How clubs keep Peddie's community strong

Students engage with peers during the Club Fair, Fall 2019

Clubs at Peddie are always active during the school year, but this summer has brought unprecedented activity from student clubs who are still holding events and seminars long beyond the end of the academic year. This is why just three of Peddie’s clubs have chosen to remain active this summer, and how they’re making Peddie’s community stronger.

Spreading smiles through song
The Musicians Club began with the goal of spreading joy through music. Usually, their focus is on community services, often giving performances at Meadow Lakes, a senior living community near Peddie. Such performances are now impossible, but according to Emily Mu ’22, co-leader of the club, they’re more determined than ever to perform.

“Because so many people are in isolation right now, it’s even more important to be able to connect people, whether it’s through music or something else. It’s important that we remain connected both as a community and with the outside world.”

The Musicians Club, alongside student musicians from across the country, has moved their performances to a virtual space with Songs for Smiles x The World, an initiative to hold online bi-weekly concerts for senior homes using submissions from high school musicians.

“Music doesn’t have to unite people through physical contact,” says co-leader Anitra Krishnan ’22. “It’s through emotion and enjoying the effort that people put into providing these different kinds of music for each other. Especially at this time, it’s really beneficial.”

Keeping health at the forefront
If you’re a student, teacher or staff member at Peddie, you’ve been seeing a lot of emails in your inbox with subject lines like “Brain Dissection!” This is the work of Medicine at Peddie, and that exclamation point is 100% sincere! Devoted to exploring and discussing the latest in medical research, the Medicine at Peddie Club has been actively engaged through the summer months.

Originally the Peddie chapter of “Future Doctors of America,” the club changed its name when its leaders noted a lot of interest in their subject matter from students who didn’t plan to become doctors. “The medical field is so much broader than just physicians,” said former club leader Sayli Sonsurkar ’20, “and it can’t function without everyone. Many people don’t know exactly what they want to do in high school, so exposing people to a broader array of different medical fields is more helpful. It sparks interesting conversations.”

“This is also a principle we go by when looking for speakers,” added current co-leader Richard Zhu ’22. “We’ve had radiologists, surgeons and ER doctors.”

Together, the members of Medicine At Peddie have attended the Global Health and Innovation Conference (virtually, of course), observed a brain dissection by Adam DiVine of Rutgers’s Department of Kinesiology and Health and enjoyed a talk by neuroradiologist and professor Dr. Kavin Mistry P'22 about strokes and radiology.

“Everyone’s isolated at home,” said Emily Mu ’22, also a co-leader. “Right now, it’s even more important that people have the opportunity to engage with professionals online and see what they’re interested in.”

Working in the lab from home
The Peddie Science Journal Club, formed at the end of May and designed to continue through the summer, is also seeking to fill that gap. Co-leader Nikita Dahiya ’21 pointed out, “A lot of students were going to spend time at labs this summer, but they haven’t had that opportunity. This was just another way for us to show students various forms of research that they could engage with and understand how they’re related to what we’re learning in the classroom.”

The club’s structure allows for both independent learning and group discussion. Students break off into interest groups for different branches of science, read and discuss scientific articles and present them to the larger group. “We also bring in researchers to talk about their research,” said co-leader Sanya Kumar ’21. “They allow students to better understand primary literature and research in general.”

Since May, the club has seen an impressive roster of guest speakers, including Peddie alumni Joe Yuan ’17, Victor Fu ’13 and Megan Gabruk ’17. Peddie Science Journal Club isn’t just a place for current students — for some members, it’s their first glimpse of life at Peddie. Co-leader Priyanka Nanayakkara ’22 said, “We have a lot of freshmen members and a lot of new students who are just coming into Peddie. This is a great way for them to be engaged in the Peddie science community specifically, but also just to get to know other Peddie kids.”

Building connections
While these clubs were founded with vastly different areas of interest in mind, they ultimately share a common goal. In a time when all of us are apart, Peddie students want to stick together.

“Having clubs and events during this time makes people still feel connected to the Peddie community, and not just during classes online,” said Sonsurkar.