ESP Biography

ZARA POON, Mental Health Advocate/Northeastern Student

Major: Neuroscience

College/Employer: Student at Northeastern University

Year of Graduation: 2026

Picture of Zara Poon

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Hi! 你好! Salut! Hola! こんにちは! Ciao! Halo! привет! ਸਤ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ! olá! + more!

My name is Zara :) I am a 3rd year student at Northeastern University studying Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in design engineering. This is my third time teaching for MIT ESP, and SPLASH is one of my most favorite days of the year! I am so excited to meet all of you. After all, my favorite part of teaching is getting to learn from you - the students! I can't wait to see what interesting ideas and creative solutions you come up with!

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

S15814: Dark Truth behind Body Mass Index (BMI) in Splash 2023 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2023)
Widely known as BMI, the body mass index is nationally considered an accurate measure of health. BUT THIS IS CONTROVERSIAL. There are several problems with BMI, including its dark origin, covert oppression, and foundation on racism and sexism. In this class, we will discuss 1) your existing knowledge of BMI and uncover the discrete ways it affects the way you act and live, 2) symbolism between small bodies and small voices, and, 3) formulate an educated opinion on BMI and consider next steps to deal with an oppressive system. My goal is to create a safe space for you to relate and make deep connections with each other as we discuss the injustices of BMI. **note** this class does NOT promote, teach, nor mention weight or numbers associated with BMI to avoid triggering content. Rather, it focuses on the societal effects and implications of BMI.

X15562: REMODEL Middle School Health Class in Spark 2023 (Mar. 18 - 19, 2023)
I hate middle school health class. It's important don't get me wrong, but because it is so important I believe it is necessary we get the information right. A particularly controversial topic I want to focus on is nutrition and exercise education in school. In my experience, lessons can be inaccurate and even promote disordered habits. It doesn't have to be this way! In this class, I want to explain how health is NOT a one-size-fits-all policy. It is NOT a rule book, nor a standard that determines your self-worth. We will discuss your thoughts on outdated health assignments like calorie tracking and whether your experience in health class so far is a positive or negative one. Most importantly, we'll brainstorm some ideas to improve middle school health class to make it a safer, more inclusive space for everyone!

H15186: The Gangsters of Chinatown: Sister Ping on Trial in Splash 2022 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2022)
In this course, we will learn about human smuggling, gangsters in Chinatown, and the controversial woman behind it all: Sister Ping: Hero. Criminal. We will explore events like the arrival of the Golden Venture and investigate passages from Patrick Keefe's book "The Snakehead." Get excited to participate in a discussion based game where YOU get to decide whether Sister Ping is innocent. My hope is to spark curiosity and acceptance of students' own cultures and backgrounds. So come join me, and maybe even learn a few words in Fuzhounese! I look forward to learning with you!