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Shreyas Raj

Story

The anticipated day had come. I was finally attending my first summer camp as part of the Boy Scouts of America organization. Since I was a naive eleven-year-old at the time, my parents were very nervous. How could I blame them? I would need to completely take care of myself and be independent for a whole week. However, I was not prepared for the endless enjoyment that lay ahead …

Summer camps are the best part of Scouting. One week of extreme fun and learning, with all of your friends. The scouts complete numerous merit badges while enjoying various other team-bonding

events during the camp. The Environmental Science Merit Badge was my favorite. I relished learning about conserving humanity's most precious resource, our own planet! I was able to conduct ecological experiments, while also performing research on pollution and invasive species. By creating an environmental impact statement, I understood the importance of conservation and reducing our carbon footprint.

In addition to merit badges, Boy Scouts surprisingly holds cooking competitions. As a Patrol (group) Leader, I built a cooking powerhouse. Each member was the wheel that kept our victory train moving toward the destination, and I was the coal that generated the movement and inspiration. From elegant pizza casserole to chocolatey s'mores pie, I strived to create meals of our own and break free from the notion of following recipes. These contests fueled my enthusiasm about cooking which I later harnessed in my kitchen to create gourmet dishes.

Having discovered my interests through the experiences I had as a Boy Scout, fueling StemChef’s mission was an easy choice. I dived deep into both of my interests in science and cooking. By helping create STEM escape rooms, I learned to view STEM in a new, exciting way that inspired young children. Due to the variety of projects that I have been working on, I have been exposed to fields outside of my comfort zone. I want to thank Ashie for all the guidance she provided and I hope StemChef becomes a household name in the near future!