Science National Honor Society unites the science community at FHS

Alice Cai, Editor/Writer/Artist

Science National Honor Society (SNHS) is formally defined by the national chapter as “a prominent scientific organization that will engender a new group of young thinkers who will be the future of industry, research and scientific exploration for America.” 

Unfortunately, the reality doesn’t always live up to the mission statement. National honor societies are notorious for hoop-jumping. Often times, the culture in these honor societies are highly concentrated around fulfilling hour requirements to get the cord and to put on college applications. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. 

This year, a new team is stepping in to lead SNHS — seniors Lily Hong, Kaushik Sampath, Ana Reif, and juniors Josh Kueh and myself. We have decided to take on a major shift in the club culture of SNHS: a shift away from hoop-jumping and toward the original, idealistic intent. We think that hours, cords, and résumé lines are but measurements of the achievements of our members. Measurements should never precede content.

The new vision of SNHS is simple: to foster a passion for science.

Science is interesting. Science is everywhere. Science is the future. Together, we are the next generation of great scientists, engineers, mathematicians, tech entrepreneurs: the next generation of world leaders. But in order to reach that future, we must develop a lifelong passion for science. 

The process of creating and sustaining passion can be guided by the following abstract ideas:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Action
  3. Results
  4. Measurement

Measurement is a double-edged sword. Most people have developed passion or curiosity for a certain activity, but it is difficult to sustain that without some form of external pressure. However, our focus this year will be on generating passion from within — only this kind of passion will last a lifetime.

SNHS provides a variety of outlets for passion and opportunities to engage in the scientific community. 

This year, SNHS is starting a science magazine — SciMag — that publishes science-related writing, art, multimedia, and ideas created by students. This is an interdisciplinary effort — we are an interdisciplinary generation, bringing science and art together to create something greater than the sum of its parts. SciMag is open, flexible, and designed to inspire passion. Submissions can be anything in the interdiscipline of the sciences and humanities. News. Science fiction. Features. Stories. Illustrations. Concept art. Music. Memes. Skits. Podcasts. Tutorials. Lectures. Inventions. Science problems. Research ideas. Thought experiments. You name it. It is open to anyone at FHS, even those not in SNHS. SciMag will be published monthly online and distributed to students, teachers, and parents through email.

The science Olympiads are test-based competitions that assess students’ knowledge in various fields of science, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, informatics, linguistics, astronomy, and biology. Olympiads consist of two rounds of challenging exams, after which twenty finalists are invited to a residential training program. After the training program, four students earn a spot on Team USA to compete at the International level.

Senior Kaushik Sampath, who has participated in the Chemistry Olympiad since the 10th grade, said, “Although there’s a lot of time commitment, but they are very rewarding at the end.” 

Another opportunity for students interested in competitive science is Science Bowl, a game in which a team of 5 uses buzzers to signal answers to questions about science. FHS Science Bowl has a long-standing record of achievement, having advanced to nationals in 2016, 2017, and 2019.

Sampath, who is president of the Science Bowl club, said, “It teaches you that no amount of knowledge is enough to learn.” Indeed, these competitions push students to explore the weeds of the discipline they are interested in.

For those interested in applying their knowledge in science to produce something novel, FHS’s Science Research Club provides an opportunity for students to connect with university professors to perform research at a collegiate level. Students who are willing to dedicate significant time and energy to research can talk to professors through the club and create their own research project, or work on a professor’s existing research project. If desired, these projects can be presented in March at the regional Science Fair. Students who place well at the regional fair will advance to internationals on an all-expense-paid trip.

Matt Holden, biology teacher at FHS and sponsor of the club, said, “Getting experience conducting research early will provide students with the skills needed to succeed in college and careers later in life.”

For those with a less competitive spirit, SNHS offers volunteer opportunities throughout the year. One upcoming volunteer event is the Fayetteville Climate Strike on Sep. 27th. This student-organized movement’s goal is to raise awareness about the severity of climate change and the exigency of action. Other volunteer opportunities include working at the Arkansas Archaeological Survey and picking up trash at Lake Fayetteville.

Those attracted to the pedagogical side of science should present on a topic of interest during SNHS meetings or tutor peers on their own time. A crucial element to creating any sort of community is learning from each other: through presentations, science-related events and projects, and games such as Kahoots, we hope to foster and sustain passion within our FHS science community.

WARNING: expect a steady feed of science memes on our Instagram.

FYI:    Instagram handle: @fhssnhs


Remind: @466cde

Contact Number for SciMag: (479) 387 0302