Profile: Pioneer’s Ayush Deb is a study in giving to others


Ayush Deb is a sterling National Honor Society student who one day wants to work in the field of biomedical engineering, but this Pioneer High School junior does a lot more than bury his nose in the books.

Sure, to get the kind of grades he achieves takes plenty of work, but Ayush says it is important not only to study to make himself better, but to make sure he works hard to make it better for those around him. In other words, when he’s not studying, he’s helping others.

For starters, there’s the work he does at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, and the volunteer assignments he fulfills helping to feed the homeless for Food Gatherers.

“I’m more fortunate than a lot of people, I know that, and it’s important to give to people who need help,” said the 16-year-old Ayush, whose father, Aniruddha Deb, is a chemistry professor at the University of Michigan and whose mother, Artita Guha, is a special education teacher at Forsythe Middle School. “It’s a passion of mine, and it has been for a long time.

“I really enjoy the work I do with young kids and those who are less fortunate. I really get a lot out of it, and I hope they get something from it, too.”

Ayush does much volunteer work throughout the community, and he also does more than his fair share in the Ann Arbor Public Schools district, itself. Within the district, he is a Pioneer Student Mentor; a youth leader and a student teacher in the Ann Arbor Math Olympiad Cooperative; and a coach in the Science Olympiad at Lawton Elementary School.

“I really like working in the student mentor program because I know I’m helping the kids out,” Ayush said. “We help students in different subjects and how to make a transition from middle school to high school.”

The work Ayush does as a student mentor takes place in various schools during school hours, but he said he doesn’t affect his studies.

“No, it’s not a problem,” he said. “I just catch up with the missed classes later in the week.”

Ayush has still more volunteer activities to keep him busy. He’s worked helping out at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, the Community Education and Recreation center, First Lego League Robotic and STEM For Fun.

He does spend a lot of time giving to others, but he does have a couple of indulgences.

“I really love tennis,” said Ayush, who has been a member of the Pioneer tennis team since he was a freshman. “I love being on the team, and I just love playing tennis, period. I like the action, the competition. It’s a great sport.”

He also enjoys drawing and painting, and he hones his craft at the Ann Arbor Art Corner Studio, a professional art studio on Plymouth Road. Art offers a way for him to spend his spare time peacefully when he’s not studying, volunteering, or hanging out with his brother, Ashmit, or his pet Labradoodle, Alex.

Ayush does so much more than study, but he puts a lot of time in with the books, as well.  He is in an internship program in the Chemical Engineering Department at U-M, working in the lab with a large group of graduate students in the field of energy storage with things like lithium batteries, fuel cells and supercapacitators. He also has done a U-M internship at the Institute of Social Research Center of Political Science where he did analysis on the election data of the United Kingdom and Bangladesh.

“It’s really amazing doing the internships,” said the three-year Pioneer Student Council member. “Working with older students and learning such advanced things. It’s really amazing.”

Speaking of advanced, Ayush has taken seven Advanced Placement courses at Pioneer, and anticipates a total of 11 by the time he graduates.

As you can see, this is no ordinary young man. So how does a student so passionate about helping other people, and who also who is interested in biomedical engineering tie the two together.

“I’m really into the future of prosthetics and what we can do with them to make people’s lives better,” he said. “I really think the sky is the limit. Why not a prosthetic heart, a prosthetic brain?”

Sound unrealistic? Perhaps. But, spend a little time talking to Ayush Deb, and you might just believe anything is possible.



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