- Santa Clara Unified School District
Students Teaching Students
Ankith Maremanda is a senior at Santa Clara High School who has been as busy outside of school as he has in school. In 2016, at only 15 years old, he started an organization called Human Anatomy for Youth (HAY) and has been working on his own curriculum to help younger students grasp the many different facets of the human anatomy.
HAY is designed to teach the younger generation about human anatomy, starting with the skeletal system and progressing into other areas such as the digestive, respiratory, and pulmonary systems through interactive lessons. Check out our interview with Maremanda below:
When did you first realize that you had an interest in human anatomy?
When I was in third grade, I made a model of the digestive system using different kinds of beans. I think this was my first exposure to the anatomical sciences that set me on my interest
What do you think triggered that interest?
I think the complexity of each anatomical system is what triggered my interest. There are so many new things being discovered about the human body, and that continues to motivate me to learn more about anatomy in the hopes that I can make my own mark on the field.
What prompted you to start working on a curriculum to teach younger students?
While driving through many areas of the South Bay, I noticed discrepancies between many neighborhoods with regards to teaching materials and styles. I created a human anatomy curriculum to "level out the playing field" in a sense, so underprivileged students would have the opportunity to learn science.
Do you only work with underprivileged schools or anyone who is interested in the program?
While HAY originally started as a program for underprivileged children, we have started to expand to schools that are more affluent, such as Laurelwood Elementary and Evergreen Elementary (both located in Evergreen Elementary School District).
How do you implement the curriculum (in person or online) and what schools are you currently working with?
Me and my branch presidents always implement the curriculum personally, though we use a lot of online materials to supplement student growth. HAY is currently stationed at three schools, Laurelwood Elementary (Evergreen Elementary School District), ACE Charter School (San Jose Unified School District), and Cesar Chavez Academy (Ravenswood City School District).
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I will probably be working towards a PhD in microbiology or acting as a resident doctor in some hospital.
Maremanda recently hosted a fundraising concert with Indian music, including drums, violin, and songs combining two of his favorite interests, Indian classical arts and volunteering. The event raised $3,000 for Cesar Chavez Academy in Palo Alto and ACE Esperanza Middle School in San Jose. “Through the fundraiser, I was able to get a better understanding of the music I play, all while supporting a cause that is close to my heart,” he said.
“The human body is a miraculous thing,” said Maremanda. “It is like a well-oiled machine that responds to the stimuli around it. Therefore, it is only natural that kids learn about the body. In a way, they are learning about themselves to the deepest extent possible.”
Unrelated to his teaching curriculum, Maremanda is working with a scientist at UC Davies, Dr. William Jewell, and a Dr. Eric Espinosa, formally from Stanford, researching the possibility of antimicrobial enzymes in ginger. According to Maremanda, the research he has done is promising, “I have managed to identify two enzymes that inhibit bacterial growth.”
Maremanda hopes to bring the HAY curriculum to Santa Clara Unified schools soon so if you would like more information, check out the HAY website at www.humananatomyforyouth.org.