Mohan Hathi

Mohan Hathi
Elementary School: Fayerweather Street School
College: Harvard College
Major: Undecided (Something around Biomedical Engineering, Applied Math, or Education)
Career Aspiration: Science researcher, inventor, or business leader

Favorite subject at CRLS

Why is it your favorite subject?
I loved physics and other hands-on STEM classes at CRLS. From predicting the movement of an airborne projectile, to calculating the period of an orbiting planet, or finding the forces between two subatomic particles, these classes provided an exciting way to analyze and understand real-world phenomena. I also enjoyed applying math and CS concepts to solve problems. Shout-out to my teachers Mr. Nigdelioglu and Ms. Hansel for making HN Physics and AP Physics C challenging as well as hands-on, collaborative, and fun!

Favorite CRLS Staff Person
Mr. Patterson and Dr. Lam

What makes that staff person so special?

Mr. Patterson's teaching is unique because he uses collaborative “explorations” instead of lectures. Building on existing knowledge, the exploration poses a question or a problem and walks one through "discovering" a new concept or formula. As a student in AP Calculus BC, Mr. Patterson's teaching style revealed to me the "why" and "how" behind the formulas, and connected math to exciting real-world applications. As a TA this year, I got to learn more about how Mr. Patterson selects and creates explorations, introduces them to students, and fosters collaboration and math confidence. Mr. Patterson lives by mathematician Paul Lockhart's philosophy, "Mathematics is the art of exploration. If you deny students the opportunity to engage in this activity you deny them mathematics itself."

Dr. Lam's AP World History and AP Comparative Government and Politics classes taught me a new way to think about history and current events. Though exquisitely planned, thoughtful, and funny lectures and class activities, I learned how to write in a thorough and systematic way, understand and critique points of view, express arguments, and more. Dr. Lam's depth of knowledge and her dedication to her students is unmatched.

Extracurricular activities, clubs, school-related activities

Cross country and track (long-distance), Club 4, science team, freshman CM mentoring

What were some of the out-of-school time (O.S.T) programs that you participated in anytime between grades 6-12?
Electro-mechanical engineering intern at two Harvard labs, hands-on engineering instructor at various summer camps, math enrichment tutor for fourth-eighth grade students, MIT Engineering Design Workshop participant, Indian classical vocal music student

How did being enrolled in any O.S.T. program(s) contribute to your success both in and out of high school? 
Out of school programs were an amazing way to work on engineering projects I was passionate about. I got to build devices used in climate change and biology research for principal investigators at Harvard. As part of a research team, I was also able to learn about the science behind the projects and related work being done by other team members. I also had to opportunity to teach younger students math, science, and engineering. I loved sharing some of my favorite childhood projects and the underlying science/math, and helping get students excited about learning. These experiences not only allowed me to practice technical STEM skills, but also helped me figure out what I want to pursue in the future.

What did you like most about CRLS? Why?
The size. My middle school only had ~20 students per class, and the people and opportunities at CRLS are amazing. You can take a wide array of classes like biotechnology, multivariable calculus, world history, Chinese, or ceramics. (It's almost like a college.) There are always new people to meet, many of whom have common interests or experiences. Although there are so many students, the environment is collaborative instead of competitive, and you can choose your own path and how much you want to push or challenge yourself.

What is something people unfamiliar with CRLS should know about the school? Why?
Although on paper CRLS is very diverse (Cambridge is home to working class families, new immigrants, and college professors alike), classes often end up being segregated. There are big racial and socioeconomic gaps, and friend groups often form along these lines. Students, please make an effort to connect with peers from different backgrounds, whether that be in community meeting, a level-up class, or an extracurricular activity. You can both learn from and help each other.

What advice would you give incoming freshmen about CRLS?
Push yourself out of your comfort zone in freshman year and don't be afraid to meet new people. Join a sport or club and participate seriously. CRLS is a huge place, and becoming part of a community will help you meet a wide range of people and make new friends.

Take classes and do clubs/sports because you enjoy them. There's no point in wasting your four years taking classes or joining clubs because they look good on a college application. You don't need to start worrying about college until the end of junior year. If you do what you enjoy, you'll have fun and learn a lot more.

Also say hi to Mr. Smith and Mr. Tynes at the door, be nice to the staff and custodians, and get tacos on Tuesday for lunch!

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