis.+All+of+it+was+a+little+geeky%2C+but+in+a+good+and+fun+way%2C+SNHS+sponsor+and+Physics+teacher+Michael+Willard+said.
Courtesy @wj.snhs
WJ SNHS celebrates their holiday induction party with science themed treats. “One group arranged fruit bites in the shape of different chemical bonds while another group made a ‘dirt cake’ into a soil profile complete with gummy worms. Another student arranged sprinkles on sugar cookies to represent phases of mitosis. All of it was a little geeky, but in a good and fun way,” SNHS sponsor and Physics teacher Michael Willard said.

With a new sponsor, new club officers and new members, it’s comeback season for WJ’s chapter of the Science National Honor Society (SNHS).

After an almost semester-long hiatus due to last year’s sponsor leaving the society, physics teacher Michael Willard stepped up to take charge of SNHS. Although Willard is new to WJ, he is no stranger to MCPS or SNHS.

“I had sponsored SNHS at a previous school and there was an opportunity to serve as sponsor at WJ. As a teacher new to the school, I get a chance to meet more students and become part of the community,” Willard said.

SNHS has already selected its members for the current school and recently elected club officers. Seniors Myura Nimalan, Sara Elster and Ethan Miller will serve as this year’s co-Presidents and juniors Meley Ghermay, Ellen Johns, Miram Elag and Riddhi Sadhanala will serve as co-vice presidents.

“I decided to run for co-President because I wanted to make SNHS a place where more students can explore and find their interest in science. As someone who truly enjoys science, I want to help other students find their spark with science too,” Nimalan said.

SNHS also offers volunteer leadership opportunities for members seeking less committed roles. After induction, members signed up for positions such as tutoring coordinators and social media coordinators on a first come first serve basis.

Junior Mane Torosyan is serving as one of four social media coordinators this year.

“I’m so excited to be involved and start promoting [SNHS] events through the new Instagram page!” Torosyan said.

Before winter break, SNHS organized a holiday themed induction party where new members shared science themed foods such as “mitosis cookies” and “dirt cakes.” With the arrival of the new year, club sponsorship and leadership alike are planning both fun and informative events.

“Looking forward, we are trying to bring in guest speakers from around the area. We live in such a hotbed of scientific activity with places like NIH, Walter Reed [Medical Center], NIST and EPA in our backyard,” Willard said. “We believe we will be able to bring in professionals from the community to speak to WJ students. Currently, we are in the process of trying to arrange for a NASA engineer to speak to our members and share his experiences.”

SNHS members also offer tutoring to students in science subjects. This is one way that club members can fulfill the four hour requirement of society-related activities to remain in the honor society and make a meaningful contribution to the WJ community as well.

“One of the parts I love about SNHS is tutoring. Sometimes, science is considered a subject that most would avoid. Most find it hard to find what they like about it,” Nimalan said. “As a tutor, I believe it is our responsibility to show the fun and interesting aspects of science. I try to show students that science is not scary and can be a lot of fun.”

SNHS is also looking to form partnerships with local elementary schools to promote STEM education through booths, demos and experiments at elementary school STEM nights.

SNHS co-vice President Johns is prioritizing similar outreach. Johns, as well as her co-vice presidents, are looking to make a long-term impact as they intend to assume presidential positions in the honor society next school year.

“I want to bring more science opportunities to MCPS students. Students should join SNHS to spread our shared love for science into WJ and the outer community,” Johns said.

The revival of SNHS brings about a new opportunity for WJ students.

“Gaining membership in any honor society is a noteworthy achievement and it helps students present their best selves on college applications. From a collegiality standpoint, membership in SNHS allows students to engage with fellow students who have an interest and passion for the sciences,” Willard said.

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Maya Panicker, Print News Editor
Junior Maya Panicker is excited for her first year with the Pitch as a Print News Editor. Maya enjoys playing soccer for WJ and going out with friends.
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