I've had the fortune of talking to Himanshu Sethia, the founder of The Stemodity Initiative. This organization encourages a multifaceted approach to education, one which combines STEM and the humanities. In our interview, Seth shares the hurdles faced in starting his organization, and goals for future development.
Interviewer - Daysia
Interviewee - Seth
Thank you so much for agreeing to speak with me! My team has always been in awe of Stemodity's mission, and the emphasis you put on interdisciplinary thinking, particularly in a world where it seems stem and the humanities are so separated. Can you give us insight in how you came up with the idea for Stemodity, and what influenced you?
It's awesome to speak with you and I am really pleased to hear that your team is in awe of our mission.
In the beginnings (a few months back), it was just an idea that popped up. I've always loved and backed project-based learning, where we apply our knowledge to real-world problems to see the dynamics of how STEM is used and use these problems to further our knowledge.
In our current world, I believe all major problems require an interdisciplinary approach and it's essential that students are familiar with how to use their thinking skills and knowledge to synthesize these different topics and approaches to come up with their own views and solutions to problems.
I saw how this can be hard in the present day, with schools leading the separation of subjects and relying on textbooks to foster one's learning. That's why I decided to start Stemodity, through giving students a platform the support and ability to explore and communicate their understandings in different ways of different topics, I feel that it enables them to really see the beauty of STEM and the Humanities and they play together in order to have a meaningful impact in the real world.
That's an amazing sentiment, Seth! Thank you for offering a way to foster genuine exploration. The writing we see on your site certainly cannot be found easily in schools.
So how exactly did you start Stemodity and let it grow? Did you have to be pushed into making your website? Did you already have other people involved?
I started Stemodity earlier this year, starting it out as a mere discord server where I recruited our now-to-be executive team. As we got our name and values and mission together, we all knew that the best way to really put this out there was via a website and hence the Stemodity website was created.
Wow, you seem to have committed yourself to your idea so immediately and intensely. It's inspiring! But was it straightforward? What issues or roadblocks did you run into, if any, that slowed your organization down? Personally, I had difficulty finding a team when I started SuccessBaseMass until I found Discord. Perhaps you had temporary halts in progression or difficulties in outreach. If so, how did you overcome them? If not, how do you manage to keep things running smoothly?
I think that there have definitely been roadblocks along the way, be it in terms of organization or activity. In being a current high school student, there were definitely periods of time where I could not overlook a lot of big changes and needed to trust my executive team to move it along forwards and at the start it was a bit odd but it has definitely been a joy having a group of wonderful individuals as dedicated as I am and even more skilled and talented.
Currently and even for a while, our main challenges lie within organization and growth. With dozens of writers, deadlines and articles it proves to be a challenging but rewarding experience to communicate with everyone on the team and allow everyone to really dive deep and explore their topics.
Thank you for sharing that. It's really nice to reflect on the complexities of our passions, especially when we're dedicated enough to overcome them! That being said, what are your future goals for stemodity? These can be big or small - from holding live events or making chapters to publishing in magazines.
My future goals for Stemodity are spread into some short-term goals and some long-term goals.
My short term goals consist of mostly organizational and growth-related goals, with our most recent goal to reach 500 members on our discord community and work towards getting 3,000 monthly viewers on our website.
In the long term, the biggest goal for me and my team would be to simply reach as many as we can, be it either through our journalism, future live events or conferences and other initiatives to help further our mission of removing the school-produced stigma around STEM and the Humanities.
That's amazing! Our team will certainly be keeping up with your ventures. I can't wait to see your growth!
I have one more question to close us out: As someone with a successful youth-led organization, what advice do you have for other youth? Do you have any advice for others who want to start passion projects, or who have large goals but don't know where to start?
The most important word of advice that I would give would be to firstly get a mission and act on it as soon as you can, get something tangible (a discord server, a slack channel, a website, a YouTube channel, an Instagram account), by taking the first step towards that mission, it opens up many different avenues on how you can grow and expand your organization/project.
Get in touch with Stemodity!