Get to know our 32nd class of Coca-Cola Scholars - 150 incredible young people who are creating positive change in their communities and around the world.
Each Scholar is being awarded a $20,000 college scholarship and joins an alumni family of over 6,300 visionary leaders who are refreshing the world together.
meet our 2020 coca-cola scholars
As President of Amnesty International, Secretary of Habitat for Humanity, and Historian of National Honor Society, Feross Al-Hindi raises thousands of dollars for those in need in his community and raises awareness for basic human rights. He goes to Amman, Jordan, every summer to visit family, and spends his time volunteering for The United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other organizations. In order to break down stereotypes that affect minorities in his community, Feross coordinated his high school’s first multicultural event, which now occurs annually. He plans to major in psychology and become a doctor to expand his passion for service. He spends his free time playing with his cat, running, and hanging out with friends.
Davia Allen designs award-winning research mitigating hunger and disease and advocates for STEM programs in Title I schools. Davia has mentored over 100 science fair competitors and has completed summer research in the Governor's Honors Program. A 14-year piano student, Davia plays for her church and the Community Handbell Choir. She is the Distinguished Young Woman of Georgia, First Honoree, a talent and fitness award winner. A 4-year athlete in tennis, cheer, and cross country, Davia is Student Body President, Yearbook Editor, and a champion speller. She tackles community challenges such as hurricane recovery and cares for a home-bound grandmother. As a University of Georgia Honors student, Davia will study nutrition and biology.
El Monte, CA
Santiago Alvillar's relentless drive to better his community becomes apparent through his constant community service involvement. As president of a local environmental club, he helped advocate for utensil alternative usage, installed water refill stations, provided all students with a free reusable water bottle, and cultivated a garden wall full of native species. Additionally, he hosts college-access workshops and mentorship in his high school through The Freshman Mentoring Program acting as Program Director. Being a first generation student and American, Santiago has the privilege to be admitted to MIT, Stanford, and Harvard and although he has a tough choice to make he is sure in wanting to obtain an environmental engineering degree.
Tarun Amasa is the Founder of Improvise, a mobile app that analyzes empathic teaching using voice extraction and artificial intelligence. Passionate about educational equity, Tarun was invited to work with Boulder’s school district to reform curriculum, hiring, and structural processes—impacting 30,000 students. Tarun serves as Colorado’s delegate for the US Senate Youth Program, and his passion for civic engagement began in middle school, where he worked with Colorado’s Department of Public Health to launch its first youth-led anti-substance campaign. In 2018, Governor Hickenlooper appointed Tarun to a state board, where he works with senators and nonprofit directors with an allocated 11 million dollar budget used towards social causes.
Van Nuys, CA
Parth Amin is the Founder and President of Pre-Med Ed, which is now a 501(c)3 nonprofit that has raised over $15,000 to build clean water taps throughout 60 rural, water scarce Indian villages. Parth also started Languages for All, a club that teaches underprivileged students various languages in hopes to overcome the communication barrier. In addition to volunteering at local hospitals and his rehab center, Parth enjoys researching. At UCLA, Parth studied the effects of L-Dopa on the human brain. At Stanford, Parth worked alongside a dedicated research team to discover the correlation between thrombin levels and strokes. Parth hopes to further his interests within neuroscience, public health, and the outdoors this fall at Dartmouth.
Audrey Anderson’s curiosity about the natural world developed into a passion for STEM and conservation. Her research regarding resilin’s potential as a novel marker of honeybee health has earned her recognition as a Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar, and she plans to publish as first-author. To empower young, female scientists, Audrey is an IF/THEN Girls Advisory Council member, a middle school science mentor, has given speeches at local schools and non-profit organizations, and founded a Women in STEM program at her school. A nine year volunteer at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, Audrey has designed a conservation-focused curriculum for youth volunteers. She will attend the University of Nebraska to study Biological Systems Engineering.
Vijay Anne is captain of his high school's nationally-ranked quiz bowl team. An Eagle Scout, he led a community effort to preserve the life stories of a dozen area United States Armed Forces veterans by creating their oral histories. Vijay is a member of his school's student council, where he serves as delegate to the school board. He's studied thorny political issues such as gerrymandering, and has dabbled in legal journalism on the side. Vijay plans on attending Duke or the University of Pennsylvania, where he’ll major in biomedical or chemical engineering, and aspires to become an intellectual property attorney in the future. In his spare time, Vijay enjoys spending time with friends and family, and is learning how to play the bugle.
Lindsey Arruda is the Co-Creator of the now iconic Boston Strong wristbands that quickly became a symbol of hope and healing after the Boston Marathon Bombings. In just 2 months over $11,000 was raised for the victims. In hopes of helping just a few more people, she CoFounded the We Stand Strong Foundation with her brother, providing immediate assistance to those suffering from tragedies and disasters. To date they’ve raised over $50, 645, distributed over $298,700 in eyeglasses and donated over $7,000 in books. Their global impact spans across 5 continents. Locally they created an annual Town-Wide Day of Service as a way to galvanize their community. Lindsey plans on double majoring in Biology and Music and aspires to becoming a doctor.
Mariana Avendano Herrera
New Orleans, LA
Mariana Avendano Herrera is the Co-Founder of Krewe of STEM, a summer camp that promotes female participation in STEM fields, particularly Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and mechanics, in New Orleans. A 3rd-year member of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Mariana fights against microaggressions and prejudice. She is considering attending George Washington University, or USC for college, and wants to double major in Engineering and management. She spends her free time coding, playing basketball, tutoring kids in Spanish, and working on her microplastics-collecting aquatic drone.
Canal Winchester, OH
Mamoudou Bah is the Founder and President of his organization, MGB Youth. MGB Youth’s goal is to provide the go-to platform for the youth to leverage and expand their talents, interests, and more while generating greater success and positive impacts across the world. They are currently executing two initiatives regarding gun violence and youth empowerment. Mamoudou is also the founder and CEO of his business Future Ballers of Columbus also known as FBOC. The goal of FBOC is to raise funds and boost school spirits for high school sports programs through their 3v3 basketball tournaments. Mamoudou is also a spoken word poet and film producer creating spoken word visuals to convey messages that address injustices and problems around the world.
Rye Brook, NY
Abe Baker-Butler, a senior at Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook, NY, is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Students Against Nicotine, a not-for-profit combatting teen e-cigarette use through education and advocacy. Abe is Advocacy Chair of J-Teen Leadership and the first-ever youth Vice President of his county’s Youth Advisory Board. Locally, he writes “Honestly Abe,” a column in the community newspaper, and he founded his school’s Political Action Club. A 2019 Bronfman Fellow, Abe is considering attending college at Yale, Princeton, or Harvard and is interested in studying public policy, history, and neuroscience. In his free time, he enjoys playing the saxophone, kayaking, hiking, traveling, and walking his favorite dog, Maxie.
Las Vegas, NV
Peyton Barsel founded a non-profit, ACE Aware, after writing and presenting a bill in the 2019 Nevada legislature requiring teachers be trained to identify and support students who’ve experienced trauma. Peyton subsequently researched and co-wrote a 30-minute trauma-informed training video with the Department of Education which all Nevada public school employees must watch annually. ACE Aware distributes the video nationally and raises awareness about the prevalence of childhood trauma. Peyton is a 6-time state tennis champion and has volunteered for 5 years as a counselor for children who’ve lost a parent or sibling. She intends on studying Education Policy to ensure that every child has the equal opportunity at education they deserve.
Cass City, MI
Addy Battel is co-founder of a nationally recognized hunger relief organization, Meating the Need for Our Village. Addy comes from six-generation farming families, she is active in FFA and 4-H including on the national and state levels. Addy sees youth empowerment as the key to affecting our world’s biggest challenges. She is especially passionate about getting food to people who need it through animal agriculture, as well as agriculture’s potential for climate action and carbon drawdown. Addy will attend Michigan State University beginning fall 2020 to pursue a degree in animal science or environmental studies.
New Castle, PA
Grace Beal is the founder and executive director of Layups for Lucy and leads the 60 students who organize the event. Layups for Lucy has contributed over $130,000 to the supportive/palliative care department at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, in memory of Grace’s younger sister Lucy who passed away from a congenital heart disease. At Neshannock High School, Grace is student government president, Rotary Interact president, a calculus tutor, yearbook photographer, a member of the basketball team, and a captain of the volleyball team. In her free time, she enjoys photography. She is attending the University of Michigan to major in Public Policy and hopes to later attend law school.
Christian Beck is a filmmaker with a passion for storytelling and a mission to improve the condition of, and empathy for, pediatric patients in his community. Through his award winning “Heart Throb” documentary series, Christian has collaborated with cancer patients to tell their stories through film. His most recent initiative, “VidsForKids”, was founded to inspire other teen filmmakers to tell patient’s stories. This was launched with, “The Power of Storytelling”, which has been shown at numerous international film festivals. Christian has been recognized with 5 NATAS Student Production Awards, 3 national nominations, and a Telly Award. He will be attending Dartmouth College where he intends to study film and pre-medicine.
Divjot Bedi has been driven to the fruits of research, placing at the 2019 International Science Fair, being rewarded a Toshiba ExploraVision Award, authoring research papers, and patenting a Parkinson’s device with the support of Johnson&Johnson. Besides helping the homeless at Central Union Mission and Bailey’s Crossroads, he is an advocate for SALDEF, raising over $5,000, encouraging political activism, and teaching Punjabi-speaking immigrants English. With a strong foundation in computer science, he has racked up accolades and empowered minorities through the HackGenius Hackathon. He plans to attend Columbia University and earn a CS-Economics dual degree. In his free time, Divjot performs Bhangra and volunteers for NeuroInspire.
Lewis Center, OH
Akhila Boda is the president of Metro Girl Up club, a UN Foundation campaign club that advocates for female empowerment and girls’ education in third-world countries. When Akhila was young, she noticed gender disparities in India, most notably, her grandmothers who were married at fourteen. This observation sparked her interest in global gender equality and STEM education. In the past four years, her club has raised $10,000, which has helped re-enroll 100 girls in Guatemala, India, and Liberia. Additionally, as an Ohio Student Ambassador of ThinkSTEAM, Akhila organizes STEAM workshops for K-12 girls. Akhila wants to pursue medicine in the future and knows that with the help of everyone, global gender equality is not a dream. It is a vision.
Evelyn Bodoni is the co-founder of Global Outreach FBLA, a non-profit organization which promotes business leadership education in developing nations. In addition to her strong academics, Evelyn serves as the Colorado FBLA Executive Vice President, is a published student-researcher and a nationally-ranked ballroom dancer. For her service to the community, Evelyn was honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the US Congressional Award Gold Medal. As business is her passion, she will attend the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business), where she is looking forward to concentrating in Finance and Multinational Management, with a minor in German.
Emma-Katherine Bowers is a Co-President of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council, through which she brings together youth and elected officials to address local issues. She also works to improve police relations as chair of the Police Chief’s Youth Advisory Board. Emma-Katherine serves year-round with the National League of Cities to design and host biannual conferences for hundreds of youth from across the country. Youth leave with skills and networks to better lead in their communities. At school, she leads an acapella group, sings in choir, and coordinates service for peers. She will attend the University of North Carolina as a Morehead-Cain Scholar and is interested in studying Public Policy, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Language.
Alex Burt is a social entrepreneur dedicated to helping the global community. As a founder of Allerfinder, Quid Pro Grow, LAPS Engine, and Spokescience, he has extensive experience successfully leading companies through the start-up process. Excited to share this knowledge with others, he leads his school's Econ/Finance and Entrepreneurship clubs, serves as an Econ peer tutor, and heads the Diamond Challenge Student Advisory Board. Moreover, an avid video-game creator, he has developed 250+ video games on Sploder.com, becoming the 5th most featured and 10th most viewed of over 3.2 million users on the site. He also serves as the site's Head Moderator, Reviewer, and Editor. Next year, he'll continue his journey at Brown University.
Walnut Creek, CA
Emma served as class president for her first three years of high school and is currently student body president. She is also a founder of Walnut Creek Charity League, an organization that has grown to over 250 members and serves 35 different philanthropies. Refereeing soccer is another one of Emma’s passions; she won “Youth Referee of the Year” four times and is on her way to officiating college and semi-professional games. With few women in this field, she has taken an active role in mentoring female referees. Emma interned for the last two summers at Penserra Securities and is looking forward to studying finance and economics in college. In her free time, she enjoys playing guitar, soccer, and tennis and following the stock market.
Fort Worth, TX
Hugo Ceja is the founder of the Connect Club, a school club that raises awareness about racism, and has done activities related to stereotypes, inappropriate racial slurs, and fundamental traits with elementary, middle, and high school students. He also is the founder of the Green Earth Club, another school club in which he raises awareness about climate changes, leads many clean-ups in the community, carries out fundraisers to help environmental causes such as Australian wildfire relief, and challenges local government for more environmentally-friendly ordinances. A lifelong enthusiast about STEM, Hugo has worked with a local Boys and Girls club to cultivate a STEM culture. He will attend UT Austin and major in Computer Science.
Highlands Ranch, CO
Jayendra (Jay) Chauhan has been a member of several research labs, most recently as an intern at Children’s Hospital Colorado. An avid coder, Jay created the website Extracurricular Connect to help students in his school district find and learn about extracurricular activities. He also serves as president of his school district’s Student Advisory Group, through which he has led efforts to increase mental health support in schools and expand opportunities for students to learn technology-related skills such as coding. In his free time, Jay practices karate as a black belt and teaches senior citizens how to use technology. He is currently planning on attending Stanford University and majoring in computer science.
Aisha Chebbi is the Co-Founder of “InterFaith Youth Miami”: a group focused on fostering positive interfaith relations among Miami’s youth. Aisha is the host of her own podcast called “The Hybrid” which explores how culture and identity influence American society. She is very involved in her school, where she serves as Senior Class President, President of Muslim Student Union, and as an officer in honor societies. In her local community, through her activism, she has spoken at numerous protests and community events for causes ranging from gun control to climate change. She is interested in studying Medical Anthropology and global health in the future. She spends her free time trying new foods, learning languages, and listening to music.
Evelyn Chen is the co-founder of EduSTEM Initiative, an international nonprofit empowering underrepresented youth with free STEM opportunities. EduSTEM has reached over 1,900 students through 20 youths led chapters from Thailand to New York. She also is a passionate anti-human trafficking advocate, dedicating her time to giving presentations to local schools, delivering keynote speeches at nonprofit fundraisers, writing articles, and more. Throughout high school, she led her debate team as Vice President, placed internationally in DECA, and performed in theatre productions. Next year, Evelyn plans to attend Harvard University and study Economics. In her free time, she loves listening to podcasts, thrifting, and watching local musicals.
Sanmati Choudhary, as an active member of her community, has led initiatives to promote “STEM for everyone.” Currently, she is the Founder and President of Coding Club with Scratch, an organization dedicated to exposing young students to Computer Science and STEM. She is also the President of the CT Chapter of coderGirls, which is an organization that bridges the gender gap in computing. As an Ambassador of Girl Scouts, Sanmati has completed both her Gold Award and Silver Award. She spends her free time designing applications for students with disabilities, playing tennis with her teammates, and playing the viola in her high school symphony. In the future, Sanmati intends to major in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.
Brooke Chow is the Founder of the Banana Nut Scholars, which has fundraised and donated 60,000 items of school supplies to teachers and underprivileged students. Over the last few years, she has met with national legislators to write educational policies and increase budget transparency. Brooke directs Community Music School’s Peer Mentorship which allows students to receive classical music training for $1 an hour. She is also a Student Representative on her school’s Equity Team, the Captain of the Ethics Bowl and Olympiad, and an intern at the Department of Commerce. In college, she plans to major in Public Policy and Education. Brooke spends her free time designing graphics for small businesses and following the political campaign trail.
Manhattan Beach, CA
Rachel Clinton is a cofounder of Music with Meaning, a nonprofit that gives free violin, viola, and cello lessons to students who do not have orchestra programs in their school districts. Music with Meaning has introduced music into the lives of nearly 30 kids and last year, Rachel received a donation from Richelieu Dennis to start a new chapter at an underfunded school in Inglewood, California. Rachel also loves playing violin in various orchestras, taking STEM classes at her local community college, and serving as president of the Math Club, National Honors Society, and orchestra program at her high school. In college, Rachel is considering attending Stanford, MIT, or Yale and wants to major in computer science and minor in music.
Ashton Cofer is an inventor with several patents pending, including a glove to reduce hand tremors, a device to detect drowsy driving, and a method to convert polystyrene foam waste into activated carbon for purifying water. He and his teammates won the 2016 Google Science Fair’s Scientific American Innovator Award for this latest invention that addresses the global problem of Styrofoam waste. Ashton also gave a widely-viewed TED talk about perseverance that was published by ATTN: which received over 49 million views. He continues to speak publicly about youth innovation and environmental sustainability in addition to teaching robotics to youth across central Ohio, and he plans to study engineering at Stanford University.
Kate Criner is the Founder of the teen mental health initiative Loqui, which works to build networks of support amongst teenagers who may be discouraged by traditional therapy routes. She is also an active volunteer for the Yeiser Art Center, The Empty Bowls Project, and Child Watch Counseling and Advocacy Center. Kate is the captain of the Speech, Mock Trial, Future Problem Solving, and Tennis teams. She has played the clarinet since sixth grade, and volunteers in a local church band. She is a student intern for the Paducah Human Rights Commission, and a sitting member of the Provider Enrichment Services Board. Kate plans on continuing Loqui as she double majors in Neuroscience and Psychology and the University of Louisville next year.
Clarks Summit, PA
Daniel Cummins is the Founder and President of his grassroots volunteering organization, the AHHS Tutoring Corps, and has provided hundreds of hours of free tutoring to local area students who do not have access to a traditional tutor. Dan also leads his school’s Mock Trial Team, Russian Club, and Interact Volunteer Club, and has volunteered weekly at a refugee ESL Class for four years. He is a Student Ambassador for PA State Senator Blake, one of 33 US students selected as an ACTR National Russian Scholar Laureate, and a candidate for the prestigious US Presidential Scholars Program. In Fall 2020, Dan will be attending Juniata College and double-majoring in Philosophy and International Business as a member of the school’s Mock Trial Team.
Akshana Dassanaike-Perera is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of his nonprofit, Steel City Codes, which has offered cost-free education in computer science to over 500 elementary and middle school students across Pennsylvania. He plans on studying computer science and economics in college with the hope of becoming a socially-impactful technology entrepreneur. Akshana also started The Longest Table, a community diversity celebration centered around food at the middle school and high school levels. Outside of school, he enjoys developing mobile apps and pursuing independent engineering projects. He spends his free time playing water polo, debating, and playing the double bass.
Aissa Dearing is the co-founder of the Durham Youth Climate Justice Initiative, which is an event series that works to specifically engage young people of color into the local climate justice movement. She currently works at the Durham County Department of Public Health as a qualitative researcher, where she facilitates focus groups to help improve her community for young people. Also, she is a Program Mentor at the East Durham Children's Initiative, where she works with fourth-grade students to teach the importance of socio-emotional health and the value of community service. She is considering attending Howard University and wants to double major in History and Environmental Science. She spends her free time practicing yoga.
Joseph Decilos graduated from the Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory but will now be attending George Washington University. He’s an AP Scholar, and in Speech and Debate is nationally ranked fifth. He enjoys staffing programs with the National Hispanic Institute and influencing the future of Latinx youth. He is a TFA, FBLA, OAP finalist. He is a Columbia University Speech finalist, UT Top-Speaker, and had out-rounds at the Harvard tournament. Because of his passion for performance he founded the first elementary speech team where he coached a novice prose champion. Since he has been contracted to be a theatre enrichment teacher and director of two full scale musicals. He plans to minor in theatre and major in communications at GW.
As a passionate advocate for the protection of human rights and child development, Emily Deng is the Founder and President of Mayo UNICEF. She has raised over $11,000 for UNICEF and currently serves as a UNICEF USA National Council member. She is also devoted to serving her community as co-chair of the Rochester-Olmsted Youth Commission, facilitator of the Commission’s Human Rights Committee, and secretary of her school’s student resource room committee. An avid pianist, Emily has won multiple regional and statewide competitions and works to increase access to chamber music in the community as secretary and marketing chair of Rochester Chamber Music Society. She is also a captain of the Mayo Debate Team and loves playing soccer.
Harrington Park, NJ
Aaron DeNicola is a seasoned volunteer with the Alzheimer's Association. Aaron serves as the Congressional Ambassador for New Jersey's fifth district, working closely with the office of Congressman Josh Gottheimer. Aaron also works with the Association's national office on an executive project to expand the organization's footprint among youth, especially those in diverse, rural or otherwise medically underserved populations. He is also active in his school as president of several clubs, Student Council President, and Student Representative to the Board of Education. As a result of Aaron's passion for the fight against Alzheimer's, he hopes to enter the field of public health to continue his work on a professional level.
Neil Deshmukh is the founder of PlantumAI LLC., an AI-app platform that combines novel algorithms and human expertise to provide farmers with comprehensive analyses, currently implemented in 23 Indian towns. He is also a co-founder and CTO of VocalEyesAI Inc., which develops technology to allow those with low vision to use their phones to navigate their environment, identify objects, read text, and more — currently, with more than 7,500 active users. Neil teaches technology and social entrepreneurship at local and international venues, while mentoring local students and organizations. He plans to attend MIT, majoring in CS and Management. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer and biking, especially with his friends and family.
Neha Devineni is a Coca-Cola Scholar, Prudential Spirit of Community State Honoree, President’s Gold Volunteer Award Recipient, and Intown 20 under 20 Honoree. She is the founder of ASA (Aspire, Serve, Achieve), a global organization, with over 100 ambassadors, where children serve as leaders to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children. At school she is the leader of an alliance promoting racial harmony, for which she formed bridge talks about culture and identity. Devineni is also captain of the debate team and an avid debater that read arguments supporting social justice within the education space. She aspires to become a doctor and spread hope through care. Underlying each of her passions is a desire to unite people.
Archika Dogra is an avid technologist and humanist from Seattle. She is the Co-Founder of The EduSTEM Initiative, a global educational equity project that has empowered 2,000+ minority youths in 7 countries with interdisciplinary STEM programming. She is the Founder of her school's Technology Student Association and President of TEDxYouth@Redmond, the largest youth-led conference in the PNW. Nurturing a deep interest in computer science, Archika has worked under Stanford, NASA, and the University of Washington, with projects recognized by The Mars Generation and U.S. Congress. She spends her free time playing softball, watching documentaries, and eating Thai food. In college, she hopes to study both computer science and gender studies.
Emma Doughty is a Deaf student from a suburban community. She is heavily involved in spreading awareness about disabilities by leading her American Sign Language Club at her high school and giving presentations about her own experiences to high schools and colleges. Emma also mentors other local Deaf students to help them through their challenges and is involved in advocating for those who are marginalized from society. She is an intern for a law firm in downtown Rochester, NY, that specializes in public assistance. Emma has committed to attend the University at Buffalo to study English in their 3+3 Bachelor of Arts/Jurist Doctor Program. In her free time, Emma enjoys reading, working out, and taking care of her succulents and cacti.
Amanda Dye, Founder of non-profit “Art in a Backpack” gives custom art supplies to homeless/food insecure children age 3-17, with over 600 children served to date. She also creates menus & cooks meals for homebound seniors as part of her 13 years of service to seniors. She’s a member of Live Blue Ambassador environmentalists, co-creator of an inclusive A Cappella Group, a 13-year member of the theatre (26 shows including student directing), and art world (including student teaching). She plans to combine passion for Environmental Science and the arts to raise awareness about coral bleaching, plastics pollution and global warming in college. Free time is spent singing, biking & teaching 9-year old sister Ava who has Down syndrome.
Taylor Fang is the 2019-20 National Student Poet of the West and the co-founder of Allgirlithm (allgirlithm.org), a global organization for girls in technology that has reached 50,000+ views. Her passions lie at the crossroads of the humanities and technology. She is founder and president of her school’s creative writing club and editor-in-chief of the literary magazine. Her writing has been published in the MIT Technology Review, the New York Times, and the Pulitzer Center. She also started Girls Explore Tech (GET), a 7-week series of afterschool workshops for middle school girls, and directed two GIRL CODE summer camps with Junior Achievement of Utah. Taylor spends her free time hiking outdoors, cooking, and playing tennis.
Anissa Ferris is the creator of Wellnexus® - a free smartphone app to connect people with the top resources for all aspects of their wellbeing and available in 194 countries. She co-authored the award-winning and amazon best-selling “20 Degrees from Normal” illustrated poem book. She helped build homes and translate for multiple trips to Juárez, Mexico. She initiated an annual Tampon-A-Thon drive, now in its’ 4th year with donations exceeding $16,000. In the summer she assisted Dr. Brown in researching the effects of hydration on Rhodopsin’s activation and signaling. She was selected for the All-State team in Varsity Volleyball and was named “Player of the Year” for Arizona by the CAA. She hopes to be a doctor and researcher someday.
Ananya Ganesh is the founder and CEO of her nonprofit, Girls Maker Initiative (GMI). Through GMI she motivates young girls to become creators and innovators by conducting maker workshops and organizing a National Maker Competition. Her passion for innovation has led her to develop solutions for bruxism, scoliosis, locked-in-syndrome, and post hip arthroplasties. As the youth council chair for the International Children's Advisory Network, she advocates for pediatric voices in research, in clinical trials, and in device development. She hopes to work at the nexus of healthcare and innovation to improve healthcare optimization. She spends her free time fishing on the lake and woodworking.
Palm Harbor, FL
Kiran Ganga is the Co-Founder of her nonprofit, Emkidz, Inc., and has raised over $25,000 for global youth programs by hosting intercultural dance programs. Some of her projects include supplying resources for local foster care systems, setting up computer labs in an Indian orphanage, assembling care packages for those affected by Hurricane Maria, and more. Kiran is currently employed and researching the association between the HPV vaccinations and squamous cell carcinoma. She is an avid Lincoln-Douglas debater and participates in Optimist Oratorical contests. She will be attending Cornell University and majoring in Health Care Policy. Kiran also enjoys playing tennis, dancing, and volunteering at her local Veterans Affairs Hospital.
Farmington Hills, MI
Jessica Goldberg started Sib4Sib, a support network for individuals who have a sibling who struggles with mental health or are neurodiverse after noticing the lack of resources for this population. She served as the executive director of the 501c3 nonprofit, and raised more than $100,000. Jessica will attend the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan to get a degree in business with a concentration in social impact. Having passed the executive director position of Sib4Sib to a professional, she will remain involved on the board of directors. In addition to Sib4Sib, Jessica holds leadership positions in Teen Volunteer Corps, The Jewish Fund Teen Board and Youth United Camp. In her free time, Jessica enjoys cooking and reading.
Shivani Gollapudi is the Co-founder of Let Her Learn, an organization seeking to bridge the gender gap by targeting the problem at its roots: education. She organizes local STEM workshops, fundraises for education in underserved areas, and advocates for better access to menstrual hygiene products. As a director of Zero Hour Dallas, she hosts events to act for climate justice. She has also played an active role in community awareness efforts for various health issues. Shivani is a Young Member of the New York Academy of Sciences and loves scientific research, both virtually and in the lab. In college, Shivani hopes to study biochemistry and policy and pursue medicine. In her free time, she enjoys visual arts, reading, and debating.
Drake Goodman is the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Recycle for Africa, which works to improve the education in schools in Tanzania and Kenya. He is also the founder of the SF Bay Area Chapter of Junior Dec My Room, which decorates pediatric hospital rooms. He has been a 3-term Class President and is his school's nationally renowned newspaper's Editor-in-Chief, Mock Trial President, and Varsity baseball team captain. He has interned for his state representative's office and governor's campaign and has also received entrepreneurship awards for his business initiative, NOVA. He will be attending the University of Pennsylvania next year in the Huntsman Program, receiving a dual-degree in business from Wharton and international studies.
Cathryn Gray is a US Paralympic High School All American, world-ranked track and field athlete and national inclusion advocate for underserved girls and people with disabilities. She was selected to compete for the USA team in Thailand 2020 before Covid-19. Cathryn’s athletic accomplishments provide a social impact platform for advocacy through national nonprofit organizations. She founded her own organization, Service Paws USA, utilizing therapy dogs in K-12 settings. Cathryn is a leader in her school including Chorus president, Track and Field co-captain and Senior Student Council. Cathryn committed to the University of Michigan as their first female adaptive track and field athlete planning to double major in Anthropology and Classics.
Discovering that 90% of cyberattacks were due to human error, Kyla founded Bits N’ Bytes Cybersecurity Education, a 501(c)(3) that distributes curriculum to 500+ schools, and partners with corporations like Facebook and IBM to increase training in online safety/security. Kyla has championed these messages across stages like TEDxChicago and RSAC Singapore, oftentimes being the only woman speaking. Thus, Kyla also became the Co-Founder of GirlCon, Chicago’s premiere student-run conference that unites 300+ students & professionals annually to bridge tech’s gender gap. Fusing CS and Business, Kyla leads Deerfield’s DECA Chapter and co-leads the Girls Coding Club. In her free time, Kyla plays golf, writes poetry, and volunteers as a tutor.
Beyonce Hammond used her own money to gather supplies and donations to send over 100 care packages to her family’s hometown in Ghana. She then collaborated with her church to create a missionary trip that addresses poverty, race relations, and religion disparity. Beyonce has served as President of FCCLA for four years as well as her Districts VP. She is also VP of NHS, an active member of Youth Leadership Oklahoma, and Superintendents Leadership Academy. She is considering attending Spelman College, UCO, or OU, for college, and wants to major in interdisciplinary studies (political science, economics, and sociology) on a pre-law track. After attending college Beyonce hopes to practice law and run for elected office.
Kristian Hardy is passionate about creating meaningful artistic work, giving back to her community, and using her platform to inspire others to be unapologetically themselves. As 1 of 6 girls chosen nationwide for ESSENCE x Ulta Beauty's Girls United: Beautiful Possibilities Program, she connected with industry powerhouses, filmed a web series, and created a collection that was sold in Ulta Beauty stores. Kristian serves as Senior Class President where she has coordinated service projects and worked to make every student feel valued. She is considering attending Duke University or Harvard College and plans to study theatre and cultural anthropology with the hopes of one day hosting her own travel docuseries on a major television network.
An active volunteer in her community, Anisha Holla serves as the founder and president of the Key Club chapter at her high school and enjoys volunteering her time to local homeless shelters and schools. After noticing the pervasiveness of substance abuse disorders within the high school setting, she has also developed her own mobile application that uses virtual reality to mitigate addictive behaviors. Additionally, as a member of HOSA, Anisha recently developed the first non-invasive device capable of detecting the cortisol levels in an individual’s bloodstream. In college, she hopes to study neuroscience and eventually pursue a career as a neurologist. Outside of school, she enjoys learning piano, playing the flute, and speaking Spanish.
Erica Hsueh is an aspiring social technology entrepreneur and is involved in Cubesat and LaunchX at her high school. Through her exploration of technology, she found her other passion: to eliminate the gender inequality in the STEM world by creating Bytes of Code, providing programs on HTML/CSS, circuitry, and Arduino to her local community. Erica has further expanded her efforts by creating a multilingual online curriculum and establishing over 20+ global ambassadors across the U.S, Mexico, Liberia, and more to carry out similar workshops. In college, she plans to pursue computer science while also minoring in entrepreneurship, and use her education to solve complex social problems through technological innovation.
Lake Zurich, IL
Dylan Hu has worked closely with the Illinois State Board of Education to advise on public policy, in particular for mental health and culturally responsive teaching. He also interned at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C. to conduct research, quantifying the socioeconomic and racial gaps in higher education. At school, Dylan is the captain of the debate team with over 150 members, the editor-in-chief of his school newspaper, Statesman, and competes on the math team. Dylan plans on attending Harvard University to study applied math or government to pursue his curiosity for problem-solving to address major social issues. In his free time, he loves to play basketball, read the news, and play chess.
Justin Hu founded the international nonprofit Able Kung Fu (2016), teaching and empowering disabled and challenged children through Kung Fu and funding pediatric surgeries throughout African and Asian villages and orphanages. To date, Justin has served over 6,350 students. Justin has won two national gold medals and one Pan-American championship in Kung Fu. A passionate policy debater ranked 1st in Virginia, Justin is also a materials science researcher at Georgetown U, placing 3rd at ISEF and named STS Top-300 Scholar. Justin plays violin and erhu and has served two years as his school’s class president. Justin spends his free time learning bass, reading, mountain biking, and developing a national Kung Fu program for the Special Olympics.
Annika Huprikar is the founder of Music-is-Medicine, a volunteer group of student musicians that has connected with memory care patients through live music for the past five years. Among her many award-winning, civic-minded apps that she has developed is Nostalgia, which assists in stimulating cognition in Dementia patients. She is an inventor of a board game and a mobile app trademarked under FruggieGamesTM, developed as part of her Intel ISEF research to teach healthy eating habits to children. As a multilingual speaker, Annika leads STEM workshops in underrepresented communities through her Girls Step2IT program. She envisions her collage of service expanding in college and plans to major in computer science and piano performance.
Kynnedi Jackson is a Senior at Beaumont United HighSchool where she serves as the Student Body President and Homecoming Queen. Within her high school career Kynnedi has completed over 5,000 service hours. Kynnedi is able to achieve success with the help of several organizations. While doing great things for her community, grades are the priority. She is in the Top 4% of her class, and has been accepted to 30+ colleges and universities. Wherever Kynnedi attends she will be majoring in Biology with a focus in Forensics. Kynnedi is the founder of two organizations Operation restoration which helped those affected in Tropical Storm Imelda and BABES, Black and Brilliant Educated Scholars, which is a mentor group to you African-American students.
Siddharth Jain is the Founder and President of his nonprofit, Benefit Books. He works to help underprivileged students get access to college exam prep books for free. He also did research at Yale last summer looking at the numerous barriers to care Medicaid patients and low-income face at Urgent Care Centers. He hopes to reduce disparities in the American healthcare system. As the sole student representative on his town’s Community Vision Coalition, he’s strengthening the community by increasing racial awareness and incorporating an Arts Commission. He plans on studying applied mathematics and economics at Yale this fall. He spends his free time swimming, playing tennis and creating cinematic videos.
Adelene Jeneid is Secretary-General of her Model United Nations club she started at her high school, in addition to being an ambassador and public speaker at global Model G20 Summits the past four years. In 2018, Adelene represented the United States' Youth in the Y20 in Argentina and also spoke at the Harvard Chinese Education Symposium. She enjoys anchoring on her school's morning news while also participating in journalism and film production. She aspires to work as an International Human Rights Lawyer for the United Nations or for the State Department. Adelene dreams of one day leaving an impact on young women in the Middle East through education and empowerment. She spends her free time taking photos and listening to Arabic music!
Helena Jiang is the founder and CEO of her nonprofit, Opalescence, dedicated to spreading the art of nanoscience through her creation, “Grow Your Own Opal!” kits. She is also the President and Strategy Director of coderGirls, an international nonprofit to educate and empower women in coding, reaching over 350 schools in over 10 countries. With her publication and pending patent, she has also created an efficient yet affordable sensor for detecting environmental pollutants. She has helped lead math camps and competitions for her community with her math team, or her second family, by her side. Helena is considering attending MIT or Yale for college, and spends her free time dancing, playing tennis, and snacking on brownies.
Matthew Johnson is a student at Kentucky’s first, dual-credit, residential STEM Academy, the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science. Matthew is heavily involved with student activities on campus, such as Western Kentucky University’s Student Government Association, in which he is a student Senator and the Committee Chair for Academic and Student Affairs. Besides student government, he is also interested in advocacy and government, as he serves as the president of his school’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance. He has medical ambitions and plans to be an OB/GYN, as is exemplified by his undergraduate pregnancy research. He is currently undecided on where he will attend college, but plans to double major in Public Health and Political Science.
Nisala Kalupahana is the lead organizer of TEDxYouth@LincolnStreet, a local independent TED event that gives youth in Portland a voice on major world issues. He also kickstarted and co-led a subcommittee that phased out single-use plastic bags in his city. The policy was eventually scaled to the state level, giving Oregon the strictest single-use plastic reduction initiative in the country. Nisala is also a leader on his FIRST robotics team, where he helps create robot scouting and strategy systems. In his free time, he sings in choirs, plays various instruments, and participates in debate competitions. He is planning to attend Vanderbilt University on a full tuition scholarship to study Computer Science.
Palos Heights, IL
Salma Kamni is a proud #steminist and has provided coding workshops and opportunities to low-income, majority female, and minority communities through her organization GenZCoders. At times, she infuse my coding workshops with Arabic to help immigrant Middle-Eastern girls understand the concepts behind coding! In addition to assisting the #steminist movement, Salma focuses on building interfaith relations with her religiously diverse community, and has now expanded globally through founding the online platform called "Converge." Salma's ultimate goal is to use technology as a tool to solve the social issues she sees in her community and around the world.
Matine Khalighi is the Student Body President of Smoky Hill HS and is passionate about helping those who are less fortunate. He co-founded the nonprofit Helping the Homeless Colorado, a 501(c)(3) youth-led nonprofit organization. As the Executive Director, Matine helped the organization develop a teen-led board of directors which creates life changes for those in need in Colorado. His organization has distributed over 50,000 basic necessities to those in need, awarded over $15,000 in scholarships for homeless students, and even launched the state-wide social campaign on live television. Also, Matine is also involved in his Baha’i religious community, serving as a Children’s Class teacher, and also is an author for BahaiTeachings.org.
Los Angeles, CA
Hannah Kim is the Founder of Mobile Science Camp, which engages with underprivileged students through accessible science lessons. MSC partners with local schools, transitional homes, and most recently, the Malala School for Girls in Lebanon for Syrian Refugees. Hannah is passionate about Artificial Intelligence research and has developed several deep-learning algorithms for sound and bio-signal recognition. Her current AI project will help in the effort to build the world’s first 3D pancreatic-beta cell model for diabetes research. An accomplished cellist, Hannah enjoys busking in shopping malls, watching absurd and irrelevant movies, and jamming to Aerosmith. Hannah is considering attending MIT with a focus in Computation and Cognition.
Peyton Klein is a community builder and founder of Global Minds Initiative. Created in her freshman year, Global Minds is a student-led movement working to combat cultural intolerance in schools internationally. Through after school programming bridging English Language Learners and Native English Speaking students, Global Minds builds empathy through courageous conversations. Since 2016, Global Minds has expanded into 25 schools and 2 countries impacting over 2,600 students. Peyton is a TEDx speaker, HERLEAD fellow, Bezos Scholar, and Princeton Prize in Race Relation winner. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, in Teen Vogue, and the New York Times. Peyton will attend Stanford University next year as a Public Policy major.
Aarthi Koripelly is currently the President of Leo Club, an environmental sustainability club, President of Girl Code, a club that encourages young women in STEM, and Co-Captain on her robotics team. As a blogger for Cosmos to Infinity and the Trill Project, she writes to encourage science journalism. She performed machine learning and neuroscience research at the University of Chicago to detect interference in Scanning Electron Microscope images, and hopes to use STEM for social good in her community. Aarthi is considering attending the University of Chicago, Cornell, or UIUC, and wants to double major in computer science and applied mathematics. She spends her free time biking, playing jazz piano for senior citizens, and practicing yoga.
Akaash Krishnan is the Founder and Executive Director of the Nevada Youth Climate Strike, a nonprofit dedicated to bold climate action in Nevada and abroad. From political lobbying to strikes to sustainability campaigns, he has worked with hundreds of students across the state of Nevada to help them actively shape a cleaner future. As a Curriculum Development Associate for Dream Equal, he writes curriculum that is taught in school districts throughout the country to battle the gender binary and foster diverse interests. In school, he is the President of his Speech & Debate team, a Peer Advising Liaison, and the Vice President of Leadership for Nevada DECA. Outside of school, you can find him volunteering at the food bank and rock climbing.
Rohan Krishnan is a senior at Worcester Academy, MA. During the summer of 2017, he was awarded a State Dept. scholarship to travel to Morocco to learn Arabic in an immersive setting.This amazing trip led him to create "Arabian Nights" language and culture classes for elementary and middle school students. Next summer, he was awarded the AIG High School Diplomats scholarship where he traveled to Japan to engage in cross-cultural engagement and learning. As a junior, he was awarded the Bernon Junior Service Award for his commitment to community service. After donating the proceeds to Ansaar of Worcester, a local organization that assists refugees, Rohan helped kickstart an after-school program for children of refugees and raised over $80,000.
Adithya is a high school entrepreneur, inventor, and multicultural musician. Currently, he works as the Founder and CEO of Airviews Incorporated to provide high-quality media to real estate clients around Texas, and the Founder and CMO of Fijo Marketing, where he provides brands and business with a unified strategy, voice and look. He enjoys producing musical compositions, researching in the fields of computer vision and machine learning, and reading insightful books to peer into the minds of established entrepreneurs. He is interested in using computer science to develop disruptive solutions to solve the most challenging problems plaguing our time while using business strategy to increase his reach in his community.
Buffalo Grove, IL
Justin Kuncheria is a Chief Master Sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), a nonprofit that trains students to help perform emergency services using aircraft. Seeking to expand CAP’s youth program, Justin presented a $5.7M funding increase plan to congressmen that was eventually passed. He also serves as an Eagle Scout and Teen Court Defense Attorney, embracing a social mission of youth empowerment. Passionate about education, he mentors freshmen with disabilities and teaches his native language to children in the community. Justin also serves as the Chairman of his county’s youth advisory board. He spends his free time outdoors with friends and family. Justin is planning to attend Brown University to study economics and computer science.
Karem "Amy" Lamas is an advocate for the Latino population in her community. Being raised in a poor, predominantly Hispanic town her whole life, she knew the importance of uplifting the spirits of those that share her same culture. In the ninth grade, Amy created a free program that teaches English to Spanish Speaking adults. Outside of her program, she also co-founded a Hispanic Community Center for impoverished latinos and volunteers with a non-profit focused on bettering the lives of less-fortunate women. In school, Amy is the class valedictorian, senior class president, and co-president of the National Honor Society. She will be attending Dartmouth College and hopes to study Cognitive Science with a minor in Latin American Studies.
Springfield Gardens, NY
Kyle Lambert is the Founder and Director of Med For All Global, where he utilizes hands-on work and online advocacy to promote mental wellness, elderly care, and health education on a global scale. Through independent research, as well as programs at Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medicine, he has explored his passion for the interconnections of neurobiology and mental health. A proud scholar of President Barack Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative, Kyle extends greater educational and overall growth opportunities for his peers. He is matriculating to Stanford University for the class of 2024. In his free time, he enjoys writing poetry and divulging in the works of African and Caribbean writers and artists.
Alyssa Laughter is a first generation college student involved in the International Baccalaureate Programme. Alyssa studied under NASA’s HAS programme in which she designed satellites and designed aerospace technology. She founded and runs a Political Awareness Club and teaches a morning class that produces voting resources for students voting in federal and local elections. She has also had leadership positions in Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society, and National Honor Society, which due to tutoring and community clean-ups, have earned her over 300 service hours this year. Outside of this, she also manages two part time jobs before and after her school day. She is involved in three choirs, and is a state Alateen Representative.
Madeleine LeBeau is the founder and president of her non-profit, iWitnessed-->iRemember, which has introduced thousands of teenagers to the heroes who fought and won World War II. Through many interviews, videos, service projects, social media outlets, and interactive challenges, as well as dozens of events throughout the United States, Madeleine has witnessed her peers honoring and interacting with the teenagers of the Greatest Generation, while learning that no one is ever too young to make history. She sings competitively, both with her school's show choir, and as a soloist, and will be attending Princeton University next year, where she plans to major in history while pursuing a minor in music performance.
New Orleans, LA
Allison Lee is serving her fourth year as Student Body President and is a member of the Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council, serving as a voice for Louisiana’s youth in the state legislature. She has worked on various campaigns, organizing phone banks, calling 2000+ registered voters, and interning for local politicians. She is the Vice President of Key Club, a From Student to Scientist Regional Leader, and an intern at United Way of Southeast Louisiana. She organizes glove and sock drives for the homeless, teaches science lessons at underserved elementary schools, and is committed to helping eradicate poverty in Louisiana with United Way. As of right now, she plans to study political science at Yale University.
Emily Liang began immersing herself in nonprofit organizations, community service clubs, and local legislation after noticing that under-resourced schools have perpetuated a cycle of violence in her community. As a fourth-year member of API Legal Outreach Youth Advisory Council, Emily advocates for preventative health education among hundreds of high schools and colleges. She also spearheads a variety of volunteer projects, including a Back-to-School drive providing supplies to 7,500 low-income students and an eyeglass drive to refurbish and donate used glasses to underserved countries. This fall, she plans to double major in Communications and Public Policy at an undecided college. Her hobbies include spoken word, photography, and cooking.
Megan is a Girl Scout and a senior from Troy High School Fullerton, California. She is a gender and tech activist who is immensely passionate about bridging the gender gap in the technology sector. She has been catalyzing social change, promoting a more inclusive society, fighting stereotypes, and fostering underserved girls’ interests in technology through the non-profit organization, GEARup4Youth (GEARup4Youth.org) she founded and her debut book, Easy STEM Activities You Can Do at Home!. She is considering attending Caltech or MIT for college, and plans on majoring in physics. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, photography, art, and playing the piano and violin.
Fleming Island, FL
Kaitlyn Ludlam is the Founder and President of AstroBot STEM NonProfit Corp., her Girl Scout Gold Award Project, which encourages girls to pursue STEM activities and careers, using astrobotstem.org to share opportunities and role models. She volunteers in her STEM community, mentoring FIRST Lego League robotics teams from local schools and Girl Scout troops, teaching them about code and design. Kaitlyn leads her school math team, Mu Alpha Theta chapter, and SWENext chapter; she also holds leadership and competes with her FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team and FIRST Robotics Competition team. Kaitlyn plans to pursue Mechanical Engineering at the University of Florida. In her free time, she programs and watches rocket launches.
Isabella Madrigal is an enrolled member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians and is of Chippewa descent. An avid writer and storyteller, the play and production of Menil and Her Heart earned Isabella her National Girl Scout Gold Award. The cast of the play consists of community members giving voice to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Co-founder of the Native Storytelling Project, which seeks to reclaim the narrative surrounding the Indigenous experience, Isabella spoke at the United Nations’ Girls Speak Out Event to address violence against women. Isabella is a 2020 Champion for Change through the Center for Native American Youth. Her passions include medicine and change making storytelling through writing and performance.
Ashley Maldonado Neyra
Los Angeles, CA
Ashley has a deep commitment to her education and to her community. She is highly compassionate and desires to dedicate her life to public service. She has served as the Youth Representative at the Van Nuys Neighborhood council and is part of the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats. Recently, she has begun an environmental project with her best friend at the Boys and Girls Club in San Fernando to teach lower-income youth about environmental issues and environmental justice. In the future, Ashley hopes to lead more initiatives directed towards at-risk youth. She is currently considering attending Middlebury College or Loyola Marymount University, and wants to double major in Public Policy and Legislative Studies.
Phillip Mathew is the co-founder and CEO of Got Food?, a free mobile application that assists the food-insecure population in locating nearby feeding sites, accessing federal food benefits, and advocating for anti-hunger legislation. As an activist and researcher, he co-authored Hunger Free America’s position paper on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. Phillip is a classical pianist, an Illinois All-state honors vocalist, and a songwriter/producer who has created dozens of original tracks. Phillip is also a lifelong soccer enthusiast, has played on nationally-ranked teams, and served as captain of his high school varsity squad.
Johns Creek, GA
Jack McConnell is an 18-year-old Entrepreneur on a mission to change the world. He started 20/20 Hearing when he was 11 years old with a mission to give the gift of hearing and ensure the right to communicate. Through 20/20 Hearing and its many partners, Jack has given the gift of hearing to thousands around the world on 15 hearing aid missions in 10 countries, passed a law, in Georgia, mandating insurance coverage for children’s hearing care, and has spoken at the United Nations and numerous other events across the U.S. Jack also started Round Town, a home services company focused on providing the best customer experience. He will attend Georgia Tech where he plans to study entrepreneurship and to start a company at their start-up center!
Hanna serves as the Group Commander of her AFJROTC unit where she leads cadets to push themselves to become citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community. Due to her experience, she was selected by her rural electric cooperative to lay the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. She has positively changed school policy as the Casey County Youth Coalition president. She is also an active member of her church and works with the women's ministry in missions. Hanna plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University, where she will double major in Human Resources and Homeland Security, with the intent of working for the FBI. She wants every American to have the opportunities she has been blessed to experience.
Ellicott City, MD
Nadine Meister is the active in music and STEM initiatives in her community. She is President and Co-Founder of a Girls Who Code club, which aims to bring women together to create impactful apps for the community. One app she created, BooksForAll, works to channel books and school supplies from fortunate donors to underprivileged schools. She also organizes groups to perform concerts for elders at nursing homes and other music outreach events. Passionate about STEM, she leads her school's state champion Science Olympiad team has participated in research competitions and camps, such as Regeneron's Science Talent Search and the Research Science Institute. She is currently considering majoring in Physics and Computer Science at MIT.
Ruba Memon is an organizer of the Illinois National Period Day Rally and the founder of Hadi Magazine, which is a yet-to-be-published digital publication aiming to raise awareness about Islamophobia and empowering Muslim youth. She has recruited creators from over fifteen states and three countries and began organizing workshops to ensure that Muslim students can share their stories without feeling inferior. Also, as the co-president of her school’s Mikva Challenge, Ruba works with the club to organize an annual all-school assembly on various topics, such as sexual assault and youth activism. Ruba will be attending Northwestern University, and she hopes to double major in Global Health and Political Science and minor in the Classics.
Maanasa Mendu is passionate about using STEM to target global problems. After seeing the effects of energy poverty in rural India, she developed HARVEST, a bio-inspired sustainable power solution. For her work on HARVEST, she has been named “America’s Top Young Scientist 2016” and recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30. Furthermore, she developed LeafAI, a practical, fast AI-based tool that identifies plant diseases. She relishes sharing her experiences in STEM with younger students. She also competes nationally on her school’s Science Olympiad team and serves on the board of the Maruthi Foundation. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, singing, and curating her school's TEDx event. Next fall, she plans on studying Neuroscience at Harvard.
Kevin Meng is a passionate innovator, leader, and all-around science enthusiast who aspires to impact the world with his ideas. In recent years, Kevin has developed many award-winning technical projects that solve pressing problems in the community, which he has presented at venues including ISEF, the NSA, IEEE, AAAI, ACM, AAAS, and 7-Eleven R&D Labs. Beyond scientific research, Kevin has founded 2 student organizations and served as President of 3 more, where he shares his love for volunteerism, public speaking, research, and computer science with hundreds of young students. Kevin is also founder of ArcGen Technologies, where he realizes his innovative ideas. In his free time, he enjoys making music, reading, and playing basketball.
Matthew Merritt is a senior residential adviser in Pressly dormitory at McCallie School and the founder of his club, McCallie Service and Business Society, through which he began a 10-year restoration project at a local cemetery. He and his roommate lead a poetry class for at-risk youth in Chattanooga. Additionally, Matthew is a member of Student Council, Mayor's Youth Council and the grassroots organization, Climate Chattanooga. He is a recipient of Yale University's Bassett Award for Community Engagement and a devoted advocate for sustainable initiatives. He hopes to study environmental science and medicine. In his free time, Matthew enjoys hiking, spending time with friends and community service.
Chandler Michael is an ambassador for all students. He has served as President of Best Buddies, President of the student body at his high school, and President of his Freshman and Junior Classes. Chandler travels around the state of Tennessee hoping to shine a light on the abilities of students that have Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Chandler has helped to start 5 inclusive clubs and organizations across his county to promote students with disabilities. Chandler spends time away from school volunteering at his church as a Sunday-School teacher, worship leader, and minister. He also volunteers at his local school, several local nursing homes, and with organizations like Best Buddies and Special Olympics.
Buffalo Grove, IL
Kiran Mohan is the Founder and President of his non-profit, Crescendo for a Cause, through which he has raised over $30,000 worth of musical instruments and supplies that benefit underprivileged children in Chicago. Through his non-profit, he also organizes volunteer therapeutic music performances for assisted living facilities, memory care programs, and juvenile detention centers. He is the captain of the varsity tennis team and is a coach for children with Down Syndrome through Buddy Up Tennis. Kiran has researched music’s neurological impacts and details his unique perspective on how music can change lives in his book, The Multiverse of Music. He is attending Harvard University where he wants to study Neuroscience and Music.
Julia Montgomery founded the nonprofit, Giving Images, which provides photography services, such as senior portraits and professional headshots, for the underserved in her community. She also raised $133,000 for LLS with several peers in a two month campaign. At a recent startup incubator, Julia was awarded seed funding for her newest social enterprise, AspireMe, which she will launch in the coming months. AspireMe will provide equitable career education and exploration through video-based interviews of notable professionals. Julia’s college is still undecided, but she will pursue entrepreneurship and engineering. In her spare time, Julia played four sports, published two books, and mentored several students in starting their own companies.
Carson Moore has long been involved in Key Club, recently serving as the Utah-Idaho Governor. He is dedicated to service, and volunteers at the local food bank & senior living community. An Eagle Scout, he led a project to improve school tennis facilities, and as chairman of his city’s service committee, lobbied state legislation, increased the availability of recycling and planned many community service projects & events. At his school, Carson is a 4th-year varsity tennis player, and participates in speech & debate, National Honor Society and Business Professionals of America. He plans to attend the University of North Carolina to study finance and minor in Spanish. He also works alongside his family on their farm and loves the outdoors.
Lake Oswego, OR
Michael is the founder of Hunger Fighters Oregon, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit food pantry that has provided over 43,000 meals to food-insecure families. The pantry offers canned foods, fresh produce, hygiene items, and pet food. Michael serves on the Lake Oswego Youth Council, organizing youth forums, candidate debates, and speaker series. Michael is also an Eagle Scout whose passions include backpacking and landscape photography. As a columnist for his city’s paper, Michael writes about local politics, jump starting conversations. Michael is a four-year competitor on both his high school’s cross country team and speech and debate team. He’s looking forward to studying public policy in college, with the goal of one day working in government.
Arundathi Nair is a four-time award winner of the C-SPAN StudentCam video documentary competition and has covered topics including education, energy, free speech, and climate change. She has done research and innovation projects that have qualified for international science conferences and competitions, including ISEF and JSHS. She also is president of the Laramie Youth Council, where she has taken on projects including working to install solar panels on her high school and lobbying for bills at the state legislature. In addition, she is involved in DECA, Academic Decathlon, Mock Trial, and plays the violin in her school orchestra. Aru will be attending Stanford University in the fall and is excited to explore her many interests.
Alaha Nasari is the co-founder and instructor of Hicksville Inspire Science in Youth, an education program designed to expose underprivileged students to the STEM field. She spends her weekends creating comfort baskets for breast cancer patients, caring for children at her local family center, and conducting research at a biology lab. As a distinguished leader at her school, Alaha has also advocated for girls’ education rights in Afghanistan by organizing collection drives and presentations. She plans to attend Harvard University this fall, where she will concentrate in History and Science while pursuing the pre-medical track. She spends her spare time running, experimenting new cultural cuisines, and bonding with her four other siblings.
Nadia Nazar is a 17-year-old artist and climate activist located in Baltimore, MD. Nadia is a Founder, Co-Executive Director, and Art Director of the youth led Climate Organization, Zero Hour. She uses art as an outlet and tool for awareness on the climate crisis as well as other environmental issues. In October of 2018, Nadia spoke at the UN HQ about the impact the climate crisis is currently having on girls around the world. In February, she testified in Congress at the House Natural Resources Committee. People Magazine has also named Nadia as one of the 2018 Top 25 Women Changing the World. Nadia plans on continuing her artful climate activist work in order to hold corrupt corporations and elected officials accountable.
Patrick Newcombe is an avid birder who believes in research, conservation, and education. He has studied birds as a Franzen Fellow in Amazonian Peru and published a peer-reviewed paper about bird migration. He believes conservation should incorporate local communities and international development – topics he studied in Rwanda. He gives back through the MD Bird Conservation Symposium, the MARC Fund for Youth, and through editing his bird club’s newsletter. He is a Youth Board Member of HOPE Haiti, through which he helped raise $50,000. He is considering attending Princeton University and is interested in studying International Relations or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Patrick is also a Caroline D. Bradley Scholar and Coolidge Senator.
Midway City, CA
Giao Nguyen is an advocate for change and social justice within her community. Disheartened by the lack of local support for underprivileged groups, she has hosted more than 10 donation drives, assembled numerous supplies kits, and raised over $3,000 for the homeless, single mothers, and low-income children. She also started a refugee tutoring program at her school and raised money for refugee relief efforts globally. As a 5th year activities coordinator for Project Access, Giao has made STEM accessible to many low-income elementary children by creating fun experiments each of them can participate in. Giao spends her free time dancing and choreographing for her traditional Vietnamese dance team as well as playing the piano and violin.
Galvanized by his grandmother’s battle with neurodegeneration, Ayush Noori endeavors to unravel the enigma of Alzheimer’s. As a researcher in the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease at MassGeneral Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Ayush has been recognized by the International Science Fair and Regeneron Science Talent Search. He inspires compassion-driven activism in his community, serving as Student Council President and Editor-In-Chief of a high school publication celebrating Asian-American diversity. Ayush is an avid creative writer, and his portfolio was recently awarded the 2020 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards National Gold Medal. Graduating cum laude, Ayush is excited to study computational neuroscience at Harvard College.
Annie Ostojic is a student researcher and innovator with two provisional patents and recognition as a 2018 Forbes 30Under30 Energy and Youngest. She enjoys helping people by creating scientific solutions to everyday problems. Annie’s research has been acknowledged nationally and internationally including: Science Talent Search Finalist; White House Science Fair; minor planet Ostojic from MIT’s Lincoln Labs; World’s 50 Smartest Teens by The Best Schools; and National Gallery of America’s Young Inventors. She conducts student and teacher STEM workshops. Beyond STEM research and advocacy, Annie devotes time helping economically disadvantaged students succeed academically through free tutoring. She is part of Stanford University’s 2024 class.
St. Louis, MO
Shelei Pan is passionate about medicine and childhood health and wellbeing, interests that intersect through her work with children at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the World Pediatric Project, and the Ronald McDonald House. Inspired by her involvement in Science Olympiad, she founded her school’s neuroscience club, Club Neuro, and has raised several thousands of dollars for Spread Ari’s Light. In addition to researching at Washington University, Shelei serves as the president of the National Honor Society and Strolling Strings, captain of the varsity tennis team, and secretary of the Spanish Honor Society. She wants to double major in chemistry and spanish, and hopes to become a pediatric neurosurgeon in the future.
Playon Patrick is a 2020 graduate from The Fort Hayes Arts and Academics High School. He is a 4.2 average student and also attends Columbus State Community College. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council. He plans to attend The Ohio State University next fall and major in Criminal Justice and Criminology. With a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice he wants to go into Criminal Justice Administration and examine the problems in the Ohio Court Systems and prisoners transition to Ohio's Correctional facilities.
Fort Lee, NJ
Jason Ping is a bioinformatics machine learning student researcher who’s passionate about healthcare accessibility. Through his research, he has developed a tool to classify the effects of genetic mutations, identifying 13 potentially new types of cancer in the process. Jason is also a part of a student-led startup, Provita Pharmaceuticals, where he’s leading a team in designing an affordable EpiPen alternative. He also serves as his school’s Student Body President and volunteers as a Mandarin translator at local hospitals. Jason plans on attending Stanford University to major in either Computational Biology or Computer Science. In his free time, he can be found photographing NYC, learning how to dance, or fooling around with AI.
Gabriela Pinto-Ordonez is an activist for her Hispanic community. Growing up in an environment where she was often the only student of color in the room, she recognized the need to support minority students. In her high school, she became a founding member of her school’s Diversity Council, a vital organization she attributes to enabling her to speak out about the disparities in her community. With her council, they have been able to create an infrastructure that helps minority students express frustrations and build student associations that will provide them with access to the resources they need to succeed. In the future, she plans to attend the University of Oklahoma to become a Chemical Engineer with a minor in Spanish.
Staten Island, NY
Thenuri Poththewela is the Co-Founder and President of the first school Restorative Justice initiative on Staten Island. Her goal is to prevent alienation—to harness voices that have not been given a platform and thus, helping dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. She is also the founder of an Intersectional Feminist group called FEMPOWER, Debate Team Captain, and President of the National Honor Society in her school. She is passionate about immigration rights reform and volunteers to help community members study for citizenship exams. In her free time, she plays the oboe and writes poetry. In college, she hopes to major in Political Science and minor in Women and Gender Studies.
Bowling Green, KY
Braedon Price is the Barren River Regional FFA President and collaborates with the agricultural community to combat misconceptions against the industry. As Beta Club President, he helped to implement a school-wide program known as Bitty and Beau’s, which gives those students who possess both intellectual and developmental disabilities the chance to learn about business and friendship. Braedon worked as the Executive Team Vice President of the local non-profit organization Inspiring Passions Foundation for two years raising money for the Salvation Army. He plans to attend Harvard University in the fall to joint concentrate in Government and Environmental Science and Public Policy with the goal of one day becoming an agricultural lawyer.
Afiya Quryshi is the founder of Girls in Science, an initiative dedicated to STEM learning focused on the underrepresented middle-school population in Milwaukee. As an STS Scholar, she is co-founder of the Wisconsin Student Research Society, providing mentorship on how to execute and present a scientific study. Afiya began Sew 2 Serve, a community outreach project devoted to supporting homeless shelters in Milwaukee. She is an invited speaker on The Story Collider Podcast, a National YoungArts Winner in photography and a published researcher in Frontiers in Medicine. She will be attending Harvard University next fall and plans to study computational biology. In her free time, Afiya enjoys playing tennis and performing slam poetry.
Adithi Raghavan is the Founder of the nonprofit BEEducated, a youth-driven initiative targeting the detrimental environmental and economic effects of the pollinator crisis. She has currently raised over $23,000 to fund “pollinator garden kits” that benefit partnerships with schools across the nation. Adithi also founded AImagination and code+Charms, two organizations that offer free programs in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science respectively to underserved youth. At this point in time, Adithi is considering attending the University of Washington as a Presidential Scholar and would like to major in Computer Science there. In her free time, Adithi likes to write poetry and create jewelry pieces for her online store.
Ritvik Ramakrishnan is a technology enthusiast and entrepreneur at heart. As CEO of IgniteSTEAM & Founder of Frisco Ignite, he impacted thousands of students by spearheading the largest student-run event organization in the DFW area. He founded Academican, a self-run company that provides academic support to all. Ritvik also built a machine learning model to help his hometown reduce traffic delays. Currently, Ritvik is working on launching a startup while also conducting COVID-19 research at Harvard University. As BPA National Champion and UIL Science State Winner, Ritvik will be a Stamps President’s Scholar at Georgia Tech studying Computer Science. He spends his free time listening to music, spending time with his family, and working out.
Keshav Ramji is a machine learning enthusiast who has developed a tool to predict real-time risk of Lyme disease, and is working with legislators to equip community members with data-driven insights to improve decision making. In addition, he has founded a community badminton program, and has worked to conserve the endangered Blanding’s turtles species. As a strong proponent for math education, Keshav founded a local math circle, aimed at fostering problem solving skills in elementary and middle school students. He will be attending the University of Pennsylvania, and plans to major in Computer Science and Business. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, participating in fantasy sports, and listening to classical music.
Jack Roehr is a cybersecurity professional and software engineer specializing in Linux systems (Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Alpine) and proficient in C, C++, Assembly, Ruby, Python, and Bash. He is the co-founder of Eagle Investors, a non-profit providing opportunities in business education to disadvantaged students. Jack has built skills in business and technology through internships, classes, self-study, and original academic research (found multiple vulnerabilities in a consumer Wi-Fi router). Jack is an Eagle Scout with five palms, a Master Jr. Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do, an advanced member of the R4V3N ethical hacking group, a Congressional Award Silver Medalist, and was a LD debater with a 6-0 record at the 2018 regional tournament.
Rayah Ross is a dedicated, selfless student who believes in giving back to those in her community. The most influential places that she has served were Crestview Nursing Home and Jewish Hospital. Here Rayah developed a bond with the senior citizens and patients where she fell in love with helping others. Rayah has managed volunteering for many organizations, pursuing her Associates Degree, and working as a Dental Assistant at the age of seventeen years old. She hopes to inspire others to take on every opportunity out there. Rayah plans to attend Northern Kentucky University in the fall of 2020 to major in Biological Sciences. After receiving her Bachelors Degree, her dream is to take on Dental School to become an Orthodontist.
Olivia Brooke Sally is a politics enthusiast, writing election pieces for Teen Vogue, serving on KQED’s Youth Board, and appearing on NPR, TEDx, and ABC-10 on her civic leadership and activism. She has worked on campaigns for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Eric Swalwell. As Miss Greater Bay Area OT 2020 and Miss Contra Costa County OT 2018, she has partnered with the League of Women Voters to spearhead civic education among youth. At school, she leads Solidarity in Action, is president and founder of Dragon Democracy, an advocacy body with 470 members. She plans to study Political Science at Harvard, Yale, or Stanford. In her free time, she teaches special needs students music, leads the orchestra’s violas, and plays piano duets with family.
Nina Sampogne has been an advocate for Child Abuse Awareness since she was 8 years old. She has organized countless fundraisers, clothing drives and community awareness events. Nina was the first teen in Pennsylvania educated in the CARES Program, allowing her to speak to thousands across the country regarding abuse. Nina was "Miss Pennsylvania Teen" and was chosen as a "Tomorrow's Leaders Today" representative. She founded her high school dance team , where everyone is welcome and instituted a "Music For Veteran's" program, performing for the veterans several times yearly. She enjoys playing saxophone and piano, having performed at Carnegie Hall. She will attend Penn State University as a Pre-Med Major, becoming a Forensic Pathologist.
Lucas San Miguel
Lucas San Miguel received the National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship from the U.S. State Department to study Mandarin in Chengdu, China. He volunteered as a tutor to help underprivileged students succeed in their coursework, focusing on immigrant students that lack the English proficiency to thrive, and organized a Prom for students with special needs. He is considering attending the University of Southern California, Emory University, or Georgia Tech. In college he wants to pursue International Business to combine his passions for cross-cultural diplomacy, business and Spanish and Chinese language. He spends his free time listening to Latin music, hiking, playing tennis, and crocheting and knitting stuffed animals.
West Fargo, ND
Aryaman Sharma is the Founder and President of his nonprofit, beyondBASIK, and has provided over 100 indigent children in India a basic education by transforming dilapidated school buses into classrooms. He also dedicates an immense amount of his time to Special Olympics where he coaches athletes for Basketball and Soccer and advocates for their equality through the “Spread the Word to End the Word” Campaign. A 4th-year member of Speech and Debate, Aryaman uses the platform and voice he developed through Speech and Debate to better serve others. He is undecided on where he wants to attend college, but he plans on majoring in Political Science. In his free time, Aryaman enjoys playing basketball, cooking, and spending time with family.
When her district received a judicial order to look into the disproportionate rate of suspensions among black and brown students, Samia Sheikh stepped up to lead the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at her school. Each week, she hosts in- and after-school meetings on school issues that later get turned into written proposals that could be implemented. At her school, she was nominated to be a part of a Hope Squad: a group of trained students dedicated to ensuring positive mental health and suicide prevention within the school. In addition, Samia is heavily involved in Policy Debate, Student Congress, and Extemporaneous Speaking. Given such interests, Samia is considering studying International Relations and Economics at Princeton University.
Jacob Simmons is a leader in many of his school’s athletic teams and academic clubs. Last year, he was doubles state champion in tennis, received first place in Security Council at State MUN, and first place speaker at State Debate. Outside of school, he enjoys volunteering for Jewish organizations and political campaigns and making documentaries for National History Day, where he is a four time state champion and was recognized as an outstanding entry at the national contest. Jacob is also a Normandy Scholar, one of 15 selected to this historical research institute where he commemorated a hometown hero who perished in World War II. In college, he plans to study politics and engineering with an emphasis on energy and Middle Eastern affairs.
Zoe Simon is the CEO and Founder of STEAM On, an equitable education non-profit that provides free tutoring and mentorship to underserved students. Zoe also coaches younger students as captain of her school’s debate team, fosters cross-partisan political discourse as president of her Next Generation Politics chapter, works to protect and preserve the environment with the Student Conservation Council, and promotes civic participation as a fellow for the local Democratic party. As for her college plans, she is currently deciding between MIT and the University of Michigan and plans to double major in Electrical/Computer Engineering and Business. In her free time, Zoe enjoys playing tennis, watching stand-up comedy, and writing.
Savitha Srinivasan is a researcher, dancer, and STEAMnist, passionate about driving social change through art & tech. She enjoys conducting CS research to tackle biomedical challenges; most recently, she worked on developing machine learning techniques to improve cancer blockade therapy at Harvard Med School as a Research Science Institute Scholar. She is a 2020 Regeneron STS Scholar and Intel ISEF 2nd Place winner. Savitha is the Founder & President of Art You, a 501(c)3 global non profit that promotes arts education and awareness, reaching 5000+ youth; She Codes Art, an international non profit that empowers underrepresented minorities in STEM/CS through art; and, her school’s FBLA chapter. She is considering attending Stanford or MIT.
Betel Tenna is an Ethiopian-American passionate about multicultural education, environmental awareness, and technology. As the Director of Tech Innovation at non-profit My Project Exchange, she develops technological solutions for opportunity gaps in cross-cultural exchange, such as text-message and digital learning. A Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership alumni and volunteer, Betel’s core passion is service; in her free time, she teaches her peers how to design solutions for plastic waste, tutors in all levels of Spanish and Calculus, and enjoys volunteering at community events such as the National Night Out. She is considering attending Princeton or Stanford to study Computer Science, African Studies, and Entrepreneurship.
Priya Thelapurath is the founder of the LOUDwomen program, which aims to empower young women by helping them build confidence. Her program has reached over 1,000 women in the state of Arkansas and allows girls to get in touch with female leaders in their community. Priya also co-founded the Youth Debate Forum, which teaches students in grades 5-8 in Northwest Arkansas public speaking skills. She was a 2019 Girls Nation senator and had the opportunity to write and discuss legislation with her state senators on Capitol Hill. Priya plans to study Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Sociology in college. In her free time, she enjoys writing for her “Gen(der) Z” blog through the University of Mississippi, playing volleyball, and painting.
Port Gibson, MS
Cameron Thomas is the President of Math Outreach and has reached out to thousands of middle and elementary school students across the state of Mississippi to push math enrichment and problem solving skills for students who don't have access to such. He also is the Co-Founder, Captain, and Choreographer for his school's first ever all star step team. As an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists and an AAJA JCamp Alumnus, Cameron enjoys "pursuing the truth" as a student journalist, whether in sparking conversation on his personal blog, Grotesque CirCAMstances, or in editing and writing for his school paper, The Vision. He plans on majoring in Journalism/Communications and Statistics with a focus in Public Advocacy.
Mary Topoozian has helped people in need in her school, community and even globally. Having a father who was raised on a farm, Mary has a deep passion for agriculture which enabled her to grow fresh organic fruits and vegetables to sell at the Farmer’s Market she started. It was open every Saturday during her summer vacations and the money she and her team raised helped purchase sporting apparel for children in need locally as well as in an impoverished village in Armenia. She will attend either the University of California Los Angeles, University of California Berkeley, or California State University, Fresno and will major in Biology.
Mount Laurel, NJ
Jevon Torres is the co-founder of Giving Cycle, an innovative model to engage youth in the experience of philanthropy. He has worked diligently to establish his organization as a leading provider of philanthropic experiences for middle school students and incoming high school freshmen. Based directly on student input, Giving Cycle has provided unrestricted grants to over 30 non-profits, totalling over $15,000. He has spearheaded efforts to develop fundraising campaigns, lead summer camp initiatives and facilitate community outreach and support. Jevon plans to pursue a degree blending Systems Engineering and Computer Science, and continue his efforts as a civic-minded entrepreneur and socially-conscious philanthropist.
Morgan Hill, CA
Dean Tran is Co-Chair of the Team HBV High School Chapters, in addition to being a co-founder and co-president of his school’s chapter for 3 years. With Team HBV, he has been devoted to raising awareness, fighting stigma, and ultimately eliminating preventable deaths associated with Hepatitis B, a silent epidemic among the Asian and Asian American communities. He also sets up community service programs with Mu Alpha Theta, volunteers in homeless soup kitchens, and participates in various Morgan Hill beautification projects. He will be attending Stanford University with interests in human biology, neuroscience and computer science. In his free time, he loves to play basketball, watch movies, study boxing, and hang out with his friends.
Van Tran works at Ruse Laboratories where he, along with physicians and engineers, developed a VR Headset used in local hospitals to combat the opioid epidemic. He co-authored a bill in hopes of reforming the incarceration system of West Virginia in regards to substance abuse. As Vice President of the Morgantown High School Student Body, Tran and his group of officers organized and promoted an annual talent show, Mohigan Idol, which raised over $35,000 for the WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital in 2019. Outside of school, Tran also coordinates free dinners for the homeless population of Morgantown and is an avid volunteer at his community pantry. He is planning on studying mechanical engineering on a premed track.
Tina Truong is the Founder and President of Impact Club, which promotes the well-being of the community by working with the American Red Cross and Bloodworks Northwest. She was also involved in the grantmaking process through CommuniCare, fundraising $15,000 for non-profit organizations that aid in supporting low-income and immigrant families. Tina values leadership and student involvement as she holds board positions in various clubs, including National Honor Society and HOSA. With a passion for oncology and optometry, Tina volunteers at two major hospitals, shadows at an optometry clinic, and conducts antibiotic research. In her free time, she is on the tennis courts, exploring local restaurants, and hanging out with Mother Nature!
Makenna Turner will be attending Stanford University in Fall 2020 to pursue a degree in Computer Science. She is the Founder of Project Illuminate and the Backpacks for Puerto Rico Campaign, two projects she organized to provide more students with access to educational opportunity. She loves volunteering in her community and beekeeping in her backyard in her free time. As President and Founder of her school’s Black Student Union, Makenna is working with K-12 faculty to change the school’s curriculum to be more positively inclusive of people of color across all subjects. She is also President and Founder of the Computer Science Honor Society at her school and a member of National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and Key Club.
Liberty Township, OH
Maaz Usmani is the founder of an after school food program designed to tackle food insecurity. Also, a large part of his work revolves around helping refugees, which includes tutoring refugees and organizing fundraisers for this cause. Similarly, he runs a club at his school dedicated towards involving the student body with these efforts. He has even worked with different non-profits to organize events addressing the refugee crisis and the abuse of our immigration system. The events were featured on multiple news stations and brought together hundreds of people. He will be attending Stanford University. He spends his free time playing basketball, working out, and tutoring students.
Las Vegas, NV
Eshaan Vakil launched “The Alliance for Academic Quiz Bowl (AAQB),” an initiative that hosts coaching and competition events for elementary and middle schoolers where they answer challenging questions on a variety of subjects, with an aim towards fostering a love of learning amongst students. Eshaan’s program, which aims to promote academic engagement and high school preparation, has more than 200 volunteers and has worked with hundreds of students. Eshaan has also conducted research in partnership with the Brookings Institution Mountain West, publishing an article on higher education in the Mountain West region. He's considering attending Harvard, Georgetown, or UPenn while double majoring in International Relations and Computer Science.
Chevy Chase, MD
Karina Vasudeva, a senior at B-CC High School in Maryland, is passionate about devising sustainable, creative solutions for real-world problems. She has invented and patented a novel menstrual cup that offers a safe and inexpensive menstrual hygiene solution to women around the world. Karina’s interests include public speaking, coaching for youth leadership programs, and participating in Model UN, Debate and Mock Trial. She loves singing and has performed with her school’s chamber chorus at the White House, Maryland Governor's inauguration, and the Strathmore Music Center. Her national-level awards include NCTE, Prudential Spirit of Community Distinguished Finalist Award, President’s Volunteer Service Award, and Carson Scholars Award.
Aaron Ventresca performs regularly, and he trains at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Academy of Musical Theatre. Studying the work of Augusto Boal, he has staged pieces discussing controversial issues with the intention of creating a more inclusive society. He interns at Vibrant Pittsburgh where he aims to attract, elevate, and retain a diverse breadth of newcomers within the workforce of Greater Pittsburgh. He has inaugurated multiple new academic classes at his school such as AP Spanish Literature and AP Music Theory, and he has served as a founding member of both the Mock Trial and Quiz Bowl teams. Aaron is a National Merit Scholar and member of American MENSA. He will study musical theatre and mathematics in college.
Sophia Wang is an aspiring engineer. For four years, she worked on developing accurate and low-cost real-time sinkhole detection systems for at-risk communities. In recognition of her sinkhole research, Sophia has competed at international science and engineering fairs and was chosen as one of three young female inventors around the world featured in Hasbro's Ms. Monopoly campaign. She has also worked on research projects at Columbia University, Yale University, and NASA-affiliated institutions. In her free time, Sophia advocates for young women in STEM through outreach and leads public policy efforts both at local hospitals and before United Nations policy makers. Sophia will attend MIT for her undergraduate education.
Steven is the Co-founder/CEO of Realism, a VR Edtech Platform used by 100k+ students in 15 countries. At 17, he dropped out of high school to pursue Realism fulltime in Boston after raising a seed round of Venture Capital and attending MIT's Playlabs Accelerator. After Realism was acquired, he worked for Apple as their youngest Project Manager Intern before returning to high school this last fall. Today, Steven is busy supporting his school’s DEI initiative, building new products like ronameter.com, and doubling as an Instagram foodie @munchiefam. Steven is also a Cranbrook Institute of Science Tech board member and advises multiple companies. Steven loves bringing passionate people together and never says no to a good challenge.
Union City, IN
Derick Williams is a Cofounder of his family’s non-profit, the Dylan Williams Forever An All-Star Foundation. In memory of his brother who passed away from Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Derick has donated over 100 life-saving AEDs to youth sports facilities all over the country. Through the National Farmers Union, he also discusses climate-smart policies with legislators and fights for our nation’s small farmers. A fifth-year member of the National FFA Organization, Derick is currently serving as this year’s Indiana FFA District IX President. He plans to attend the University of Notre Dame and major in Environmental Engineering. In his free time, you can find Derick helping those who are food insecure, playing golf, or swing dancing with friends.
Jenna Williamson, serves as the president of the Texas Association of Student Councils and the president of her school's Student Body. She represented Texas at the National Association of Student Councils and the regional Vision Conference. She helped create the state platform, Level Up Your Leadership, for 1400 member schools, founded the Tiger Pantry at her high school providing basic essentials to students in need and was selected by the Texas Education Commission for the 58th United States Senate Youth Program. She developed a Character Education curriculum and has presented to over 3,000 students. Jenna plans to attend the University of Texas and major in Communication and Leadership.
Essex Junction, VT
Henry Wu uses his passions for music education and social justice to empower others and increase cross-cultural understanding. He is a Director of Global Operations and founder of the Vermont chapter for the Back to BACH Project, an initiative to instill a love of music in youth through school performances. He is also a co-founder of Classical Music Encounters, a library concert series that introduces diverse audiences to classical music, and the cellist for the social justice band SoundCheck. In school, Henry is the president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and the captain of the Scholars’ Bowl and Math League teams. He is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, Vermont Presidential Scholar, and Vermont Presidential Scholar in the Arts.
Aimee Yan is the Founder and Executive Director of Project Pantry, and has distributed 1,000 items of professional clothing to homeless families; created a confidential food pantry serving 400 low-income students; and raised over $4,000 for homeless students across Colorado. Aimee is involved in advocacy as a HERlead Fellow, Youthroots Board Member, and Mountain Terrace Summer Enrichment Program Educator. She is a United States Department of State Youth Ambassador, and traveled to Chile and Argentina representing US values and amplifying the voices of her community. She is planning to attend UNC Chapel Hill to double major in Public Policy and Journalism. She spends her free time storytelling, reading, and hammocking in the Rocky Mountains.
Iris Yan is passionate about science, having qualified twice for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Study Camp and conducted research on developing novel designs and applications for nanostructures and biosensors. She leads her school’s Chemistry Club and Girls Who Code programs, whose outreach events have reached thousands of students, and pushes for increased representation and equality for female scientists. As captain of her debate team, she has won numerous tournaments, reached state finals, qualified for NSDA Nationals, and overseen the growth of a struggling team into one of the state’s best. She is planning to attend Harvard University to study chemical biology. In her free time, she loves playing tennis or ultimate frisbee.
Johns Creek, GA
Heming Yuan- or Corrine- is a proud health nut. She uses her extensive background as a martial artist to teach students how to defend themselves and gain confidence. She is the Founder and Founder of Girls' Self Defense, a club based in her high school, and she teaches at Life Time Fitness as a Martial Arts Instructor. She furthermore promotes health and well being through her nonprofit, Terrahealth, where she sells fruit/vegetable juices and donates the profits to global food shelters, and teaches her community members how to make vegetarian meals. She spends her free time shopping, binging Korean dramas, and exercising. She plans on majoring in entrepreneurship and public health in college, and is considering Emory, Upenn, or Brown.
Des Moines, IA
Fez Zafar is the founder of Site for Smiles and Smarts (www.smilesandsmarts.org), an organization with the mission to empower youth through education, healthcare, and engagement. Over the course of six years, Site for Smiles and Smarts has supported young people worldwide, in regions that include Pakistan, Uganda, Guatemala, and Fez’s native Iowa. In 2019, Fez collaborated with local Iowa organizations to moderate a student-issue-themed town hall featuring six presidential candidates. Fez is also an avid filmmaker; through his company, Zef Rafaz Productions, he has directed over 70 short films, advertisements, hype clips, music videos, and documentaries, and has earned recognition from festivals nationwide for his work.
Johns Creek, GA
Albert is founder and CEO of his non-profit tutoring business Helping Everyday, Inc. and has donated all earnings ($7,500+) to charity. He also serves nationally as National Student Delegate of Mu Alpha Theta, Secretary of State of Boys State, Chairman of Fulton County Youth Commission, and Eagle Scout, earning the President's Volunteer Service Award Gold for 3 years. At school, Albert is Salutatorian, president of 4 clubs, Class VP, and scored perfect on the SAT, ACT and PSAT. He also conducts AI research with a Harvard professor; his awards include 4th at HMMT, Physics Bowl Champion, USACO Platinum, 6th at Impromptu Speech Nationals, and Hon. Mention on USAPhO. Albert was admitted by Harvard, and his dream is becoming President of the US.
Lawrence Zhang is passionate about STEM and education, teaching competitive math as the Chief Instructor of the Eat Pie Institute of Mathematics and spreading computer science in elementary schools through “Hour of Code.” He has created revenue projection software for a company on Redstone Arsenal, and he serves as an executive officer for his school’s student council, raising over $10,000 annually for Make-A-Wish children. He will be attending Harvard University, where he plans to double major in Computer Science and Economics, exploring how technical methods can be applied to answer human questions. In his free time, he enjoys reading technology news and playing piano, guitar, and synthesizer with his church’s youth band that he formed.
Selena Zhang is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Bit by Bit Coding, a student-run nonprofit that offers coding instruction to underserved populations and leadership opportunities to high-schoolers. As an avid debater ranked 8th nationally in LD, she established and instructed her school’s novice debate program. To push for greater equity, she’s worked with state and school officials to replace her district’s AP US History textbook, create a district-wide hate-speech policy, and open the May Fete Court to nonbinary students. She enjoys noodling around with various musical instruments, quantum computing algorithms, and creative writing ideas in her free time. She’s looking forward to studying Computer Science and Public Policy.
Angela Zhong was one of twelve World Schools Ambassadors for the USA Debate Development Team. Outside of school, she is the District Governor for Rotary International's Interact branch in the Greater Houston Area where she collaborates with NewGen Peacebuilders, Project Linus, Kids' Meals, Books for the World, and more. Angela spoke at the Rotary World Peace Conference, US Institute of Peace Conference, and was invited to the UN's ECOSOC Forum. She was a finalist for the Exemplary Student Service Award of the National Speech and Debate Association and was one of TD Bank and the National Liberty Museum's Young Heroes. Angela is thankful for her community and enjoys figure skating in her free time.
Ellicott City, MD
Judy Zhou is the founder of voteBRIGHT, a nonprofit dedicated to providing accessible political education to immigrants and minorities. Through voteBRIGHT, she has given a series of seminars to increase civic participation, and she is currently working on a website that will increase accessibility to political education. Judy is very passionate about service, and she has created a tutoring program that provides elementary school students with after-school support to combat the inequities in education that persist within her county. She is also the student member of her county’s Commission for Women and an intern at her local sexual assault and domestic violence center. She spends her free time competing in mock trial, writing, and painting.
Melanie Zhou is the Co-Founder of her nonprofit Oasis Mental Health. She has opened mental health “Oasis” rooms across Colorado where thousands of students can access peer counselors and nontraditional resources like therapy animals. She has successfully pitched for and won $10,000 from the Fight Back Foundation and $100,000 from Denver Start-up Week. A passionate servant leader, she is a Governor-appointed Commissioner for Community Service, FBLA State Officer, and member of two nonprofit Board of Directors. She helped allocate $10 million for mental health after the STEM shooting in her district. She aims to be a neural engineer and entrepreneur furthering mental health research. Melanie is also an avid hiker, thrifter, and cinephile.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation celebrates and empowers visionary leaders who are refreshing the world. With its 32nd class of Coca-Cola Scholars, the Foundation has provided more than $70 million in scholarships to over 6,300 program alumni who together have become a powerful force for positive change. Current high school seniors may apply here through October 31, 2020, at 5 p.m. Eastern.