Meet Discovery Place STEM intern and World Scholar Saanchi Sampath
Discovery Place Science
“I enjoy being a STEM intern because it allows me to further my interest in STEM through community service and gives me the opportunity to work in different areas of science. I also have the opportunity to encourage children to develop an interest in science and math.”
Since she was a little girl, Saanchi Sampath has always had a strong interest in science. Now, the 15-year-old sophomore at Myers Park High School, is putting that interest to good use as a STEM intern at Discovery Place Science. She also is one of just 45 high-schoolers across the nation to be named a World Scholar by the World Science Foundation for her excellence in mathematics. Her achievements were featured in The Charlotte Observer late last year. We recently asked Saanchi to tell us a little more about herself and why she enjoys her time at Discovery Place Science. Here’s what she had to say:
How did you get involved with Discovery Place Science?
I visited Discovery Place Science multiple times throughout my childhood, and when I was old enough, began volunteering at Discovery Place Science and Discovery Place Nature as an apprentice. As a part of the volunteering, I found out about the STEM Internship opportunity. This seemed like a good option for me considering my strong interests in math, science and community service. The application process was rigorous and included essays, interviews and accumulating at least 100 service hours as an apprentice. I was fortunate enough to be chosen for this opportunity.
What do you do as a STEM intern here?
As a STEM Intern, I undergo training for science exhibitions and animal care. I facilitate activities for Museum guests to interact with and learn about the various exhibits. I also have the opportunity to encourage children to develop an interest in science and math.
Why do you like being a STEM intern at Discovery Place?
I enjoy being a STEM intern because it allows me to further my interest in STEM through community service and gives me the opportunity to work in different areas of science. For example, as a STEM intern, I was trained to handle invertebrates and sea creatures. I also got the opportunity to take part in a dry ice bubble exhibit. These are great learning opportunities and would not be easily available outside of the internship.
When did you fall in love with science/math?
My love for science and math has always stemmed from their consistency. Generally, a scientific or mathematical statement can always be backed up with facts to prove it true or false. There is never any room for the subjective. As someone who has always been interested in logic driven activities, this appeals to me immensely. I've been extremely drawn to science and math since elementary school and have taken every opportunity to learn more in these areas. I took part in science fairs, science Olympiad and math competitions throughout elementary and middle school. Additionally, as a part of the Duke Talent Identification program, I've attended several summer camps focused on advanced STEM concepts.
What are your career plans/aspirations?
In the future, I plan to earn a degree in applied math. I am motivated by Katherine Johnson (an American mathematician who was featured in the hit movie, Hidden Figures) and would like to do something similar, where I apply math in areas involving science and technology.
How will your time at Discovery Place Science help you in the future?
Discovery Place Science gives me the opportunity to learn about different areas of science that I may choose to pursue in the future. It also helps me build people skills through interactions with the guests and the staff at the Museum. These interpersonal skills will be very beneficial to me in the future. Additionally, the internship helps me develop discipline and accountability. I have to manage my schedule and commit my time to volunteering. These skills will be very helpful as I prepare for college.