STEMPower Comes to Dominion


Zaina Tarafder helped bring STEMPower to Dominion.

STEMPower, a new club dedicated to boosting interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) among women and girls, has arrived at Dominion. Brainchild of junior Zaina Tarafder, STEMPower has weekly meetings which typically consist of discussing STEM-related news, scientific journal articles, and presentations given by club members on their favorite subjects. The club also hosts regular forums with experts in STEM fields. 

STEMPower was founded with the goal of creating a space for women at Dominion to explore their scientific interests, and get girls excited about entering scientific fields. “It’s meant to be a creative outlet and a place for you to show your interest in STEM in a different way,” Tarafder said. “Something that isn’t really prevalent at Dominion is representation of women in the field of STEM.”

Started just this year, STEMPower already has a sizable membership, and is looking to expand. “We have about 20-25 members right now, and the plan in the future because STEM is such a broad topic, to departmentalize and create a science department, tech department, engineering department, and math department,” Tarafder said. The club may soon spread to other schools as well, with plans already being made to create chapters at Potomac Falls and Park View, according to Tarafder.

The inspiration to start the club came from an online tutoring program Zaina participated in over the summer. “It was started by this girl in California. She started this tutoring platform with her friends, and it ended up growing to be an international platform, and I just was really inspired by how she took an idea and spread it to hundreds of people. I was like, ‘I want to take something that I’m interested in and spread it to other people.’” 

Heather Cox, teacher sponsor of STEMPower said, “When Zaina reached out to me over the summer, I was most impressed by her enthusiasm and her organization with regard to getting this club off the ground. I fully believe that Zaina and her team of leaders will accomplish any goal they set.”

The club is also working on establishing a youth mentorship branch, which would hold mentoring programs for middle school students, where they would work on research projects and other activities to foster excitement about science.

A typical club meeting begins by going over administrative details such as dates for future forums and meetings, and planning activities. After that, members share their individual research projects with the group. Project topics are incredibly varied; previous projects have focused on subjects as varied as black holes, Parkinson’s disease, and bioluminescence.

Students interested in joining STEMPower can join through Schoology, and follow the club’s Instagram page