by Emma Gao, FCSN Voices Reporter
Three Lynbrook High students donated $5000 dollars to FCSN on Aug. 6 through money raised from their summer science program lectures at the non-profit organization Silicon Valley STEM for Youth (SVSY).
Senior Angela Jiao, co-founder and president of SVSY; junior Andrew Yuan, co-founder and vice president; and senior Raymond Shao, the Director of Curriculum, along with several other instructors, garnered the donation money through tuition fees for their virtual science lessons held over the summer of 2021.
While none of the three students have volunteered at FCSN, they chose the organization in the hopes that the money would increase STEM exposure among special needs students.
“Seeing as STEM is a pretty big field now, and there’s still a lot of barriers to accessibility in STEM – a lot of sciences or computer-related things are obviously gated behind the necessary material [and] the prep required – we just wanted to make STEM more accessible for any and all people in general,” Raymond said.
In terms of this increased accessibility, Raymond hopes that the money from the donation will enable FCSN to provide a more extensive array of materials for their science department, such as computers or chemistry kits. Through this greater availability of resources, they hope that special needs students can more thoroughly explore STEM subjects and discover their interests. However, Angela said that she also “recognize[s] the value of other programs, so [they] want to leave it up to FCSN to figure out how to best use this money.”
Since its establishment in 2018, SVSY has held four annual science camps, reached over 650 students and raised approximately $20,000 dollars in total. Over 180 students from 13 U.S. states and Canada attended the program.
“What made us start [SVSY] is because we’re a group of students who really like Science Olympiad at school, and we’re all very passionate about STEM and science,” Andrew said. “We wanted to form an organization to help pass on this passion for science to other students.”
Through their initiatives in uplifting students of all backgrounds, Angela, Andrew and Raymond in return feel the gratification of their volunteer work through the success of the people they teach.
“Being able to see the students’ progression and their being able to explore subjects or specific subsets of the science topics that they might have never heard of before is extremely rewarding,” Raymond said. “It feels pretty gratifying to be able to help others out, especially because we’re in this position of privilege living in the Bay Area.”
“[For] our next step, we want to keep going further and broaden our impact,” Angela said. We don’t want to focus just on one group of people: we want to affect as many different types of people as possible.”