Written By: Rachel Wu
Each month, the Reinvented team votes on a Member of the Month based on factors including dedication to the team, team spirit, and contributions to Reinvented. Palak Mehta, one of Reinvented’s Finance Staff Members, was nominated and selected as Reinvented’s Member of the Month for May.
Palak, a junior from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, heard of the publication from her friend, Aparna Rajesh (one of Reinvented’s Executive Writing Directors), and was inspired by Reinvented’s mission to empower women to continue pursuing STEM. In December 2019, she applied to and subsequently joined the Reinvented team as a Finance Staff Member.
“I love seeing the back end of how the magazine works,” says Palak. “From the finance end, I look at setting up fundraisers, planning out how we can get more funds into Reinvented’s bank account, and getting more sponsorships or grants that we have to fill out.”
Palak’s interest in STEM reaches back to seventh grade, when she studied “Design Engineering,” a course which focuses on both designing and constructing STEM-related projects. Palak recalls working on a project inspired by Stranger Things which involved connecting circuits to create a string of lights that spelled out different words when put together. This experience inspired Palak to explore STEM fields and learn to program.
To Palak, the networking opportunities and vast number of communities in STEM are what make the fields so appealing. “I think STEM is another way to connect with different people around the world. For me, I personally am interested in math and programming,” says Palak. “The reason being is, I can really just code something on one end of the computer and it can reach thousands of people around the world. You don't have to be with them to help them, you can really be anywhere and still be able to connect with them.”
As a Finance Staff Member, Palak enjoys employing skills developed through outside experiences to contribute to Reinvented. One such experience was her time spent serving as a junior vice president of Junior Engineers, a STEM-based non-profit organization that provides free coding and STEM-based classes to children in her local community. In response to the pandemic, Junior Engineers shifted from tutoring lessons conducted at libraries to tutoring sessions online, allowing them to continue their mission of encouraging others in STEM.
In addition to Junior Engineers, Palak is involved in her high school’s student government, serving as class secretary during her freshman year, then as a special assignment officer during her sophomore and junior years. In contrast to being a secretary, which primarily involves the logistics of events, being a special assignment officer gave Palak the opportunity to get involved in marketing. Palak’s experience in class council — brainstorming and implementing ideas for her school — fueled her passion for both outreach and finance.
“Students are so amazing at the school that I go to, and it's really giving back to them that is so rewarding because I've done something to make a difference,” says Palak. “And similarly, with Junior Engineers and Reinvented, I believe that I have made a difference in the world, and I want to continue to do so by helping empower more females, more women and even little kids to keep going into STEM and pursuing their passion - because one day, I believe everyone's dreams can come true.”
Though Palak’s intended career path lies in finance, this choice does not deter her from continuing to pursue her interest in STEM. She looks forward to using her experiences in both design and engineering through college to continue being involved in STEM.
“I know that one [project] that I would like to work on in the future is [building] a prosthetic arm and the reason being is in one of my classes, I had the opportunity to build a hydraulic arm, and it really kind of got me thinking about how the mechanics of it work,” says Palak. “I think if I am able to translate that design and engineering aspect into building more machine learning-based projects, I think that would be really cool.”
We are beyond proud to call Palak one of our volunteers and are thrilled to recognize her as our May Member of the Month!