About Us

Background

During August of 2018, Ashna and Victoria met each other while wandering the halls at a Speech & Debate summer camp. While mentoring, Ashna grew confident in her own speaking abilities as she ensured younger kids grew confident in theirs. While learning, Victoria found her own voice as she found her mentor listening. Hoping to replicate what they loved about the speech community--unconstrained discussion and unconventional friendship--in the scientific community, STEM & Buds was born.

Cofounders

The Problem

For students: Metric-driven and one-dimensional educational approaches that exclude marginalized narratives and interdisciplinary changemaking from STEM

For systems: Impersonal and devalued science communication that prevents translational policy-making and informed public engagement

Our Solution

For students: Mentorship-driven and individualized educational environments that amplify hesitant voices and encourage intersectional impact in STEM

For systems: Identity-oriented and partnership-centric science communication that mobilizes local stakeholders toward issue-based advocacy

Our Story

Experiment
Hoping to shift classrooms towards building science communities and developing social initiatives, Ashna and Victoria started by cold-calling neighboring school districts without after-school programs.
Notebook
From there, the two began to build a curriculum where kids (1) apply STEM to reflect their own narratives, (2) compellingly communicate their ideas, and (3) turn their ambitions into actions.
Presentation
After, the team expanded the program through scalable yet specific programming: our chapter-and-fair model, week-long summer camps, and tailored outreach events.
Growth
Through hours of fine-tuning lesson plans, recruiting youth-leaders, and networking with others, STEM & Buds has since expanded our mission to impact thousands of students nationwide!
Partner
Having built a student pipeline for civically-minded STEM learning, we’re now working on forming strategic partnerships with collegiate clubs and adult-led organizations.

Team

Ashna Patel
Ashna Patel
Cofounder & Executive Director
Victoria Ren
Victoria Ren
Cofounder & Executive Director
Gianni Romano
Gianni Romano
National Chapter Director
Saachi Agarwal
Saachi Agarwal
Financial Director
Anjali Pitani
Anjali Pitani
Media Director
Lena Voss
Lena Voss
Outreach Director
Samhita Vasudevan
Samhita Vasudevan
Outreach Director
Anchey Peng
Anchey Peng
Technology Director

Copyright © STEM & Buds 2021

STEM & Buds is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit