A couple Saturdays ago, in April of this year, I participated in a town-wide Earth Day cleanup and spent 3 hours cleaning the streets. Every year, our town distributes bright yellow trash bags out to volunteers, who help with the litter cleaning efforts. It wasn’t shocking to see the amount of trash strewn about on the side of the road, but it was eye-opening. There were alcohol bottles of all sizes, beer cans that were sometimes nearly full, plastic water bottles, unopened Gatorades and Snapple teas, discarded styrofoam cups, empty coffee containers, plastic bags, used masks, tobacco tins, vapes, countless cigarettes, and much more. However, it was also heartening to see the number of people all over town who volunteered their time to help clean. As we were picking up the trash, one family driving by the street pulled up by our group and asked us about what steps they could take to participate as well. It was a community effort and a stark reminder about what typically happens to the trash that lines our street: it sits there almost permanently, acting as a serious health hazard to plants and animals. If it is blown into water bodies by the wind, it can also affect marine life and pollute our waterways. Cigarette butts and e-cigarettes in particular contain toxic chemicals that we don’t want to be contaminating our water sources or the water bodies where the fish we eat live. During the pandemic, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of people taking walks as they continue to work from home. If you are one who takes frequent walks outside to enjoy nature and fresh air, especially now that the weather has gotten better, then I encourage you to join us in our Earth Day efforts, grab a trash bag and gloves, pick up some of the litter you spot on your walk, and help make your community a cleaner and healthier place too!
IAGB Youth of the Month
Ananthan Sadagopan is an academically driven senior at Westborough High School in Massachusetts who will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall. Following success at local and national exams, where he outscored nearly 16,000 students from more than 1,300 high schools across the United States, he was one of 20 students selected for the intensive two-week United States National Chemistry Olympiad training camp. After placing within the top four students in the training camp, he was selected to the United States International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO), where he represented the US team. He then competed against the top four students from 60 different countries and placed within the top 10%, earning a gold medal. Ananthan has also completed impressive research work and has authored and co-authored seven peer-reviewed scientific publications. He is most proud of his contributions to a project at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that studied the genomic characterization of a rare, aggressive type of kidney cancer called translocation renal cell carcinoma. The work (a reprint of which can be found here https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.14.439908v1) is expected to guide the development of new therapeutic strategies to combat the cancer. Within his high school, Ananthan is also the president and founder of his school’s debate team and was a successful debater on the National Circuit, qualifying to the Tournament of Champions. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, basketball, and mridangam. IAGB congratulates Ananthan Sadagopan on being the April 2021 Youth of the Month.
IAGB Youth Art and Music Spotlight
This month’s Art and Music spotlight is avid event photographer and former IAGB volunteer Neil Pandit, a graduate of Burlington High School. Neil enjoys giving back to the community by working in a volunteer photographer capacity, and when he was in middle school, he began photographing events at a therapeutic equestrian facility that provides equine-assisted therapy to children with disabilities and veterans of wars. His photographs from these events won the Boston Globe Scholastic Award. Currently, he is a sophomore at Washington & Jefferson College, where he was accepted into the prestigious Temple Medical Scholars combined BA/MD program, studying neuroscience and conflict resolution studies on the pre health track. Recently, Neil has also been elected Speaker of his college’s Student Government Association. At college, Neil continues his photography pursuits, helping his school with outreach to prospective students. He says, “Photography is not just capturing a moment, but capturing the emotions that make an experience special.”
IAGB youth opportunities
Parents, please do consider highlighting the following opportunities to your children!
Who: 7th to 10th grade (but open to others who may be interested as well)
When: Starts June 18 with 5 weekly sessions
Sign up form: https://forms.gle/EqJoudBKhmzXjf3p8
Parents, do consider asking your child if they are interested in participating in the Editorial Club! This summer group, run by the high school students of the Metrowest branch of the Alliance of Youth Leaders in the United States (AYLUS), was created to promote critical thinking and strong writing skills.
Through 5 sessions, each an hour in length, the club will discuss and analyze op-ed articles on a variety of topics (history, science, literature, etc.). For the younger students, working on developing these analysis skills is one of the best ways to begin preparing for their SATs and ACTs, and they are also useful for many humanities and science-based careers! Supplementary webinars focusing on specific themes may also be offered.
It starts on June 18th, and you can sign your child up by filling out the form linked above. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Who: 10th grade and up
When: Any point throughout the year
Iridium Tutoring is a nonprofit tutoring program created by students that offers free one-on-one tutoring for K-12 students. This nonprofit helps address the educational inequalities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the link below, you can find instructions on how to get a tutor or to begin volunteering as a tutor.
–IAGB Youth Editorial Director, Aarushi Pant