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Sophomore Akansha Das holds a love for science and medicine

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Whether it’s on a piano bench in front of a panel of judges, at a competition about to take on an anatomy test, or preparing to deliver a speech to a group of medical experts, sophomore Akansha Das is constantly thriving in her surroundings. In her first two years of high school, she’s taken on several clubs and hobbies, developing her passions and gaining knowledge about several scientific fields. One of her greatest dedications, however, is to Science Olympiad.

“In 8th grade, I really dove into [Science Olympiad], and I really liked anatomy and the bioprocess labs,” Akansha said. “The biological sciences really interested me, so from there, I started signing up for events. The [highlight has been] the people; I’m not a part of a sport, but it feels like I’m with a team. I’ve also met a lot of juniors. I always know when the AP Lang things are due because they’re always complaining about it.”

Akansha participates in a multitude of Science Olympiad events to better herself and improve the depth of her science understanding. With her events including Anatomy, Experimental Design, and Disease Detective, Akansha has self-taught herself about the physiology of several body systems, as well as various diseases and epidemiology. It’s safe to say that although she’s a sophomore, her knowledge of complicated scientific concepts expands far beyond the realm of her age. Since joining, she’s found vast success in the program.

“I didn’t do so well in Science Olympiad in ninth grade,” Akansha said. “But in tenth, I got first at the Portage Northern Invitational, so I was super proud of that. I was even more proud when I got fifth at the Haslett [Invitational]. It wasn’t that 5th was extremely high, but before when I had scored high, I always thought that it was because of my partner, who’s brilliant. I really underestimated myself, so when I finally did it on my own, I was really surprised.”

Since joining Science Olympiad, Akansha has found the direction that she wants to take her life in. This decision has determined how she spends her time; she now tries to participate in activities in school and over the summer that are science-based. These programs and camps allow her to continue to develop her comprehension of science.

A newer program that Akansha has recently begun to invest her time in is HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America). From the beginning of this year, when the program was founded by juniors Yusra Sannah, Caitlin Benitez, and Ayah Ayesh, Akansha has been a dedicated member of the program, taking advantage of the medical public speaking event and presenting her ideas about the medical industry to a panel of judges.

“Mainly, I wanted to join HOSA because it’s [about] health sciences, and that interests me,” Akansha said. “[For my event], regionals definitely went better than states, and I wish that the judges had given me more feedback. But still, it was public speaking practice, which is always good.”

Now, having recently been voted in as next year’s vice president, Akansha is preparing for a role of leadership in the HOSA club. Though she hasn’t taken part in a leadership role before, and her nerves are beginning to build, she’s confident that her experience in clubs and passion for the health sciences will allow her to succeed in the role and help HOSA flourish in its second year.

“I’m so scared,” Akansha said. “Obviously, Yusra and Caitlin had to do a lot of work. I don’t have much experience in terms of leadership, so I think it’ll make me responsible and more adherent to the deadlines.”

Separate from her passions in the science field, Akansha also holds a deep love for music. Starting to play piano in third grade, Akansha is nearing her eighth year playing the instrument. Since beginning her musical career, she’s taken part in the Piano SATs, being tested on theory, oral ability, performance, and technique by seasoned piano experts. Though taking on tasks as difficult as piano competitions can be taxing, Akansha’s enthusiasm for the instrument allows her to thrive.

“Whenever I go to competitions, I get super nervous, and right before I go on, I start doubting why I even signed up for it,” Akansha said. “But then, I touch the piano, and I start playing. It just feels so soothing for me. It’s made me have much more respect for musicians and for classical music.”

All in all, between her passion for music and her love for science, Akansha has a busy two years as an upperclassman waiting for her. While she knows that music will always be a part of her life, it’s her knack for the sciences and dedicated involvement with Science Olympiad and HOSA that will take her far in the future.

“[I’m] definitely [interested in] the medical field, and I’ve been leaning towards [becoming a] doctor, but I do want to keep my options open,” Akansha said. “After doing Science Olympiad this year, I’ve been really interested in the digestive system, so I think something like gastroenterology would be really cool. I just like to be able to be involved with the patient or doing something that’s helping people because, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”

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Sophomore Akansha Das holds a love for science and medicine