CC Song ’21 is an Upper hailing from the town of Andover, where she has lived for around 10 years. During her time at Andover, she started the club “Kids Around the World in STEM” program and coordinates the community engagement program YDO Engineering. Song is in the process of building a methane detector and hopes to become an astronaut.
1. Can you talk a little about Kids Around the World in STEM?
The mission is to bring early STEM education to kids around the world who don’t have access to it currently. STEM is a rapidly growing field, and at an age when you are trying to find a job, it’s really important to have. We stick to simple activities that are really engaging. For example, from third to fifth [grade], if they are able to learn math from building a city and calculating the surface area and [learn about] engineering through the egg drop challenge, that’s the best way to get kids interested in STEM earlier on.
2. Do you have any interesting facts or experiences you would like to share?
Over the break I painted my shoes, so that was fun, but I don’t have that much… I’m double jointed basically everywhere.
3. Can you also talk about YDO Engineering, your community engagement that you coordinate?
The idea for both of these things came from the same place. Over the summer, I got to teach at a school in Lawrence where I taught kids engineering through more basic, hands on activities. I think that from that experience I learned that children are really interested in these types of things. Once again, engineering is super important and most people never learn about it, even if you go to a super fancy, private high school in America. You still might not get an engineering education until you’re older. The idea is to bring it to younger kids who aren’t learning these types of things in school and see how much they are getting out of it.
4. What started your interest in STEM?
I’ve generally liked all of my classes. I don’t even know if I consider myself as a strictly STEM person, but the ability to experiment and the possibility to discover new things and the more logical aspects of doing STEM are really interesting to me.
5. What do you want to be when you grow up?
If I’m being honest, I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut—it has been one of my biggest dreams. Once I got into robotics, I wanted to build all these robots that would go to space, if I couldn’t go to space I’ll do [the] next best [thing]. Now that I’m thinking of college, engineering is really interesting to me.
6. Who do you look up to?
I really look up to my parents, although everyone says it. In terms of things that I want to do, there’s a speaker that came to campus last year named Dr. Breazeal, and she is so inspiring to me because she does engineering and robotics and stuff like that.
7. What kind of music do you listen to?
Nowadays, I think that I have a relatively diverse music taste. I listen to rap, I don’t know why, but I listen to a lot of Kanye, A$AP Rocky, some Lana Del Rey—it’s a weird mix but stuff like that. I like to listen to different things. My Spotify wrapped is so weird. I had a huge category called Adult Standards, which is apparently just old music. I guess I listen to a lot of rap now. I don’t really know why, just random things that come up. I would recommend for anyone, if you’re writing, listen to ‘Relaxing Electronic Music’ on Spotify. It helps so much. And then otherwise, just whatever’s on my playlist at the moment.
8. Can you tell us more about your efforts to build a methane detector?
Mr. Barker started an opportunity last year called the Nest Lab. The library is giving out thousand dollar grants…so actually, Ayana [Alemayehu ’21] and I are building a methane detector. That’s our goal, at least. We’ve started by contacting a lot of scientists around the nation—we were looking through research papers, looking at who’s done similar things—who’d be able to help us, and we found that scientists are really willing, really eager to help high schoolers. So we’ve been working on that. We’ve ordered in a bunch of different pieces, and then Dr. Peters, he works in the [Nest] now, he’s been super helpful. So far, we have something that can detect different types of odors, gases, and V.O.C.s (Volatile Organic Compounds). We’re still working towards getting it to detect methane. We’re kind of emailing back and forth with the manufacturer of the product, but that’s been really interesting.
9. What’s your favorite Netflix show?
I like “The Witcher,” I’m a really big fan of that. I like Breaking Bad and Criminal Minds. “The Witcher” I just discovered. I hadn’t planned on watching it, but it came out over break. I just watched it, and it’s so good—I’m obsessed with Henry Cavill now. I do like…I don’t want to say violent [shows], but stuff like Breaking Bad is…It’s not a wholesome show or anything, and it’s just more interesting to me. I can get bored easily by shows, but I also watch Gossip Girl with my friends, which I do every week. So a wide variety of things.
10. Would you like to share anything with the Andover community?
Go out there and do something that you enjoy. We have so many opportunities [at Andover]. Before this year, my [Junior] and Lower year, I didn’t really allow myself to do necessarily everything I was interested in, because either I didn’t think I had time or I was too scared to. I didn’t want to talk to the people who were doing it already, and I think Upper year is when I finally realized I just need to go for it. I’m only here for two more years, and all the things I do now, they’re not super easy. They’re all challenging to me, but I also love doing them. So I think finding that balance is really important. And I think everyone can find something that they both love, and they think can help other people in some way.