Student establishes first Students United club

Through team-oriented activities, Students United gives students of all ages increased exposure to STEM opportunities.


Caitlin Garrett

President and founder Caitlin Garrett presents new ideas in their Tuesday meeting.

Rylie Lockerman, Editor

Junior Caitlin Garrett has a vision. A vision of a space where students may thrive in STEM. Students provided less resources, or depth, in specific STEM subjects will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding through activities like team building, competition preparation, donation and mentorship. Each club meeting is held in room 1352, where club sponsor and math teacher Lynn O’Donnell, helps Garrett organize future club events.

“I created Students United this year to help foster communications between high school students,” Garrett said. “And, to create a mentor system for middle school and elementary schools.”

Before its establishment, Garrett struggled to find available classes to fit her interests, or proper student aid in course choice. This struggle serves as Garrett’s prime motivator, who wants to change opportunities for incoming students, especially those in need of specific direction and information.

“The reason I started it was because in middle school I never really had access to STEM related opportunities and what I want to go into in the future,” Garret said. “If I had been introduced to a club similar to Students United, then I would have been able to delve deeper into those passions and experiences.”

A lack of discussion regarding these programs was visible to Garrett after continuous struggle to find opportunities for pursuing her dream job of becoming a computational biologist.

“Nowhere you look will you find anyone who focuses specifically on converting medicine,” Garrett said. “I wanted to create a community that not only helps students realize all of the opportunities there are in these fields, but also to introduce that to students.”

Garret emphasizes the empowerment given to students when they’re introduced to STEM earlier and in a more straightforward manner, giving them the upper hand in going forward with this area of study.

“I love visiting with the students and seeing how passionate they are about STEM and get excited when we tell them we’re going to teach them high school material to get ready for coding classes,” Garrett said. “Computer Science one and two and things of that sort.”

Although this club has just begun, members hope to soon form a group within themselves designated for Hackathons. In this competition, teams will innovate a new business or app from the ground up within 24 hours. While students involved in STEM get to take on roles such as team leaders and coders, it also presents an opportunity for students interested in graphic design to take their passion to the next level.

“There have been so many majorly recognized businesses created because of Hackathons,” Garrett said. “So many people have ideas they want to implement and I’m extremely excited because it would be a way for people to really take charge on those ideas.”

In addition to STEM activities, the club is currently working on a donation drive to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For this project, they will work together in contributing to donations and team bonding through crafting letters to children.

“Another main component to Students United is fostering passion and uniting students from STEM and medicine,” Garrett said. “We work together and orient our projects towards things that are composed of both.”

Student United’s primary objective is directed towards helping educate and guide the younger class of students making their way to higher education to allow an easier transition into the path of STEM.

“Students at that age, when they’re still discovering what they’re going to be interested in, really draw their interests from challenges and feeling like they’re doing something that was unavailable before,” Garrett said. “Or, they thought was too hard.”