Traversing Through the Stars with Vahini Patel

Traversing Through the Stars with Vahini Patel

While many people note that the advancement in space exploration, technology, and weaponry spurred during the ’50s and ’60s, it’s safe to say that the idea of space and the innate desire to solve its majestic mystery has occurred long before the Cold War, JFK, and Neil Armstrong. We can date the earliest of space theories, such as the heliocentric theory, all the way back to the era of Nicolaus Copernicus, who went against the common belief that the Earth was in the center of the universe. But, what is most important to note is that even after all this time, we have the current youth of today’s day and age to continue the legacy that was precedented by the founding fathers and mothers of the science community. In fact, we have plenty of clubs at our own school that are built on the youth of today’s fascination with space. One such club is the Students for Exploration and Development of Space, also known as SEDS, and the name of the club speaks for itself. Recently, one of ACP High School’s seniors, Vahini Patel, participated in the 29th Annual International Space Settlement Design Competition, which was held at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As stated in the Knightly Update, she earned this opportunity after crowning champion in the 2022 Western Space Design Competition Champion held at the Biosphere 2 in Tucson. For more information about this event, you can click here.

Vahini’s passion for space started after watching Titan AE, starring Matt Damon, and getting into an existential crisis at the age of nine, as she funnily recalls. Her passion truly took off after watching Star Trek, as well as having a father who nurtured this passion, as “he is a big science-fiction fan”, Vahini notes. “On grill nights, we’d sit on the couch at night and watch Star Trek and other sci-fi shows and movies until 2:00 A.M., when the meat would finally finish cooking”, she recounts. Vahini has aspirations for pursuing a career in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), specifically being an aerospace engineer.

However, her alternative is pursuing a job in the medical field, “just like every other Indian”, she humorously remarks. “Aerospace engineer…my reason for seeking that career is definitely because of space. As William Shatner’s infamous character, Kirk, once said, ‘to go where no man has gone before.’ Space is unexplored. It’s infinite. And I want to see what else lies both inside of our solar system and outside of it”, she knowledgably quotes. Vahini also encourages other students to pursue in S.T.E.M. “Not all STEM majors require math (well, except for math). Becoming something like a doctor, chemist, or chiropractor are all in the STEM field but probably don’t require that much math. Although college may be a bit challenging, I assure you that it’ll be worth it!”

When Vahini is not busy with school, she likes to write and play League of Legends and Osu. Other clubs that Vahini is involved in are Research Club, Model UN, Political Review, Science Club, Digital art and Animation club, and “an honorary member of Chess Club.” “I think this year I might join Gaming Club so I can play League of Legends on Tuesday’s instead of doing Multivariable Calculus homework”, she comments. When asked about her favorite genre of music, and what her favorite song in said genre is, Vahini expresses that she loves alternative rock, since she grew up on Pink Floyd. “My favorite music from the genre is probably House of Wolves by My Chemical Romance.”

Hopefully, with our ever-growing school, there will be even more students who are willingly to continue the soon-departing seniors’ passion for the continuing development of science. There is always room for growth and interest for such knowledge in our halls, so don’t be afraid to stop by a club booth and join a club as soon as possible! In any case, Knights, I hope you are truly inspired by Vahini’s passion and drive, and hopefully this can help you understand that our dreams are never unattainable! Remember to strive for the impossible, and be extraordinary!