By Katie Meredith, Assistant to Institutional Advancement

In the EPS community and beyond, students in both Middle School and Upper School are actively creating a better world. Outside of class, they have been inspired to solve problems, provide new opportunities, help others, and work together to apply what they learn at EPS in the real world. In their stories, we find that when personal experiences combine with an innovative education experience, the possibilities for the future are endless.


Nicaia is a lifelong athlete, who has been playing sports for as long as she can remember. As a ninth grader, she came to EPS and joined the soccer team. She also plays for Issaquah (ISC) Gunners and Washington Premier League (WPL) Surf Academy. She says, “To have a successful team, you need to have a successful culture. On the Surf Team, even though we don’t play together regularly, our skills come together seamlessly. I think that reveals the beauty of soccer as a sport.” Last year, Nicaia was selected to be part of a student pilot program with the Washington Soccer Youth Advisory Committee. The committee is designed to achieve goals that promote accessibility and equity for all players, provide a diversity of perspectives, and create a positive soccer community across the state. For their final project of the year, the student committee decided to focus on their diversity, inclusion, and accessibility goal. Nicaia designed and ran a soccer gear drive, collecting gear for the Let Her Play and the Soccer for Success nonprofit organizations. In just one week, Nicaia had collected a significant amount of gear. “I was just blown away by the kindness of the EPS community,” she reflects. “It was great to see different people at EPS come together to help others. The culture at EPS recognizes our privilege that we have access to the things we need and that we can give things away to serve a greater purpose.”


When he was younger, Jonathan remembers exploring his grandfather’s manufacturing shop in China. “When I was a kid, my grandpa was my role model. He would teach me things in his shop and that’s what first got me interested in STEM and robotics.” A few years later, as a high school student, Jonathan got the idea to start a nonprofit that would help students with limited access to STEM tools be inspired to try robotics. Working together with friends Arnav, Grant, William, and Stan, the concept of Robokits quickly became a reality. The Robokits team has a vision for three different kits, the first of which has been prototyped and tested. The first kit includes everything you need to create a simple robot car: chassis, motors, wheels, and a battery pack. The kit also has a guide to the circuits, powering motors, and some basic code. The design of the kit introduces students to basic engineering concepts and simple coding mechanics, then encourages them to experiment with writing their own code.

The target demographic for Robokits is robotics programs at under-resourced schools that may not be able to provide robotics for their students. Jonathan’s vision is to fundraise to cover production costs and provide kits to schools for free. As a new nonprofit, the Robokits team is working to gain partners and raise awareness of their mission. As a student who attended an under-resourced elementary school, William is excited to provide kids with an opportunity that he never had. “I went to a school that didn’t have anything like STEM or robotics. I can only imagine how much better I would be at robotics now if I had access to those tools when I was younger. I love doing this work because it’s something I want to pursue later in my career.” Arnav is excited to see the real-world impact of Robokits in schools and communities, and Jonathan hopes to make a significant impact, even if it’s a small one. He says, “My hope is to teach and inspire kids to try robotics, like my grandfather did for me. Even if Robokits inspires just one kid to try STEM, for me that will be worth it.”

You can learn more about Robokits by visiting


In 2020, during the mandatory COVID -19 lockdowns, EPS students Sanjana, Annika, and Emmy started discussing climate change over Teams. They would see there was a problem….what were they going to do about it?

Inspired by Dr. Russell’s Environmental Science class they took together in eighth grade, the students took a deeper dive into the issue of climate change and environmentalism. That year, Annika and Emmy created an award-winning video on climate change, which inspired the group to keep doing research and spinning off new ideas. Founder Sanjana reflects, “During COVID, we had a few ideas for a nonprofit and started by creating a website. It took a while to find our purpose, but now we’ve  refined it and are hoping to grow.” Working together, Annika, Emmy, and Sanjana founded EcoLearners, a youth lead 501(c)(3)  nonprofit organization. Their mission is dedicated to tackling climate change by empowering students throughout the world to learn, rebuild, and protect ecosystems. EcoLearners has chapters of youth leaders throughout the U.S. and all over the world who start their own projects and have access to resources through the organization. Current restoration projects include trash collection, removal of invasive plant species, planting native plant species, and more. By the end of 2023, they hope to install fog collectors in humid areas, which can provide clean water without damaging ecosystems.

In 2021, EcoLearners was recognized by the United Nations (UN) for their efforts to combat climate change. This recognition is part of the UN’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, an initiative set for 2021-2030. “We want to get as many people as we can to join the climate movement,” Sanjana says. “We feel that everybody can give a little time and take small actions that will make a difference.” In the future, the EcoLearners team is hoping to fundraise, gain corporate partners, raise awareness, and engage youth in restoring ecosystems. You can learn more about EcoLearners by visiting


Reflecting on the tragedy of 9/11, EPS student Lauren started thinking of what she could do as an act of remembrance. “I wanted to do an act of kindness for every person who lost their life that day,” she recalls. “I wrote a proposal and took it to Mr. Uzwack and he loved the idea. We talked more about it and decided it would make a great club.” Joined byfellow Middle School students Whitley, Mia, Sammy, and Ellie, the Kindness Club began to take shape. By serving others in the EPS community and beyond, the goal of Kindness Club is simple: to value, share, and show kindness to others. The Kindness Club, which started small, has grown to approximately thirty students attending each week. “When we are kind to others, we are also kind to ourselves. I’ve also made amazing friends and connections through this club,” says Whitley.

Memorable kindness projects include the diaper drive for Mary’s Place, a nonprofit serving women and children, as well as collecting gifts for Friends of Youth through the giving tree project. “We chose to work with
Friends of Youth because they serve people our age and we can relate to them. It was amazing to see how quickly the tags got taken
off the tree in TALI,” says Lauren. This past spring, Kindness Club planted blue and yellow flowers outside the LPC to support Ukraine in the war with Russia. In the future, Lauren and Whitley hope to keep finding creative ways to serve others and show kindness, possibly by joining efforts with the Upper School. “I hope Kindness Club is something that will last at EPS, even after we graduate. It helped me gain confidence and feel like people will listen to me. I feel like I’ve done something to make the world a better place.”


In the Middle School Maker Space, students have access to creative tools that allow them to create anything they can imagine. The space includes modern design tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and more. Students get creative with fibers and physical materials, yarn, knitting, crocheting, beads, and fabric. Taylor and Chloe are regulars in the Maker Space, spending time there during their free period. Taylor is a whiz with the 3D printer and described her process: “First, I save my file and send it to the slicer, where I can edit my design on the computer. I save the final version to a flash drive and take it over to the 3D printer.” Smaller designs, like Taylor’s Christmas tree, will take about two hours to complete on the 3D printer. While the 3D printer is her favorite tool in the Maker Space, she also enjoys making vinyl stickers with the laser cutter for her laptop. She says, “My favorite thing about the Maker Space is making my own things and being creative.”


Inspired by her father, Eda has been interested in robotics and coding since she was very young. When she started at EPS in fifth grade, she was attracted to FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and loved being part of the team. In robotics, “Casual Team”15203, Eda has had a variety of roles, including building, driving, and coding. One element of the robotics competition is creating an engineering notebook with details about the robot and all of its functions. Eda designed the notebook for her team and was commended for her work by the competition judges. The thing that Eda appreciates most about robotics, beyond coding and problem solving, is the team culture. “We are all really supportive of one another. We make sure everyone is the best they can be; no one sits on the side doing nothing,” she says. In robotics competitions, there is a collaborative section where EPS teams partner with a team from another school. Eda values the opportunity to work with teams from other schools and learn from upper school students. Within EPS robotics and FLL, Eda described a unique opportunity students have to support and inspire Middle School students. “There’s a new thing we’ve started doing in robotics called outreach. We help younger students in the Middle School and support them with FLL. Within EPS, we’re helping the robotics community connect.”