Finding Diversity in STEM
By James Hung
Anusha Fathepure, a rising high school senior from Stillwater, Oklahoma, is passionate about humanities, diversity in underrepresented industries and facilitating racial change.
Fathepure is a first-generation American who identifies herself both culturally with her U.S. residence and also with her Indian heritage.
“My dual experience as both a first-generation American and also as an Asian-American has been unique and makes me view the past year in a fun light,” Fathepure said and laughed.
A dedicated student, Fathepure views politics with the same determination and passion that she views the rest of her interests.
“Since I live in Oklahoma, there have always been challenges identifying with a group of people that don’t share the same worldview or same traits as me,” Fathepure said. “My political opinions and desire for more opportunities for minorities stem directly from my experience and how politics directly affects my life.”
Fathepure’s enjoyment of having important political conversations stems from her desire to understand other people’s perspectives, but also to share her own perspective on political issues.
“With the past year’s events such as the pandemic, the killing of George Floyd, and more, I felt like this year I was finally the most vocal about change and racial equity,” Fathepure said. “Last year was a time to use my voice to make a change.”
Fathepure’s interest in sparking discussion and pursuing topics led her to explore STEM-related subjects at high school.
Fathepure attends the Oklahoma School of Science and Math, a high school that allows her to be surrounded by a diverse group of like-minded students of different backgrounds.
“Given how most of my experience with diversity in Oklahoma consisted solely of white students and peers of my age, going to my high school was a refreshing change of pace to see so many diverse students,” Fathepure said.
The school provides additional educational opportunities, including extra STEM related camps, classes and clubs led by students and faculty members. However, Fathepure also has a huge passion for humanities and journalism in general.
“While going to high school with STEM dominated careers opportunities and classes is challenging, I still enjoyed the rare opportunities that I got to explore humanities, such as the opportunity to apply to this program,” Fathepure stated about her school.
Fathepure has become more outspoken and proud of her cultural identity after the events of 2020 and has started conversations with her peers and her fellow students about certain subjects she felt were important.
“In the past year, I began to be more vocal and more aware of the racial issues and political issues that are in our nation,” Fathepure said. “My racial identity and also being a first-generation immigrant, along with my education and views, have always made me politically aware, however.”
The Chuck Stone Program attracted Fathepure because of both its benefits to her interests in humanities and journalism but also the ability to meet teenagers who share her interest in journalism and media.
“It is fun to have so many successful students and speakers in this program,” Fathepure said. ”I have learned so many skills and tips that I plan to use in my future.”