Shooting for the Stars: how the astronomy club came to be

January 30, 2019 — by Ava Hooman and Esha Lakhotia

Over the summer, sophomore Karen Lei thought of the idea of creating a club that allowed her and others to explore their passion for astronomy.

After asking around to see if anyone would be interested, she decided to give it a shot after receiving positive feedback from classmates.

Lei, with the help of her sophomore officers Niyanth Rao, Aanya Rustogi and Tia Jain, applied for the club in September, but they were not approved the first time.

“The first time we applied, we were a bit unprepared, because none of us had any experience founding a club and didn’t know what to expect,” Lei said.

Still determined, Lei, Rao, Rustogi and Jain did more research for their re-application and were finally approved as an official club in October.

“Throughout the entire process both [senior club commissioners] Samyu and Cameron were really supportive and helpful in answering our questions which really helped us,” Lei said. “Looking back, I feel that this entire process, although challenging, was extremely rewarding because we successfully formed the club we wanted and learned how to organize and plan events along the way.”

Currently, the club’s top priority is expanding member base and reaching out to new people. Their club adviser is Jill McCrystal, the astronomy teacher. In meetings, which are held every other Thursday at lunch in Room 1013, the officers cover some basic information about astronomy. They also follow up with current events.

A large portion of their meeting is dedicated to watching videos to keep members informed about recent developments in the field. Occasionally, the club will also meet on Friday nights to attend star parties where the members discuss constellations.

“Astronomy is really interesting to me. The meetings vary; so far, we have been using a lecture format where the officers lecture about interesting topics in astronomy,” Rao said.

According to Lei, being in a club holds many benefits because the members can learn from each other.

“I wanted to form a club where people could explore astronomy at their own pace without worrying about competitions or grades,” Lei said. “To me, the most important things for members to have are interest and enjoyment.”