Get to know our 34th 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 a family of over 6,600 visionary leaders who are refreshing the world together.
meet our 2022 coca-cola scholars
Salma Abdi is a Somali-American, advocate, and poet. As a UNICEF USA National Council member, a UNICEF Global Advocate, and a Minnesota Youth Council Representative, she has made positive, effective, and sustainable change. She's passionate about climate justice, juvenile justice, educational equity, and children's rights. She additionally serves as the Student Body President of her high school, where she helped fundraise over $33,000 and leads equity efforts in her school district. She believes in fighting for truth and justice, for it would be a disservice not to. Salma wants to major in Economics and Public Policy to understand how scarcity and harmful policies can create cycles of poverty and imprisonment within vulnerable communities.
In fostering a sense of personal connection within her community, Tia writes pieces of encouragement for her peers as Student Body Chaplain, studies Spanish and Arabic to connect with a wider range of people within her community, and fundraises to combat housing and food insecurity within central KY. In her mission to expand healthcare accessibility and become a pediatrician, Tia counsels at her local summer camp and volunteers at Surgery on Sunday, a nonprofit organization which provides free surgeries to underinsured patients. She plans to study neuroscience and Spanish, further exploring the how the mind impacts communication and culture far beyond what is seen on the surface. In her free time she loves to run, bake, and make Chia pets.
Peter Alisky is a passionate leader dedicated to bettering his community. As Student Body President at Smoky Hill, he's worked closely with the Make-A-Wish foundation in annual Wish Weeks to grant the wishes of critically ill children, raising more than $150,000. Peter is a nationally top-ranked debater in extemporaneous speaking and captain of his school's team. He serves as a staff writer and outreach director for extempers.org, a non-profit website that provides free debate resources and education, working to democratize speech and debate. Peter enjoys playing the piano, reading Kurt Vonnegut, playing Spikeball-Chess, and following the NBA. He plans to study international relations and pursue a career in diplomacy.
Aashish is a senior from St. Louis County in Missouri who prides himself in being a community leader. Through Mission Mental Health Awareness, he has helped bring greater awareness and community effort around mental health discussions. Through numerous podcasts, opinion editorial articles, and a TEDx conference covering teenage happiness, he aimed to engender a positive community that is supportive of the struggles of teenagers. Aashish is also a co-founder of Better Future Foundation INC., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit aimed to alleviate stresses that the college admissions process can create. In his free time he enjoys watching sports, playing the French horn, and eating mac & cheese. Aashish plans on studying psychology and becoming a physician in the future.
Adom is an author and the founder of Ball4Good – a nonprofit that supports communities through sports, volunteering, and grantmaking. The Ball4Good team has fostered partnerships with community-based organizations to address homelessness, childhood cancer, child abuse, autism awareness, cultural representation, and public health. At school, Adom is the student body president, a member of the INTERACT club, and a DEI advocate. The recipient of several awards including the Heisman High School scholarship, he is a student-athlete and a member of Ethics Bowl, Model Arab League, and Video Game Club. He has led as a floor leader and a presider at YMCA Youth in Government conferences. In his free time, Adom enjoys producing music and reading.
Dana Point, CA
Edgar Arteaga is a strong advocate for health equity. Administering the nation's first high-school-student-run pop-up medical clinic alongside two physicians, Edgar exposes the disparities in the healthcare system and fights for his community. Bridges Clinic, formally recognized by the US House of Representatives, serves uninsured patients and offers free consultations and medications. Edgar is a proud altar server, political campaign manager, city council advisor, hospital volunteer, research intern, soccer referee and mentor to students looking to end the cycle of poverty in their families. Edgar will attend Stanford University as a Biomedical Engineering major on the Pre-Med track–working on tissue engineering research and continuing his fight for health equity.
Rana Banankhah is a passionate education policy advocate who was recently appointed by Governor Newsom and Senate-confirmed to represent 6 million Californian students as the Student Board Member on the State Board of Education while also serving as the Student Board Member for Modesto City Schools. Additionally, she is a legislative advisor to GenerationUp and the president of her district's student voice council. Rana has also worked on various campaigns in swing districts, written as a community columnist for the Modesto Bee, and founded her school's Literary Magazine club. Just last year, she organized a group of students to successfully lobby for the creation of the Modesto Youth Commission. In college, Rana plans to study Public Policy.
Coral Gables, FL
Lauren Bartel is a high-impact leader, scientist, published author and artist, and driver of positive change. Her groundbreaking research in propagation has helped to save rare, near-extinct plant species. As founder of Our Bright World, Lauren has built a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing, encouraging, and honoring the outstanding ideas of teenagers that provide real-world solutions to critical issues of society and the biosphere. She leads several environmental causes and child literacy organizations, and her literary work, essays, artwork, and photography have won national and international awards and have appeared in literary magazines, academic journals, podcasts, and exhibits. Lauren is an incoming freshman at Harvard College.
Kashish Bastola is an advocate for the Gulf South. He marched 400 miles from New Orleans to Houston, calling on the White House and Congress to create a federal jobs program that can help achieve climate justice. As a champion for public education and student voice, he has testified before the Texas Senate Committee on Education and worked with his school district to create its first ethnic studies course. Coming from generations of Nepali freedom fighters, Kashish is passionate about democracy and hopes to be a federal judge. He recently won the Harlan Institute National Supreme Court Competition and currently interns for a trial attorney, works as an election clerk, and serves several appointments in his local government. He will attend Harvard College this fall.
Jane Grey Battle
To organize young people around progressive legislation and work towards lasting change, Jane Grey founded Young Voters for a Better Alabama. Hundreds of students have contacted key lawmakers through YVBA's letter writing campaigns on criminal justice, environmental equity, and voting rights. She also volunteers for political campaigns, policy institutes, and organizes students to attend marches. As President of the Heritage Panel and Justice clubs, Jane Grey regularly leads discussions about diversity, inclusion, and social justice issues. She teaches advocacy by leading debate camps and mentoring students throughout the Birmingham area. Jane Grey is her debate team captain, a three-time State Champion, and the first Alabamian to make the USA National Debate Team.
Grant Baxter is an author and changemaker on a mission to combat economic inequality. As the co-author of Economics From a Youth's Perspective: An Introduction for Teens, he strives to teach his peers fundamental economic principles through easily digestible infographics and practice problems. By donating book proceeds to economic programs in low-income communities, he hopes to use financial literacy to break poverty cycles. In his community, Grant mentors students as President of Speech and Debate and has helped raise over $30,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as the Executive Treasurer for his school's Student Council. Next year, he will attend Columbia University and double major in Economics and Political Science.
Las Vegas, NV
Naika Belizaire is a social/civil rights activist, change-maker, and community organizer dedicated to uplifting the voices of marginalized people, especially youth, and eradicating racial disparities in education. Previously, Naika petitioned for and implemented one of the only 9 black history courses in Nevada at her school and represented 10,000+ black youth when she testified to the NV Senate and Commerce Committee to help successfully pass a bill that now bans hair discrimination in NV. Currently, she is focusing on Rose From Concrete, a one-on-one peer mentorship program she founded that provides young girls of color with the community, opportunities, and resources needed to learn self-love and develop a career/higher-ed focused mindset
Jasmine Bell founded Her Voice Matters, a nonprofit initiative empowering girls of color to use their voices to cause effective change in their community. After competing on MasterChef Junior and Top Chef Jr., Jasmine started her business, Kirkgate Kitchen. As owner, she serves her community through cooking demonstrations and speaking engagements. In addition, Jasmine joined the Disney Dreamers Academy Class of 2019, earning the Leadership Award and an internship with Chef Jeff Henderson; she returns each year as a mentor. At school, Jasmine serves as Co-Founder of The Multicultural Club, President of the National Honor Society, and Senior Representative of SGA. Jasmine is currently writing a book that aligns with her nonprofit's work.
Miran Bhima is the President and Founder of Strive2Thrive Edu a 501(c)(3) international nonprofit organization that works to empower underserved youth by providing educational resources to combat global disparities. Through his organization, he raised $136,000 to support over 10,000 underserved youth in 35 developing countries with the support of over 600 volunteers. As a leader in the community, he also serves on the Youth Council for his local school district and is a Youth Advisor to the Steve Fund that works to bring awareness to mental health in the BIPOC community. With interests in research and medicine, he has also led an award-winning drug design research project for the inhibition of NRAS Q61R, an oncoprotein, in melanoma.
As a vocal advocate for educational equity, Meghana hopes to bridge the gap between the meritocracy of employment and the tools youth are given to access it. Upon discovering that cultural stereotypes could deter minorities from pursuing STEM, she created Illuminate STEM, an online platform with a podcast that highlights exemplary scientists in diverse fields. Meghana brought her “Science in the Media" workshop to underserved youth across NY and founded a free STEM mentorship program that enables students to develop passion projects with professors. Aside from social entrepreneurship, she is interested in using neuroscience and public policy to build sustainable communities. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, dancing, and hiking.
Katherrin Billordo's artwork- which is heavily inspired by her Hispanic heritage- has been displayed in the U.S Capitol Building for a year, the Art Institute of Chicago's modern wing, the Abraham Lincoln Library-Museum, and has won 15 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She's worked at her local public library, Micheal's, Marwen, Gallery 37, AnySquared art nonprofit, and researched light pollution at the Adler Planetarium. Last Fall, she independently organized Visionary Art Gallery, creating a platform for 8 musicians & 65 underrepresented teen artists to share their 250+ pieces of art with 500+ guests while raising 100s of dollars for the 3Arts nonprofit. When she isn't busy running 5 clubs or her small art business, she enjoys weightlifting & playing instruments.
As a zealous advocate for language and education inequity, Cecilia has strived to help bridge the gap in her community and many others. With her work with NASA and Texas State, she developed STEM projects for disadvantaged and migrant communities collaborating with professors and NASA Liaisons. Her organization, The No Language Barrier Project, strives to fight against preconceived prejudices against immigrants within the American Education System. Independently and through the guidance of university-based research and professors, she is also conducting research on the phenomenon of scrupulosity and helping to elucidate root causes for such an under-researched illness. She enjoys preforming circus arts and watching Dr. Phil.
Brooke Bothner is an outdoor, foreign policy, and general life enthusiast. As captain of her mountain biking team, Montana ambassador for the Girls Riding Together initiative, and student representative on a national grant board, she aims to empower women through cycling. Brooke recently wrote and was awarded a grant to increase diversity in mountain biking, and helped allocate $60,000 to cycling teams across the U.S. As captain of her speech and debate team and Co-Editor in Chief of her high school's newspaper, Brooke uses language to advocate for what she believes in–including democracy, education, climate action, and the power of positivity. Brooke aspires to work with the international community to confront the issues facing our world.
San Ysidro, CA
Metztli Carbajal mobilizes communities for adequate representation and education by supporting immigration reform causes, using restorative justice practices to divert incarcerated youth, and empowering students on her campus as Student Body President. After delving into Raza Education, she created a campaign to support the implementation of an Ethnic Studies curriculum for the 40,000+ students of her school district. Moreover, she strives to address issues largely affecting youth of color by serving as a Peer Juror at her local teen court, where she assists youth in the diversion process, and consequently, eliminates the crime from their record. Metztli will study Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and Political Science this fall.
Josué E. Cedillo
San Juan, TX
As a First-generation student and a son of immigrants; his parents' devotion and dedication have inspired Josué E. Cedillo to pursue a successful future. His love and care for others come from his strong faith and trust in God. Inspired by the words of President John F. Kennedy, “but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own." Josué has founded and led a multitude of clubs and organizations on his campus to ensure that, there are opportunities to serve the global community. He hopes to pursue medical school and potentially merge with political science, to create change from the halls of democracy and hospitals. Aspires to create foundations and non-profits to aid other first generation students seeking to pursue higher education.
Brianna Chan is passionate about harnessing technology to uplift marginalized communities and create equal opportunity for all. She pursued her interests in STEM and social justice through the MOSTEC program, where she studied Data Visualization and the accessibility and communication of science. Brianna champions gender equality through executive roles on Girl Up and She's the First chapters, was a lead organizer for the Dallas National Period Day Rally, and coordinates supply drives collecting thousands of dollars worth of donations to assist disadvantaged populations. In college, Brianna plans to study CS and public policy to explore the role of technology in policy-making. She can be found building mobile apps at hackathons and running 5Ks in her free time.
Melody Chang's vision is to improve health literacy and advance health equity. She founded Let's Learn About Public Health! to bridge the gap in elementary public health education. With the support of a $10,000 grant from the Dragon Kim Foundation, she published an interactive children's textbook in 3 languages, taught workshops to 1500+ students, and developed an online curriculum for teachers nationwide. She continues her health advocacy through policy work, notably on AB789, a new California law which reduces disparities in hepatitis testing. She is Editor-in-Chief of the International Youth Journal of Global Health, and her writing has been recognized by the New York Times and LA Times. She relaxes by playing piano and thrift shopping.
Mountain View, CA
Dawson Chen is passionate about applying robotics and social entrepreneurship to support the environment and the unhoused. At Harker, Dawson has served as student body president and class president for 4 years. In 10th grade, Dawson invented the Intelligent Robotic Irrigation System (IRIS), a robot that autonomously waters lawns. Having won state and national science fair awards, IRIS is now being deployed in local resident lawns. To address California's housing crisis, Dawson founded the Houseless Environmental Volunteers Initiative, a nonprofit that creates urban forestry jobs for the unhoused. Dawson's team has created 400 hours of employment this past year. In college and beyond, Dawson plans to continue pursuing engineering and entrepreneurship.
Zahra Chowdhury is driven by equity & justice. Passionate about criminal justice reform, she started the Counselors Not Cops campaign, which replaced law enforcement in schools with mental health resources. She is also devoted to increasing diversity in politics & policy. She was invited by the Biden administration to present policy recommendations about AAPI communities to the Gender and Domestic Policy Councils & White House Counsel's Office. Zahra is the creator of Youthworks, a consultancy that aims to improve youth & adult equity. She has been recognized nationally with the Princeton Prize in Race Relations & Keeper of the Dream Award. In the future, she wants to pursue law with hopes of lowering incarceration & making law more accessible to all communities.
Alexandra Collins is a student advocate who lives by her motto “Don't Be Embarrassed." She co-founded Students Against Ethylene Oxide (SAEtO), the only student-run nonprofit fighting against cancer-causing ethylene oxide emissions. Alexandra's impact was recognized with an Illinois Senate Resolution, the Brower Youth Award, and the Gloria Barron Prize. She is also co-founder of her community's Students Organized for Anti-Racism group, president of Hispanic Student Association, and a founding member of her district Cultural Equity Leadership Team. In her free time, she sews, dances, and bakes. While interning with NASA and Fermilab, Alexandra decided to study computer science in college to continue inspiring and mentoring Latinas in STEM.
Curious and creative, Madeleine “Mary" Cotter has found joy in sharing her passion for constructing societally-impactful Computer Science projects with ProjectCSGIRLS. After finding personal success in the program, Mary knew it was critical to inspire more girls through mentorship. An environmental advocate, she's used AI to study freshwater health and is motivated to research alternative energy sources, ending the consumption of fossil fuels. As the Rochester Chapter leader of Re-run Shoes, Mary supports both local and global communities (plus reduces landfill!) through the re-distribution of gently-used shoes. Mary is the Distinguished Young Woman of New York and a 3-sport athlete, holding her school record in the 2000m Steeplechase.
Through his immense passion for Computer Science and thirst for civic action, Abel Dagne constantly strives to positively impact his communities. He co-founded and is the Director of Technology of the Redmond STEM Center, a local makerspace that provides students a space to collaborate and learn from industry professionals with career-connected learning and quality STEM education. Abel develops and publishes apps like Snapshot Battle Royale (iOS/Android), an innovative game-exercise fusion that promotes healthy habits in youth by bringing popular means of entertainment outside. He also taught an international Web-Development course at an Ethiopian University's STEM outreach program for high schoolers. Abel will be studying Computer Science at Stanford University.
Keerthana Danasekaran is a senior at Northville High School, where she is the president of the Biomedical Engineering Club, Science in Research and Innovation Club, GIDAS club, and the captain of her Science Olympiad team. She has been a flutist in the University of Michigan's Youth Symphonic Band for 3 years and has performed Bharatanatyam dance for 12 years. Passionate about STEM, Keerthana has published academic research in behavioral neuroscience for analyzing factors that affect social media engagement on Twitter and is the primary author for a publication on gene therapy for colorectal cancer treatment. She believes that engaging with like-minded people to analyze nuanced details of a problem is crucial in furthering innovation.
Diya Daruka founded her own financial literacy program where she teaches underprivileged youth foundational financial skills. She implemented her course at several nonprofits, reaching over 150 students. Diya hopes to help combat the cyclical poverty occurring in underprivileged communities through her course, and plans to expand this work in college. Diya holds a seat on the Boys & Girls Clubs of America national leadership board, helping design national programs for 4,000+ clubs. She was named the Boys & Girls Club of Milford Youth of the Year and a National Merit Commended Student, to name a few. At school, Diya is the valedictorian, President of the Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, Founder of the FBLA Club, Vice President of Science Club, and Treasurer of Key Club.
Layla has performed research with experts across the nation in immunology, biomedical imaging, and artificial intelligence development. Notably, at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, she constructed and tested patent-pending antibodies as a COVID-19 treatment and co-authored a scientific journal article. Layla is passionate about STEM equity. She is a founder and Editor-in-Chief of Gxrls in STEM, a student-run magazine and community for female and nonbinary high schoolers with the mission of STEM empowerment. Gxrls in STEM magazine has won prestigious national contests, and the community Layla brought together spans five continents. She will attend Yale University in the fall, studying applied mathematics on a premedical track.
Passionate about education access, Mukta Dharmapurikar is the Founder of Ever Curious, an organization helping hundreds of underserved students pursue STEM careers through workshops, afterschool programs, and mentorship. She has also conducted research to reform ESL programs, served as Student Government Sustainability Chair, and volunteered for Kids Voting Durham, creating election guides to teach up to 1600 students in 40+ schools about local government. She is a Speech & Debate National Champion, a tennis state champion, and a published journalist, receiving recognition from the US Consulate for her writing. This fall, she plans to study global health, biology, and sustainability either at Harvard or as a Morehead-Cain Scholar at UNC.
Overland Park, KS
Evanna Dominic is one of the first women in America to earn her Eagle Scout rank. She has more than 78 BSA merit badges, her 4th Gold Eagle Palm, and is a brotherhood inductee in Order of the Arrow. At the regional level, she serves as the Heart of America Council's Chaplain's Aide. For her Eagle Project, she hosted a food drive for Community for Kids, a non-profit that works to alleviate food insecurities. Dominic also serves as the North Region Executive and District Executive for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, Kansas BPA State Treasurer all while holding the position of president for her high school's Diversity Club and ReBEl Club. Her accolades include being a multi-award recipient for the Gold Presidential Service Award & Governor Scholar award.
As an avid youth advocate, leader, and service volunteer, Zoey Duan believes in the power of human connectivity. She is the co-founder of HawaiiVaxHelp, a statewide vaccination assistance hotline that has reached 3,500+ underserved individuals. She also serves as a youth leader on the CTFH State Youth Council, conducts research at Pioneer Academics, and represents Hawaii youth at state and national conferences, among other initiatives. At Punahou School, she is the co-founder and vice president of the Academy Student Government, co-captain of Public Forum Debate team, founder and president of Psychology Club, and co-president of Japanese-Okinawan Club. As an aspiring scholar, Zoey will continue expanding her public service and study in psychology or public health.
Passionate about access to democracy, David Dzul, is no stranger to the world of civics and policy. Within his school, David is the founder of DeBakey Civics where he has empowered his peers to plan and host their own workshops as well as engage over 200,000 voting-eligible Houstonians through Get Out The Vote (GOTV) activities. Along with nurturing his peers his civic love, David has exposed hundreds of youths to the workings of inner-city government through the Mayor's Youth Council, held HISD accountable to host vaccination clinics, and led student coalitions to implement ethnic studies courses within their HISD campus, all while holding true to his motto to Take Action, Make an Impact.
Alex Fan is an artist and activist passionate about human rights education. For nine years, Alex has competed in National History Day, presenting nationally-recognized exhibits at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Alex founded the Holocaust Education Youth Project, hosting survivor talks for students throughout the country. Alongside Holocaust Museum LA, USC Shoah Foundation, and Together We Remember, he creates lesson plans and leads educational programs focused on using survivor testimony to fight identity-based violence. A classically trained dancer, Alex choreographs dance tributes to honor genocide survivors. In college, Alex intends to explore the intersectionality between his passions for dance and human rights.
Jaclyn Fan is a passionate advocate for youth equity. She led the 501(c)3 nonprofit Live Life Music through international expansion and benefit events, spoke at national panels, and partnered with diverse communities for arts equity. Jaclyn believes that youth involvement drives change, and she was ranked nationally in Public Forum Debate and was the Youth and Government Oklahoma Appellate Attorney Champion. She also serves her community through economics research uplifting Oklahomans experiencing homelessness, and she worked on a national Congressional campaign platformed with fighting unjust housing policy. Jaclyn will attend the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a dual degree that allows her to study the intersection between business and social impact.
North Potomac, MD
Nicole Fang believes that music is a universal language that unites us by the soul and has the transformative ability to foster healing and empowerment. Recognized by the International Academy of Performing Arts and Sciences, she strives to democratize music by organizing and performing live and virtual concerts globally for patients in hospitals and retirement homes. Published by The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, Nicole is also passionate about building compassion and sharing overlooked voices through journalism. She serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of her school newspaper and county-wide student newspaper. In her free time, Nicole enjoys painting and dancing. Nicole plans to attend Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, or Yale in the fall.
Fardouza is the President of MN Youth Against Sexual Violence, community organizer with Planned Parenthood, and a Core Team Member of The Body Org. Her passion lies in encountering solutions to issues affecting our communities from both an educational and legislative standpoint. She embraces the principles of reproductive justice, harm reduction, and health liberation through her work. At school, Fardouza is a speech and mock trial captain and works to foster a more welcoming and inclusive atmosphere at OHS. During her free time, she enjoys brunching, spending time with friends, scrapbooking, and tutoring youth through the Central Asian English Project.
Alex Forgosh is committed to improving the lives of the people around him. He serves his community as a volunteer firefighter, responding to car accidents, medical emergencies, and house fires. As President of Liberty Region BBYO and a StandWithUS intern, he combats antisemitism and has coordinated conventions for teens from 52 countries. A leader on his high school team, Alex is a USA Lacrosse Impact Athlete and Academic All-American who played internationally with Team Israel U19. Alex co-founded International Outlook, a global affairs journal, and interviewed the Russian ambassador to the UN as part of a delegation from Lehigh University where he is dual enrolled. He loves cycling, skiing, rock climbing, and his puppy, Daisy.
West Babylon, NY
Michael Fuentes has a strong passion for helping the environment. As a Youth Advisory Board member for the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment, he empowers young people to make positive changes in their communities. He believes that education about our environmental crisis should be more accessible to improve everyone's quality of life. Michael has formed the Environmental Civics Action Club in his high school to spread awareness of environmental issues district-wide. As an avid supporter of environmental and human rights, Michael also works with the NBHS Student Equity team to make his community a safe space for people to learn and grow. Michael will be attending the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Environmental Studies.
West Palm Beach, FL
Gabriel was born and raised in Venezuela, where he lived happily until the political situation collapsed. He and his family moved to the U.S in 2017 where he mastered the English language. His experience as an English Language Learner (ELL) Student propelled him to found a Multicultural Club to support other English Language Learner students with the language and culture acquisition. Gabriel is a 2021 Bezos Scholar, 2021 Florida Boys State Delegate, Senior Class President, NHS President, and Boys Varsity Soccer Team Captain. Gabriel will be attending Harvard University in the fall to study Neuroscience with the goal of becoming a Neurosurgeon. He also hopes to study Economics to continue fueling his passion for entrepreneurship ventures.
Milo Golding is the Founder and President of Sanguine Path, a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to empowering children from vulnerable circumstances by providing them with needed resources. Sanguine Path has helped more than 1000 children in five states. Milo conducts gene-environment research and created the podcast “Factors: Bioethics Talk", prompting conversations exploring pressing bioethics issues and health equity. He is a Kentucky Governor's Scholar and serves in the KY YMCA and HOBY organizations. Milo is also an artist and published poet who promotes social advocacy. He was the national winner of the Doodle4Google Art Contest. His achievements have been recognized by the KY Governor and the KY House of Representatives. Milo plans to attend Stanford University.
I'm Daniela Gomez from Salinas. As a student activist, leading members of the Salinas student-led Youth Organization La Cosecha “Youth harvesting knowledge"" our mission is pushing and advocating for educational opportunities for all students regardless of socio-economic & racial background in our school district. We work to ensure that our School district distributes funding accurately to support the needs of all students. We have worked on LCAP priorities lists, on the implementation of the California State Seal of Civic Engagement, and are the youth representatives in The Monterey County Racial Equity Cohort where we work and collaborate with administrators, educators, and officeholders to promote racial equity in our school system.
Gitika Gorthi is the Founder/CEO of IgnitedThinkers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit she founded in the eighth grade to inform, inspire, and ignite thousands of students across the world to develop their passions in the aerospace industry. Gitika is also the Teen Board of Director for the Girl Scout Nation's Capital and Girls Advisory Board Member for the Girls Scouts of the USA, where she provides strategic advice to make the scouting program more diverse, equitable, and accessible. Honored as one of the "Top 100 Aerospace and Aviation Professionals to Follow on LinkedIn in 2021," Gitika is a STEM social media communicator inspiring students to start young. As a recent NASA intern and a medical researcher, Gitika is an aspiring aerospace physician and astronaut.
As Founder and Executive Director of Love Letters for Literacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Jordan Grabelle advocates for educational equity. Over 7+ years, she has recruited over 24,000 volunteers worldwide to create early literacy packets, helping more than 62,000 at-risk children learn to read in all 50 states and 31 countries. Jordan's work has been honored with a Congressional Gold Medal as well as Jefferson, Diller Tikkun Olam, and Diana Awards. She also serves as Editor-in-Chief of her school's journalism program, Model United Nations officer, TEDx Club President, Field Hockey Captain, and National Youth Advisory Board Member for Multiplying Good. Jordan was admitted early to Duke University and plans to study public policy.
Round Rock, TX
Ireland Griffin is an artist, writer, and most importantly a mental health advocate. She has devoted her time to assisting in her city's housing crisis, working on bridging the gap in services, especially for those with severe mental health issues. She also works at MEANS Database to change the way food is recovered. As the inaugural Austin Youth Poet Laureate, and literary magazine founder, she has been able to mentor creative writing within her community and encourage vulnerability in regards to mental health. This has run tantamount with her work in encouraging youth activism, working on a variety of campaigns and political organizations. Ireland will be studying Philosophy in order to continue working in mental health advocacy and law.
As Executive Director of IowaSLI, a student-led nonprofit, Hannah leads a team to help youth speak up within the legislative session, host youth events, collaborate with adult allies, and present at national conferences. As the student member on her State Board of Education, superintendent's intern, and cofounder of Norwalk's Equity team, Hannah has made student voice a state and district priority while serving as the captain of her school's robotics team and founder of Norwalk Girls Who Code. She believes individuals gain purpose and hope when tackling the issues affecting them most. Hannah will study neuroscience and computer science to become a leader utilizing data and human-centered design to better drive transformational change.
Eden Prairie, MN
Iesh Gujral is an advocate, leader, and aspiring health professional. He was recognized as Emerging Leader for Minnesota for organizing internships, leading clubs, hosting podcasts, and researching traffic safety. Acknowledging needs in his community, he advocated for integrated social justice curriculums and founded GingerClove - an educational equity math tutoring service. He is actively involved in science research in synthetic biology with experience in data analysis and lab management. Iesh supports society by volunteering for local hospitals and free health clinics. Along with strong academics, he maintains a competitive edge with top 10 rankings in Speech and Science Olympiad while serving as MUN President and school vice president.
Alice Guo is passionate about solving pressing problems with computer science. Her research and published papers have been awarded internationally, and she has been invited to speak at places like the National Security Agency Headquarters. She worked on School Protect, a school safety app intended for emergencies. Alice is a Research Science Institute scholar and a Pulsar Search Collaboratory member. She helped raise over $40,000 in 2022 for the WVU Children's Hospital as Student Council Body Treasurer. She regularly works with non-profit organizations as Hi-Y Volunteering President. In her free time, Alice enjoys hiking, creative writing, and frequenting her local movie theater. She plans on continuing to study computer science in college.
Hita is passionate about using technology to make the world a better place. She has explored this interest through research in computer science and related fields, and through her nonprofit, which facilitates intergenerational connections and supports those experiencing social isolation. As a Coca-Cola Scholar, she is excited to meet inspiring young individuals who are making a positive impact and working to address the world's most pressing issues. In her free time, Hita enjoys coding, volunteering, and reading.
Andrew Guy is a published poet and activist for social justice reform, serving as the Founder/President of the African American Appreciation Club. He has directed several voting campaigns and advocated for the approval of the first African American Studies Course in his School District. Andrew has received national awards for his demonstrated excellence as the Senior Enlisted Advisor in his Air Force ROTC Unit. As the NAACP Camden County East Youth Council's 2nd Vice-President, Andrew educated viewers across the country on Mental Health Awareness and the COVID-19 pandemic. He also distributed 10k+ bagged lunches to homeless men and women in Philadelphia, PA. Andrew will study Political Science at a prestigious university in the fall.
Lia has been advocating for underserved youth since the age of nine. As Founder and President of three service initiatives, Hopeful Hearts Club, Backpack Buddies, and Learning with Heart, Lia and her more than 1,000 global members have inspired empathy and action in the areas of homelessness, food insecurity, and education disparities. Her social advocacy programs have benefited and empowered thousands of marginalized and at-risk youth. Lia also serves as President of the Mayor's Youth Action Council, improving unity and engagement through government and civic participation. Lia is the recipient of the Ambassador Award by the United Nations Association, the Congressional Bronze Award, and the President's Gold Volunteer Service Award.
Alyssa Ho is the founder of Full STEAM Ahead, an international organization that promotes diversity in STEM through a networking app. By matching students and mentors, Full STEAM Ahead empowers minorities to form STEM teams and communities in their area. In addition, Alyssa has research experience through CS programs at Stanford and Caltech. She's also passionate about creative writing and has produced two musicals with the Blank Theatre. To combine her interests in STEM and art, Alyssa directed a documentary about discrimination in the STEM industry that received over 30,000 views and wrote innovator profiles for Los Angeles Times High School Insider. Currently, Alyssa is curious about a career in immersive technologies for education.
As an international competition prize-winning pianist, Rebekah has collaborated with Grammy-nominated musicians and performed in concert halls like Carnegie Hall and Brattleboro Music Center. A passionate scientist, she's a National Qualifier for the US Chemistry Olympiad exam and Captain of her school's Science Olympiad. Rebekah strongly believes in actively connecting diverse communities: she pioneered her school's international student tutoring program and AAPI celebration month, and works with MA Dept. of Health leaders to help them understand teens' mental health struggles. She also founded Art for Clean Energy, a nonprofit that works closely with elementary students to raise money for clean energy campaigns by creating art. Rebekah is an Elks Scholar.
Motivated by youth voter disenfranchisement in her rural community, Catherine Jacobson co-captained a national voter registration initiative that registered over 100,000 young voters in 2020, and was interviewed by the Huffington Post, Courier Newsroom, and Mashable for her work. She has published op-eds in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pennsylvania Capital-Star about rural gun violence and youth advocacy. After learning the impact of human trafficking in her town, she co-founded Teach Against Trafficking (teachagainsttrafficking.org), an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking, and has presented her research across Pennsylvania. A 2021 summer intern with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, she plans to practice public interest law.
Serving as the 2021-2022 Georgia FBLA State President, Ameya Jadhav oversees over 20,000 middle and high school students interested in business and represents Georgia Career and Technical Education at the state and national level. He works to provide free access to computer science education through his 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Teach-Technology Organization, which he cofounded in April 2019. He and his 55-person volunteer team have already taught over 1,500 students and raised over $7,500. Ameya is a dual enrollment student at Georgia Tech and a research intern at the Technologies and International Development lab. In college, he will double major in computer science and economics/business administration and hopes to start his own company.
Siddhartha Javvaji is a scientific research enthusiast, societal disruptor, and sports advocate. As one of Harvard Medical School's youngest interns, he has been genetically modifying a “super-mouse"" and attempting to cure Autism through biomarker treatments. At Stanford Neuroscience Institute, Siddhartha created a virtual platform that slowed the progression of Alzheimer's among the elderly population. He reformed against sexually-subjugating traditions among Indian widows, raising thousands of dollars for his initiative. As a 3-time National and 4-time Pan-American badminton champion, Siddhartha instituted many international shoe drives to encourage aspiring, underprivileged athletes. He received a full-ride to Vanderbilt University and plans on attending.
San Antonio, TX
Being raised in Mexico for 17 years made Alynn a social activist for women's rights. She currently plays a key role in a Mexican feminist collective that has impacted over 25,000 people. Her passion for activism and politics allowed her to hold National and International positions such as Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights and U.S. Representative for IYP as well as founding a "Girl Up" chapter at her school. In addition to being a three-time State weightlifting champion and the 7th best in Mexico in 2019, in her spare time, she enjoys lecturing on gender violence and speaking about her experiences of what it was like to come to the United States without knowing English, motivating the Hispanic community to pursue their goals by defying the language barrier.
Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, Allie Johnson is a student body president, researcher in STEM, and staunch advocate for the environment. Volunteering over 1,000 hours during high school, Allie has worked with the nonprofits: Second Harvest Food Bank, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 1,000 Dreams Fund, and SOUL NOLA. After Hurricane Ida, Allie organized volunteer opportunities and re-established Mission Ignition sponsored by United Way, a volunteer competition among several schools. Fueled with leadership, creativity, and altruism, she intends to preserve the coasts through the development of sustainable architectural designs. Allie plans to major in Architecture and Environmental Science at Tulane University in fall 2022.
Lena Kalandjian is an Armenian-American with a passion for fostering anti-violent communities. By co-founding her school's Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise Club, Lena has led violence prevention and diversity education programs that impact over 1,500 local students annually. Lena serves on the Sandy Hook Promise National Youth Advisory Board as a representative for 3,500+ SAVE Promise Clubs nationwide. She has facilitated intergenerational collaboration with the Biden-Harris Transition Team, TIME Magazine, and the National Center for School Safety. At school, Lena is Executive President of Student Government, Concertmaster of the orchestra, and a Varsity Track & Field athlete. She plans to major in Chinese and Global Business.
Tova Kaplan is an avid civics advocate empowering youth to stand up for human rights. Her work as National Youth Director of Constituting America has led her to the White House, Supreme Court, Dept of Education, and Discovery Channel, reaching millions. She's co-hosted 100+ episodes of Constitutional Chats, featuring American leaders. Tova serves as Co-Chair of the Young Leaders Council for America250, established by Congress to plan America's 250th anniversary. She studies Arabic with the US State Department's NSLI-Y program, and pursues French, Hebrew, and Latin. She works on staff for her district's state senator, while serving as Senior Class President, school newspaper Co-Editor-in-Chief, Bake Sale for Justice Club Co-President, and Best Buddies Co-President.
Highlands Ranch, CO
Rishika Kartik is a creative activist and disability advocate. Her grant project, “Vision of the Artist's Soul," provides artistic and educational opportunities for blind people nationally. As the founder of “Touch and Create Studios," she champions museum accessibility and advocates for legislation at the Capitol. She sparks dialogue through public speaking, digital design, and art exhibitions. Rishika also works with incarcerated youth to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline through theater as a board member of Mirror Image Arts. Rishika enjoys doing educational research at the Bedny Neuroplasticity Lab at Johns Hopkins University and American Foundation for the Blind. She plans to create her own major, “Disability, Design, and Education," at Brown University.
Oak Brook, IL
Recognizing the potential dangers of biased artificial intelligence (AI), Jui founded AInspire–a nonprofit dedicated to empowering students of all ages & backgrounds to explore AI. AInspire has served 26K+ in 91 countries & has created an AI curriculum adopted by schools & Boys & Girls Clubs. Her mission to democratize AI education was featured by media outlets & was honored with the Princess Diana Award. An avid researcher, Jui was also named a Regeneron STS Scholar for her AI-assisted stroke-detection research, which she presented at neuroradiology conferences. In her free time, Jui enjoys surfing & rollerblading. Jui plans to study bioinformatics in college, with the goal of utilizing AI's scalability to increase healthcare access.
Irene Kim is the founder of Justice Education Project (JEP), the first national youth-led and youth-focused criminal justice reform organization. Through JEP, she has donated 10K+ products to incarcerated people and published First Steps Into Criminal Justice Activism, a book educating youth on the issue. The book has been recognized by Teen Vogue. Irene also serves on Cornell Y-ReCONNECT's Advisory Council, advising NY correctional officers on ways to implement transformative justice in juvenile facilities. She is 1 of 8 national youth representatives for Amnesty International. At school, Irene has launched a restorative justice elective and serves as both debate and tennis captain. In her free time, Irene enjoys bowling with her friends.
Aisha Kokan seeks to weave together her excitement for art, science, and community organizing to build transformative spaces for healing. She founded the initiative, Art for the Heart, selling her calligraphy to fund art therapy kits for youth experiencing homelessness. Her proximity to a loved one's cancer diagnosis facilitated her interest in improving cancer diagnostics. She is now investigating the 'Detection of Lymphoma in Radiology Imaging using Machine Learning.' A leader of the organization Muslim Youth of North America, she built and led programming for over 500 Muslim youth across 50 states. Aisha is excited to continue her higher education majoring in computer science and minoring in public health while on the pre-med track.
Colorado Springs, CO
An Olympic Torch Bearer of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Shreya ran in the Olympic Torch Relay in Ancient Olympia, Greece. She is passionate about performing arts. Notable performances include singing in Carnegie Hall; American Cemetery in Normandy, France; Arlington National Cemetery; and Pikes Peak at 14,115 ft. A national gold medalist for Royal Conservatory Music Exams, she is a certified Classical Singer artist. She is the President's Volunteer Service Gold Award recipient, Carson National Academic Scholar, and ALA Girls Nation Colorado Senator. She is Colorado State DECA Publicity Director and President of the school chapter. She is a national youth ambassador for anti-bullying and suicide prevention foundation and serves on the Principal's Advisory Council.
West Hartford, CT
Sophie Kudler is a scientist, advocate, author, and teacher. Her interest in rarity and rare diseases fuels her Tuberous Sclerosis lab research at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. Inspired by those close to her, Sophie advocates for the disability and epilepsy communities, served as Epilepsy Foundation of CT Legislative Intern, and testified to champion state epilepsy legislation. Utilizing her published book, KenKen For Kids!, Sophie teaches worldwide on solving these math puzzles, increasing math literacy. She is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the foreign-language magazine that fosters cultures at her school, yearbook Co-Editor-in-Chief, and trivia team Captain. Sophie will study science to pursue a career in medicine and research.
As an advocate for her community, Kalina Kulig believes in giving back while empowering young people. She led gun violence reduction efforts as a youth commissioner for the city of Denver, and serves as a representative on the board governing her city's alternative policing program. That initiative will be the subject of her upcoming TEDx talk. Kalina's writing has been published in the Denver Post and ColoradoBiz Magazine, and she has been featured in several TV segments on PBS12. As a debate champion and a black belt, she believes in self empowerment and using your voice to help others. Kalina is passionate about philosophy and activism, along with artistic endeavors like piano, voice, and sewing.
Stella Kwon is the co-founder and President of La Lune, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to empowering menstruators through the delivery of period packages and educational content. She has helped deliver over 34,000 period products, established 8 chapters internationally, and worked with representatives to eliminate the pink tax. Working with her school administration, she has installed free menstrual product dispensers in her high school and is working to expand the provision district-wide. At school, she serves as Senior Class Representative, NHS President, Georgia Secretary of State Student Ambassador, and principal violist in her school's chamber orchestra. She will attend Harvard University and wants to pursue government or economics.
Paridhi is the Founder and Executive Director of SparkED, a nonprofit seeking to improve education equity and scientific literacy. She equips youth with resources, encouraging them to embrace and explore STEM. She has been an avid Science Olympiad competitor, ranking top ten nationally in genetics and ecology. She serves as Science Fair Club President and was recognized as a 2022 Regeneron STS Scholar for her research projects in biology, computer science, and math. She has promoted health awareness by leading a districtwide research project on vaping. In her free time, she enjoys playing the viola. Paridhi aspires to study computational biology and research therapeutic development while extending SparkED's impact through public policy.
A passionate advocate for indigenous health, Logan Lau works to uplift his Native Hawaiian lāhui. Since he was 14, Logan has been a director of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai'i's Youth Council. A leader in Hawai’i’s tobacco cessation movement, Logan has championed legislation to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in Hawai’i’ and has received national recognition for his work. During his junior year, Logan co-founded Future Frontliners, an organization focused on raising the next generation of Hawaiian STEM professionals. Logan also enjoys church volunteer work, debate, and conducting research on mask filtration, obstructive sleep apnea, and trigeminal neuralgia. Logan plans to study CS and neuroscience at Stanford University.
San Francisco, CA
Agnes Liang is a determined, and resilient Chinese-American who uses her experience as a former foster youth as fuel to break the generational patterns of addiction, poverty, and incarceration in her family and community. Whether it's through hosting STEM workshops as the Communications Chair for TeenTechSF, representing 55,000 students as one of two student delegates on the SFUSD Board of Education, or pushing youth into their first wave as a surf instructor at City Surf Project, she has the privilege of serving and forming relationships with youth in underprivileged communities of the Bay Area. As she finishes up high school as valedictorian, she looks forward to continuing her academic journey and advocacy work in college and beyond.
Rena strives to make politics more empathetic and accessible. She's working on increasing youth civic engagement through the Junior State of America (JSA) as a Chapter President and the Ohio River Valley State's Chief of Staff. With JSA, Rena has started annual voter registration and Black History initiatives and coached students to win 14 speaking awards. While staffing local political campaigns, Rena focused on making internships accessible to Knoxville high schoolers, particularly women and POC. Rena's also a 2021 TN Senate Youth Delegate, National History Day Bronze Medalist, and Political Science Bee National Top 15 placer. She's conducted qualitative research on political misperceptions and will further her studies at Yale next year.
Denny Lu is a dedicated champion of equitable access to education and health resources. As the Founder of Your Advance, Inc., a Florida non-profit that empowers first-generation immigrant families through education, Denny leads a team of volunteer scholars who provide tutoring and mentoring to over 60 families in Manatee and Sarasota County. Alongside the Florida Department of Health in Manatee, Denny connects residents with vital public health resources and campaigns. He is also a researcher with the Brain Health Initiative, a collaborative effort by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital exploring brain health and lifestyle choices. Denny will be attending Harvard University and plans to study natural sciences and pursue a career in medicine.
San Antonio, TX
As an aspiring neurosurgeon, Andrés prepares for his medical journey by taking STEM college courses aside from his rigorous International Baccalaureate program. As Valedictorian and Founder of Mariachi Flores del Sur, Andrés has taken music to the next level at school and community events. Leadership and honors include Student Council, Senior Committee, Varsity Soccer, Lead Trumpet, National Hispanic Merit and National Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute Scholar. Andrés takes pride leading and enriching his culture in Matachines, Acolyte and Bilingual choir church ministries. With a humble heart, Andrés will continue donating time, sharing his love for music, and tutoring whilst bolstering his connection with the National Hispanic and Coca-Cola Scholars programs.
Quinn Luong inspires, empowers & unites marginalized students to stand up as leaders to better their communities. Quinn founded the National Diversity Coalition, an entirely student-led organization of over 230 students from 30 states nationwide that gives students from underserved schools the resources for social justice work. At his school, Quinn is the Co-Chair of the Diversity Alliance through spearheading petitions, hosting school-wide discussions & co-directing an hour-long documentary & writing poetry & prose. He is a Princeton Prize Recipient & worked with Penn GSE on community research in education. Quinn will study Political Science, pursuing his passion for solving inequities in systems through law, languages & social justice.
Ashini Modi is the founder of Reading Rainforests, a nonprofit dedicated to bridging the educational resource gap through building libraries in homeless shelters. With 150 volunteers and 15,000+ books, Reading Rainforests has established nine libraries. Passionate about Astrophysics, Ashini has researched topics from black hole distribution to exoplanet atmospheres, published a peer-reviewed paper, won awards at ISEF, Regeneron STS, and national JSHS, and was a Research Science Institute Scholar. In addition, she is president of her school's Astronomy Club, Environmental Club, Library Association, and Science Bowl team. In her free time, she enjoys creating recipes for her plant-based food blog, playing the violin, and classical dancing.
As the founder and executive director of Make.It.Possible, Jackson Moody is passionate about democratizing access to STEM technologies such as robotics, laser cutting, and 3D printing via free and educational workshops. Jackson is also president of Fairview High School's Science National Honor Society, lighting director for his school's theatrical productions, and a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. Outside of school, Jackson serves on the board of directors for both the Museum of Boulder and the League of Women Voters of Boulder County–helping to bring youth voices to the executive teams of each organization. Next year, Jackson plans to pursue mechanical engineering while continuing to expand the reach of his nonprofit organization.
Mariajose "MJ" Morales is an advocate for water contamination in her hometown and a dedicated member of her school community. She holds multiple state titles in the discus throw and holds a school record while also being the first female member of her school's baseball team. She serves as the president of the Rotary Interact Club and the National Honor Society as well as a coach of the National Hispanic Institute's Tip of Texas region, a team that has won four consecutive state championships. She lives by the Rotarian motto, "Service Above Self." This phrase motivates each project she has led and has inspired her to spend each of her Sundays tutoring underclassmen.
Kyndia Shiloh Motley is a 12th grade honor student at Jeffersonville High School. She plans to go to college and major in Communication Science and Disorders with a minor in Mass Media and African Studies with the hopes of becoming a college professor. She is actively involved and holds office in numerous clubs/organizations: President of Jeffersonville High School's Black Student Union, President of Clark County Youth & College NAACP, Treasurer for YMCA Black Achievers Teen Senate, Planned Parenthood Peer Educator, Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students, Ron Brown Scholars, National Honors Society, Action Speaks, Jeffersonville High's Track Team, and Radio & TV Production Team for 98.5 WJHI while working part time at an assisting living facility.
Pranav Moudgalya is a California resident interested in the natural sciences and how STEM and social science disciplines can be utilized together to impact the world positively. As Co-President of STEAM for All, a 501(c)(3) service organization founded in 2007 that provides free educational events to students across the country, Pranav seeks to engender a love of learning within his community. Pranav is equally passionate about research, having worked on research projects at UCI, UCSB, and the Environmental Policy Innovation Center. He has presented his research at the International Science & Engineering Fair and academic conferences and hopes to continue research up to the graduate level. Pranav will attend Harvard College in the fall.
Priyanka Mukhara is a passionate activist and anti-racist. Inspired by the BLM protests in Seattle, Priyanka founded the organization Education for Equality (E4E), where she leads students to fight race and gender-based inequities in schools. E4E has distributed petitions calling for racial equity to 33 school districts across 13 states, accumulating over 45,000 total signatures. Named as one of Seattle's 5 Inspiring Women of 2021, Priyanka sits on the Bellevue Youth Board and Washington Ethnic Studies Now Advisory Board. As co-President of Interlake and an avid member of the debate team, Priyanka loves speaking about important social issues with fellow debaters and peers alike. Priyanka plans to study Government and Ethnic Studies at Harvard University.
Tarini Mutreja is the founder of Justice Dialectic, a forum that employs the social sciences and technology to drive justice equity nationwide. She leads a global crowd-sourced advocacy effort to publicize justice system data as a National Ambassador for the Chicago Justice Project's CJPNation. Collaborating with multiple university professors, she has helped integrate this project into their course curriculums. An avid researcher, Tarini has published her own empirical studies and serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Secondary Psychological Studies. Additionally, she is captain of her high school's Math and Science Teams. A vocalist with a diverse repertoire, Tarini also has the distinction of having performed twice as a soloist at Carnegie Hall.
Las Vegas, NV
Angel and her family came to the United States at a young age. Struggling to make ends meet, she and her family consistently went to food pantries. Her experiences with food pantries prompted her to create Pantry Link, which is the real time solution to the issues of extreme wait times in extreme weather. A high achieving senior at the top of her class, Angel is passionate about community service and founded the UNICEF and Red Cross clubs at her school. This most recent summer, during the international and selective Summer Science Program, Angel and her team spent over 300 hours researching and designing a fungal inhibitor for rice blast to protect crops from fungal pathogens. Angel plans to major in Molecular Biology or Neuroscience in hopes of becoming a surgeon.
Isaac Nehring has been a trailblazer for youth activism in Montana. As the founder of Montana Youth Action, he created the state's largest bipartisan coalition of youth advocating for "Montana causes" and working to increase young people's civic engagement. As the Digital Organizer for the Montana Democratic Party, Isaac has also worked to strengthen the Party's communications and connect with voters of all demographic and political stripes. Isaac is also a 3-time mock trial state champion, Governor appointee to the Youth Justice Council, Helena Education Foundation board member, 2021 recipient of the Governor's ServeMontana Award, and a community leader. Isaac has a deep-rooted passion for making the Big Sky State a better place for all.
Bernadette Nwokeji is the Founder and CEO of S.H.A.R.E. Wholeness, a nonprofit from which she works to reallocate resources to ensure restitution is achieved within communities plagued by remnants of segregation. A champion for healthcare focused on preventative treatments rather than curative, Bernadette has worked with the Florida Department of Agriculture Consumer Services to co-author and introduce a bill into the 2022 Florida Legislative Session that rectifies the prevalence of food deserts in low-income areas and its connection to the proliferation of diet-related diseases. Besides possessing a fierce passion for racial equity and health policy, Bernadette is a food connoisseur, aspiring linguist, and history enthusiast.
Basilia Oferbia is a proud African leader who has opened her community to resources in tech and mental health. As Founder of the Women in STEM Club, Basilia teaches coding to empower POC girls to pursue their passions in STEM. She participates in the Google Code Next Program where she learns from Google Engineers. Basilia interns at the Lift and Shift Foundation where she helps veterans suffering from PTSD through robotic problem-solving therapy. Additionally, Basilia volunteers at the 9/11 Memorial and shares stories about 9/11 victims & heroes. She is also involved in school, serving as Vice President of Student Council & Captain of the Volleyball Team. Basilia plans to pursue Computer Engineering and hopes to work at Google.
Hana O'Looney-Goto is an educational and menstrual equity activist currently serving on the Montgomery County, Maryland Board of Education, a position she was elected to with over 78% of 88,000 eligible votes. In her work for the nation's 14th largest school system, Hana has proposed policies increasing student stakeholder engagement, providing mandatory personal finance education, and combatting climate change. After writing a resolution granting free menstrual product dispensers for her school system and successfully lobbying for three years to pass HB205, a bill bringing free menstrual products to all Maryland schools, Hana now works with the international nonprofit PERIOD to promote access to menstrual products across the US and abroad.
Altamonte Springs, FL
Florence Onyiuke is a Nigerian-American writer, pioneer, and social activist. As President of the Sanford Mayor's Youth Council, Chapter President of NHS, and a youth mentor, she has received state and national recognition for improving community outreach, promoting educational equity, and increasing youth involvement in city government. Florence is also a LEDA Scholar, GripTape Ambassador, and recipient of both the Presidential Service and Educational Excellence awards. Driven by her passion for an equitable world, she is currently developing interactive Diversity & Inclusion workshops for schools and businesses through her startup FloFurther LLC. An advocate of global citizenship and opportunity, she plans to study International Relations & Business in college.
Kaden Oquelí-White is a passionate cosmophile and STEM education advocate. He launched the Same Stars project in 2020 to connect memory care patients with astronomy to ease pandemic isolation. In 2021, he researched Hawking Radiation as a Pioneer Astrophysics Scholar and studied extremophile resilience as a NASA Astrobiology Intern. Kaden is Managing Editor and science columnist for the Blue Jay Newspaper, Senior Editor of Calliope Literary Magazine, Fencing Club President, Philelectic Society Letterman, National Honor Society Executive Aide, and Excellence in Leadership honoree. He volunteers with NASA's Infinity Science Center, LIGO Caltech, and Bakers Against Racism. Kaden will major in Astrophysics and Engineering at Columbia University.
Mmachukwu Favour Osisioma works alongside first-generation and/or low-income populations to make higher education more accessible on the FLI Home Discord server. Within her community, Favour has been a Girl Scout Ambassador and a youth volunteer at church for the last four years. She participates in these activities with her youngest sister, her role model. Mmachukwu aspires to pursue a PhD in Sociology in the steps of her second role model: Professor Anthony Jack. Her Plan B is to live and work at an art museum. Favour is a theater kid, ever-thankful for the representation of flawed and authentic black femmes in media. Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender is her favorite main character. (Favour's zodiac sign is also the Aquarius. Coincidence? She thinks not.)
Dhruv Pai is a passionate researcher creating innovative healthcare solutions. He has developed assistive technologies like an NFC band-QR code ring to assist wandering patients get connected with their caregivers. As an RSI Scholar, he developed novel targeting systems for transcranial magnetic stimulation for treating depression patients. He co-founded an international non-profit organization, Teens Helping Seniors, during the COVID-19 crisis to help vulnerable populations with delivery of essentials. He is a Regeneron STS scholar, and was awarded the Congressional Award Gold Medal, and President's Volunteer Service Gold Award. Dhruv enjoys singing, hiking, and serving his cats. He plans to major in Bioengineering, and apply his knowledge toward helping others.
Sascha Pakravan is a Senior at Punahou School in Hawaii. He actively leads Words4, a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve rates of literacy among youth in Hawaii, striving for educational equity. Sascha's program employs a specialist-approved curriculum to read children's books on video. Today, Words4 has over 100,000 views. Sascha's motivation stemmed from learning that 1 in 6 adults in Hawaii is functionally illiterate, and over half of 3rd graders do not meet DOE assessment standards. Sascha also captains his school's debate team, and he is ranked in the Top-2 Lincoln Douglas debaters of Hawaii. He enjoys reading and writing political articles voraciously, considering himself a “political encyclopedia in-the-making."
Kristine Pashin advocates for change by encouraging multi-faceted expression. She founded the Journals of Justice, a nonprofit that amplifies underrepresented voices via journalism. Beyond this, she serves as a Committee Member at Harvard Law School's Justice Initiative. She also founded the Justice Mandate Project, leading a global coalition of policy researchers who promote justice through accountability. Her efforts have been recognized by the U.S. Congress and the United Nations Association of the USA. In her free time, she reimagines her grandmother's cookbook recipes, collects handmade soap, teaches Bulgarian dance, and enjoys the outdoors. She will be attending Stanford University and plans to study how implicit motives shape policy.
Lydia Pastore is the founder of Chronic Connections, an international support group for the marginalized patient population of COVID-19 Long Haulers. As an avid HOSA competitor, Lydia has served as chapter President for two years and holds the title of 2021 International Champion in Biomedical Laboratory Sciences. Currently, she serves as a Youth Advisor for the Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities in partnership with the Mayo Clinic and the NIH, and was recently named United States CTE Presidential Scholar nominee in biotechnology. Lydia will attend the University of Arizona as part of the Accelerated Pathway to Medical Education BS/MD program through the College of Medicine, and will graduate with her M.D. in 2029.
Wesley Peng is an innovator, researcher, and health equity advocate. Over the past years, he has co-invented a blood diagnostics device aiming to empower underserved areas to have easier access to testing while lowering the blood volume needed. Wesley has also led research on health disparities and published in conferences and papers including the NIH, AcademyHealth, SGIM, and The NY Times. His projects have led to a tangible benefit to over 7,000 patients. Wesley's projects have also won accolades and recognition by the American College of Physicians, NASDAQ, ISEF, among others. Wesley's philosophy in life is to make new innovations accessible to all regardless of their socioeconomic status. In his free time, Wesley enjoys swimming, hiking, and painting.
Ivy Pete is an Indigenous student activist working to empower Native American youth through policy work and civil service. Driven by a passion for change, she is an advocate for the elimination of race based mascots, land conservation, equitable education and practice, and civic engagement for Native youth. In 2020, she championed the passage of legislation in Washington State to regulate the use of Native American names, symbols, and imagery in public schools and enhance partnerships with local tribes. Ivy serves on the Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) of Washington State and was named a 2022 Champion for Change at the Center for Native American Youth where she engages in advocacy work across all of Indian Country.
Motivated by the pandemic malaise to improve teen mental health, Sreeya Pittala started a chapter of Bring Change to Mind at her school and founded the Just One More Chapter Initiative to foster leisure reading. She conducted policy research on mental health education, served on BC2M's Teen Advisory Board, interviewed with the Washington Post and Hopeful Futures, a national campaign driving mental health policy change, and was selected for the first-ever national Mental Health Youth Action Forum. Sreeya mindfully leads as a varsity swim captain and through honor societies, HOSA, and beyond. In her free time, she enjoys singing Indian classical music, cooking, and tutoring. Sreeya will attend Dartmouth to study psychology and public policy.
Driven by his passion to solve food insecurity issues in his rural community, Cameron made a 24/7/365-day commitment. Leveraging his farming experience and poultry business, he grows, raises, and donates food to the local pantry. In 2.5 years, he has provided weekly donations totaling more than $12,500. He advocates for rural broadband access as a National Tech Changemaker Spokesperson, engages in youth mentorship, is a STEM instructor, is president of the Waupun Area FFA Chapter and National Honor Society, a founder of his school's Robotics Club, varsity cross country and track captain, and a 4-H youth leader. Cameron is graduating as valedictorian and will be pursuing a degree in automation engineering, with an agriculture emphasis.
Bloomfield Twp, MI
A dedicated community organizer, Jaanaki Radhakrishnan works with organizations across the country to foster racial, environmental, and education justice via people-centered initiatives. She is especially passionate about educational equity, working with Teach for America's Reinvention Lab to reimagine schooling and partnering with a rural Indian school to catalyze critical-thinking, child-centered pedagogy. She serves as Founder & President of her district's Student Equity Council, advisor to the Board of Education, and Forensics captain. Planning to study Anthropology, she hopes to utilize her studies to drive systemic social change. Jaanaki is eternally grateful to her partners in this work and the communities that built and support her.
Jaisnav Rajesh is the President of WheelsForAll, a nonprofit that manually repairs bikes before donating them to disadvantaged students. Active in nine countries, WFA has donated over 500 bikes and impacted 2,000 families. In addition, by serving as a Borgen Project Regional Director, High School Democrats National Data Director, and Representative Underwood Council Member, Jaisnav has published advocacy pieces in the New York Times, interned at the Iowa Caucus, and authored mental health legislation. He is also the Illinois DECA President and leads 3,600 members in raising $20,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In his free time, Jaisnav conducts research at Fermilab, competes as a top-ranked high jumper, and eats copious amounts of tapioca.
Aparna Ramakrishnan is a passionate mental health advocate. As the Founder and President of Beyond Charity, she aims to remove the stigma around mental health through education and legislation. She has shared her own mental health story to educate 15,000 students worldwide on mental health and effective coping strategies. She also collaborated with her local legislators to pass the Beyond Charity Law in Illinois, mandating suicide prevention lines to be put on student identification cards. At her school, she is an adapted physical education leader and an avid Latin enthusiast. Aparna credits her Beyond Charity team, Anna and Luka, her parents, Sabitha and Murali, and especially her sister Abinaya (also a Coke Scholar!) for her success.
South Windsor, CT
Pranav Ramesh founded CodeSavant, an educational initiative that teaches advanced computer science to students worldwide through classes and YouTube videos, and published two books, "The Python Starterpack" and "Java Decaffeinated," on Amazon. He is the Vice President of Connecticut Future Business Leaders of America and is a volunteer coding instructor, curriculum developer, and Software Engineer Intern for the North South Foundation. An avid "techpreneur," Pranav has published five iOS apps and designed Pillola, a smart, secure, portable pill dispenser for seniors in assisted living facilities. Additionally, he was a Bronze Medalist in the American Computer Science League World Finals and has played the piano at Carnegie Hall.
Riley Rane strives to use technology to address the inequities faced by underserved communities. Through her Button Buddies initiative, she adapts off-the-shelf toys to make them accessible for children with severe disabilities. As a biophysics researcher, she co-founded an early stage company with her research mentor to commercialize the low-cost pathogen detection device she's helped develop for low-resource settings. When the pandemic closed the research lab, she built a laminar flow hood at home to conduct experiments. She also founded her school's Genes in Diseases club, where she mentors students to conduct bioinformatics research. Riley plans to pursue medicine and make healthcare more inclusive, equitable, and accessible for all.
Riya Ranjan is a second-gen Indian American, fierce feminist, and inquisitive scientist. Her passion for equity led her to found a student equity task force in her school district and write racially diverse history curriculum, draft Title IX policy reform, and design equity workshops for 10K students. Through designing socially assistive robots as anxiety aids for students with autism, Riya furthers her community work through engineering, and patented a device for COVID-19 relief for small businesses. Her science volunteerism has reached 1K+ students through her 501c3 INNO, through which she designed a 12-week accessible curriculum for schools in 4 countries. She plans to pursue women's studies and computer science in college.
Nabikshya Rayamajhi is the co-founder of the Oregon Menstrual Equity Initiative, a nonprofit organization combating period poverty. Sophomore year, she passed a policy, providing free menstrual products to all middle and high school bathrooms in her school district. She previously served as the National Expansion Director for High School Democrats of America, an intern for Congressman Peter DeFazio, and a sociology researcher at Columbia University. Nabikshya currently leads Oregon Model UN as the Secretary-General. She was a 2021 US Senate Youth Delegate, where she attended meetings with the president, senators, a Supreme Court Justice, and federal agency leaders. Nabikshya plans to attend Stanford University, studying political science and mathematics.
Pranavi Reddi is the founder of Kindness4All, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering others to tap into their superpower of kindness to make their communities a better place. An International Princess Diana Awardee and TD Bank's Young Heroes Award winner, Pranavi is passionate about serving her community and collaborating with other community leaders to promote positive mental health. As an avid advocate for social change, she also serves as president of Keep Texas Beautiful's State Student Leadership Council, a national student board member for the Leaders Readers Network, a Congressional Youth Advisory Council participant, and Frisco Mayor's Youth Council member. In her free time, Pranavi enjoys crafting, baking, and reading books.
Fort Collins, CO
Attending an arts-focused high school, Samantha Reising co-founded the Music Equity Initiative to diversify her school's music repertoire and to advance underrepresented musicians and composers. In addition, she created her school's Mentorship Team where she leads a group of fellow high school students to reach 350+ middle school students through quarterly presentations. Founding the first two STEM clubs at her arts school, she advocated for the Colorado Chemistry Olympiad to be held statewide during COVID, qualifying for the National Exam. Samantha is the Principal Trombonist in the Denver Young Artist Orchestra and plans to continue her music and equity work while majoring in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University.
Hoping to replicate what her third-grade teacher gave her, Victoria works to build welcoming environments and lasting support systems. When she was 13, she co-founded STEM & Buds, a youth-driven, peer-mentorship-based nonprofit, to do that in the scientific community. Since then, they've built out dozens of education programs and are grateful to call 3,500 students and mentors family. In the classroom, she's helped lead speech and debate and student council initiatives; outside the classroom, she's helped organize racial justice and changemaking accessibility efforts. Currently, Victoria is exploring the concepts of trauma, museums, and mutual aid, and she wants to keep learning about the larger institutions and structures that shape us.
Ellie Reyna is driven by her passion for environmental advocacy, female empowerment, and mental health awareness. She is the Founder and Executive Director of "The Heartful Project," an online platform dedicated to spreading awareness on the impact of compassion on a community. She is the Co-President of her school's ECLIPSE (Environmental Awareness) Club, Vice-President of her school's "Health Information Project" program, and Student Chair of her school's "Green Champions" Waste Diversion Committee. Ellie became a Gold Award Girl Scout from her work with creating an interactive curriculum on compassion and kindness in schools and an Eagle Scout after designing and leading the execution of a mangrove nursery project at her school.
Combining his passions for agriculture and Food Science, Borlaug Scholar Caden Robinette presented his research on the Nigerian Cattle Crisis at the 2021 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute. As a result of this experience, Caden's research and work have impacted 500 million smallholder farmers across four continents and improved nutritional security for more than two billion people. As President of his school's FFA, Caden fosters inclusion, inspires future agriculturalists, and educates his community on the importance of agriculture. Focused on bringing awareness to his food desert community, he works full-time at his family's USDA meat processing facility and volunteers at his community garden. Caden plans on exploring food science in college.
With a deep passion for equity and empowerment, Varsha Saravanan is an IJDRR published first author and Regeneron STS Scholar who created a holistic community resilience index in her local community. She runs a social justice-themed collaborative platform called Perspective, volunteers as a crowdsourced mapper against FGM, and has created menstrual equity and girls' education resources as ambassadors for Girl Talk and Eco Femme. She takes part in mentorship to promote gender equality and recently co-taught 200+ students on International Women's Rights. An IB Diploma candidate, Varsha leads and assists her school's Interact Club, Ethics Bowl team, Ignition group, and participates at WISE at Stony Brook University. Next year, she plans to attend Stanford University!
Santa Barbara, CA
Olivia Seltzer is the 18 year old founder and sole writer of The Cramm. She started The Cramm after the 2016 presidential election, when she became inspired to make a difference. Since then, she has written over five hundred newsletters for The Cramm, spoken at NATO Engages and the IFTF Summit, been featured in NPR, Teen Vogue, TODAY, The Economist, and Forbes (among others), been selected as a Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leader, and written a book called "Cramm This Book" for Philomel (an imprint of Penguin Random House). Her goal? Changing the world - one Cramm at a time - and creating activists out of the next generation by informing them about the world's happenings.
Arushi Sharma is passionate about using technology to find innovative solutions to real-world problems. In 2021, she coded ServiceSPOTTER, a free iOS app that connects homeless and low-income community individuals with food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare services. Arushi has organized several blood drives with American Red Cross and works to empower girls to be future technology leaders as a TechGirlz board member. As President of her school's Spanish Honor Society and Key Club, Arushi volunteers in her community with her peers. She is also the editor-in-chief of her school's newspaper and captain of the varsity golf team. She plans on majoring in Computer Science. In her free time, Arushi enjoys baking, traveling, and drinking coffee.
As Global Policy Chair of Youth Against Sexual Violence, Emily is fighting to provide resources for undocumented immigrants who are victims of sexual assault, to require companies to provide data on the number of harassment complaints received annually, and to stop harassment cases from being mislabeled as gender discrimination. In addition, Emily believes entrepreneurial thinking is essential to solving our society's challenges and co-founded three startups with her sister to address sustainability, carbon footprint reduction, and closing the wealth gap. Emily will be part of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School community of brilliant minds who aspire to make the world a better place.
Hannah Shin cares deeply about advocating for age-friendly, disability-friendly communities. She has had the time of her life running her media nonprofit, the Elderly Embrace Care Network, and meeting/serving disability home residents, elderly immigrants, veterans, and nursing home residents through volunteer platforms. Hannah has also cherished her experiences like leading Pennsylvania DECA as the State President, representing 350,000+ youth across 100+ countries as the sole U.S. high school student on the first-ever Rotary International Interact Advisory Council, and working as a Youth Board Co-Chair for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Hannah is thrilled to explore social entrepreneurship and public policy in college and beyond.
Staten Island, NY
Justin Shnayder is a budding researcher and advocate. As founder of Erasing E-Waste, he combats the electronic waste crisis by democratizing access to electronics recycling services, recycling nearly 10,000 pounds of electronics thus far. Justin has also championed sustainability as a Garcia Research Scholar, developing novel perovskite solar cells and presenting his findings at the 2021 International Materials Research Society Symposium. A STEM aficionado, Justin leads his school's Math, Science Olympiad, and Envirothon teams. Justin is an 18-time Science Olympiad medalist, AIME qualifier, US Presidential Scholar Candidate, and National Merit Scholar. Justin will attend the University of Pennsylvania where he will study mathematics.
Madison Shorey embodies what it means to be a leader in all aspects of her life. Madison is a highly motivated student-athlete who is resilient and leads by example. She overcame being told "she would never play sports again" and gained State and Regional accolades within her first year back on the field. Madison has served as Belfast Area High School's 2022 Class President for four years and is Treasurer of the National Honors Society. Madison coaches for multiple youth Field Hockey Organizations and tutors her peers. Madison plans to dedicate her life to helping people be the best versions of themselves daily, both physically and mentally. Madison will attend Converse University, where she will play Field Hockey and be a part of the Honors and Women's Colleges.
Aditya Sirohi is an AI enthusiast and a dedicated social activist. As founder of Hand4Hand, he has supported over 10,000 at-risk community members and received three national grants for his efforts. He raises awareness about diverse AI applications by hosting professors from MIT, UPenn, CMU, McGill, and more as founder of AI Club. Through the Teaching Digital Literacy initiative, which received state and international grants, he provides equitable technology education to underrepresented and economically challenged youth. Moreover, he researches novel AI methods in epidemiological diagnosis and has engineered autonomous ocean exploration gliders and water purity sensors. In college, he plans on studying AI, business, and cognitive science.
Ocean Gate, NJ
Jordyn Small is the founder of Small Miracles, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to positively enhancing the lives of pediatric oncology patients. During treatment for an inoperable brain tumor, Jordyn noticed that teens were often overlooked within the children's hospital system. She created Small Miracles to validate children of all ages and has currently raised over $80,000 to deliver treatment bags and iPads to children with cancer. As a “Wish Kid," Jordyn wanted to grant a Make-a-Wish before accepting her own, so she formed a team and raised over $15,000. Jordyn holds many leadership roles in clubs and is a member of NHS. She plans to major in Business, minoring in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Eventually, Jordyn plans to attend Law School.
Legally blind since birth, Daniel Solomon is a social entrepreneur, concert violinist, and disability advocate passionate about creating equitable opportunities for students of all identities through arts education. Solomon is the founder of the Pinecrest City Music Project, Inc. (PCMP), a nonprofit that operates, funds, and instructs public school arts education programs for 502 students across Miami-Dade. Serving over 8,000 Miamians annually, PCMP is the first-ever minor-led organization awarded competitive grant contracts from Miami-Dade County, the State of Florida, and the National Endowment for the Arts, raising over $420,000 through monetary/in-kind support. Solomon is a rising freshman at Brown University studying business economics and music.
North Reading, MA
Shivani is an activist whose passion lies at the intersection of engineering and racial justice. She is the founder of WEinnov8, a program designed to foster an interest in technology among students of color. As founder/president of her school's Social Activism Club, she works in her community to provide anti-racist trainings, organize marches, and reform policy. Shivi also co-founded Women In Sports Tech (WiST) Next Gen, a program created to make the sports-tech industry more accessible to high school girls. Through partnerships with NCWIT and SportsHi, this initiative has reached over 20K youth nationwide. In her free time, Shivi loves to write and perform music, and play competitive softball. She plans to study both public policy and engineering in college.
McKenna Sun is an advocate who is passionate about environmental sustainability, education, and public health. By partnering with the National Sierra Club and Kentucky Utilities, she raised thousands of dollars to bring solar panel benches to her local high schools. As the Distinguished Young Woman of Kentucky, she empowers young women to develop strong communication and life skills. McKenna mentors underprivileged students in flute and guitar at her local middle school, and she spends her summers volunteering for the Baptist Health Lexington Hospital. She also conducts Alzheimer's disease and traumatic brain injury research at the University of Kentucky. In her free time, McKenna enjoys playing piano, hiking, ice skating, and trying new foods.
Maxwell Surprenant serves as CEO and Co-Founder of Catching Joy, Inc., a nonprofit which promotes youth volunteerism. His film, "The Impact of Giving Back," won Honorable Mention in the 2015 White House Student Film Festival. More recently, he delivered a TEDx Talk: “Youth Have Power and Passion and Can Change the World." Maxwell represents as an Asian-American journalist for platforms including Sports Illustrated Kids, Scholastic, Los Angeles Times/ High School Insider, and the international platform Write the World/ Civics in Action. He covered the 2016 and 2020 Presidential Elections. He's honored to have interviewed President Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Sonia Sotomayor, and Anderson Cooper. Maxwell will attend Harvard College this fall.
As an outspoken advocate and feminist, Colette can be found writing open letters on education policy, organizing protests, or writing Digital Resource Hub posts for Women Lead Arkansas. At school, she is the All Student Body President and President of MUN, Young Democrats, and Philosophy Club. After studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, Colette returned impassioned by language learning and became an intern for Project Olas, a group that provides Spanish lessons to learners led by mothers in the Zone 3 garbage dump community of Guatemala City. She plans to study Art History, Spanish, and Sociology, then become a curator to use her Spanish skills to bridge cultural gaps in curatorial spaces and encourage art's use as a tool for societal progress.
As a youth activist passionate about gender equality, queer liberation, and immigration reform, Isabella Thomas consistently advocates for change and progress in her community. She volunteers and lobbies for progressive legislation with Generation Ratify and the Human Rights Campaign, works with the University of Pennsylvania as a Youth Research Advisor for Project SMART, a ten-year funded initiative to reduce LGBTQ+ teenage nicotine abuse, and was elected by over 15,000 students to serve on the National Board of the High School Democrats of America. She's a National Hispanic Merit Scholar, Editor-in-Chief of her school's award-winning yearbook publication, and serves as Senior Class President. Isabella plans to study political science on a pre-law track.
Kaitlyn Tran is an advocate and storyteller passionate about amplifying voices in her communities. Globally, Kaitlyn serves as a UN Foundation Girl Up Teen Advisor and is a formal delegate at the 66th Commission on the Status of Women. She has also been selected as a speaker for the Women Moving Millions' Annual Summit. Nationally, Kaitlyn collaborated with AAPI organizations to create the National Data Coalition Against Anti-Asian Hate, which aggregates and publishes self-reported anti-Asian hate incident data. Recognized by the Princeton Prize in Race Relations and We Are Family Foundation, Kaitlyn aspires to advance racial equality while learning from and alongside her peers. Kaitlyn plans to study Political Science and/or Literature in college.
Ava Tsapatsaris is passionate about inciting positive change. Ava founded Uniting Against Breast Cancer, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which connects underserved women in New York City to cost-free breast cancer screening services. Ava is a three time Emmy nominated lead on-air reporter for My9's Teen Kids News and featured author in ""Inspiring Stories That Make A Difference By 75 Kids Who Changed Their Worlds."" Ava has raised over $100,000 for cancer research including projects such as a literacy and treatment room for St. Jude patients. As the first author of two journal articles on breast cancer screening disparities and Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar, Ava hopes to become a physician and medical correspondent.
Fairfield Twp, OH
Anie Udosen founded the diversity organization Fairfield For Change where she wrote her school district's land acknowledgment statement, developed an inclusive educational program, and coordinated virtual programming to engage thousands of students. Securing a $3000 grant to fund these initiatives, Anie's work was featured on PBS, Cincinnati Public Radio, and awarded the Princeton Prize. Anie also partnered with state officials to combat teen substance abuse and promote suicide prevention. Building on her passions, Anie wrote an article published by MIT about the dangers of racially-biased AI and coded many projects to empower diverse sets of users. In college, Anie aspires to use tech to address health disparities in underserved areas.
Chester Springs, PA
Aparna Vagvala is the founder and CEO of Help2C, a social business which has empowered female artisans in India by promoting their products while simultaneously addressing both local and global issues. Since 2017, she has funded medical camps, supports an orphanage, and built a strong network of volunteers worldwide. As founder and president of the C.H.A.N.G.E. club at her school, Aparna has also shared her commitment to service with her peers by encouraging leadership and community involvement. Through the talents and interests of her 40 dedicated members, her club has run nation-wide tutoring programs, workshops, drives, and more. In the future, Aparna hopes to study the many ways business, entrepreneurship, and economics can pave the way for global progress.
Cordelia Van der Veer is the founder of Families4Families Toledo, which provided over 25,000 meals to families in need during the pandemic. Passionate about activism and community engagement, Cordelia advocates for common-sense gun legislation as a National Advisory Board Member of Students Demand Action, is a two-time National History Day state champion, serves as the co-president of Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence, and is a research assistant at Ohio State. When not volunteering or organizing advocacy events, Cordelia can be found racing sailboats on Lake Erie and answering Quizbowl questions. She was selected for the United States Senate Youth Program and plans to study public policy, history, and data science in college.
Ashley Vazquez Romo
Stemming from her personal experiences, Ashley is a health equity activist who aims to help struggling immigrants within and beyond her community. Her work has always been focused on uplifting others. During COVID-19, she worked with a local non-profit to alleviate the disparities among low-income households and people of color. Through hours of service, she helped 2,000+ people receive vaccinations and 200+ receive food baskets. Ashley also serves as a volunteer at Sunrise Medical Hospital, American Red Cross, Spread the Word NV, and the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. She will attend Harvard University as a neuroscience major. She plans to become a surgeon and open free healthcare clinics across the Las Vegas Valley before expanding efforts nationally.
Eric Veal, Jr.
Eric Veal Jr. is the first African American President of the Illinois State Board of Education Student Advisory Council. He also serves as the Co-chair of the Illinois State Educational Equity Committee, making him the first-ever student to co-chair a state-mandated committee in Illinois. Eric has been a champion for systemic change, equity, and inclusion in schools across the country. He has created a secondary and post-secondary course that provides students with curricula that they can connect to and reflect on their experiences. Eric has presented at a plethora of conferences and events. He also mentors young leaders and enjoys his involvement in over twenty-five extra-curricular activities at Willowbrook High School.
Little Elm, TX
Vicky is passionate about medicine, education equity, and writing. Combining her medical and literary interests, she created her blog, Solar Storm Medicine, which is internationally recognized and published in hospitals. At her school, Vicky is heavily involved in AFJROTC, NHS, HOSA, and Red Cross Club, where she started education opportunity initiatives. Internationally, she works with UNICEF and American Red Cross to develop global humanitarian projects and promote health and education equity. Vicky aspires to pursue a career in sports medicine and combine the intersection of medicine and literature, planning to further engage in social justice and emphasize mental health. She's also a multi-sport athlete, playing Soccer and Lacrosse, and is an avid weightlifter.
New Vernon, NJ
Skylar is a science media creator whose work has taken her everywhere from the depths of a murky swamp to a lab researching racial bias in AI. Her articles and documentaries have been viewed thousands of times in LiveScience, Interesting Engineering, and more, where she connects the dots between scientific discovery and societal phenomena. Her webseries highlighting the discoveries of disabled scientists will be published this spring. Since 2016, she's led a team that designs and donates 3D-printed prosthetic hands to kids worldwide. She is an AIME Qualifier and New Jersey Governor's School Scholar. In her free time, she enjoys crochet, embroidery, and rock climbing. Skylar will continue her education at Brown University.
Ella Wang is a researcher, innovator, and cancer survivor passionate about pioneering real-world change with science and technology. As captain of her robotics team, she expands opportunities in computing for youth and disabled communities through programming courses, hackathons, and data science workshops. She has conducted research at Arizona State University, Yale University, and RSI, from developing interpretable deep learning models for COVID-19 detection to designing digital simulations for art preservation. Ella founded the Childhood Cancer Survivor and Sibling Association to provide creative, academic, and social support programs for survivors like herself. She plans to attend MIT in the fall, majoring in Computer Science.
Kyler Wang leads Spark Teen, a 501(c)(3) that seeks to solve broader issues of economic mobility by building startup ecosystems and entrepreneurial education programs for youth. In high school, he created historical research documentaries, wrote and edited for his school's magazine, and led Mission: Citizen, an organization helping Portland-area immigrants pass the U.S. citizenship exam. Beyond these interests, Kyler loves Brooklyn Nine-Nine, matcha lattes, and Korean fried chicken.
Miles Wang is a policy and economics aficionado who is particularly interested in the ethics of emerging technologies. He is captain of the USA Debate Team and president of his school team. He gives back to the forensics community as the Director of Finance for the nonprofit Project Dialogue and Debate, which hosts public speaking workshops and donates the proceeds to charity. He runs service projects, from a summer arts camp to a winter holiday gift drive, as Co-President of Artists Reaching to Society Club, and serves as a managing editor of his school newsmagazine. In his free time, Miles enjoys reading science fiction, playing tennis, and losing chess games.
Stephanie is a passionate science enthusiast and public health advocate. She is the author of Epidemiology Unmasked, a textbook used by thousands of students and the founder of Project Unmasked, a global campaign to promote public health literacy. Her advocacy has led to the incorporation of public health in school curricula and recognition by the US Congress. An avid researcher with publications in journals and international conferences, Stephanie attended MIT's Research Science Institute where she investigated a new drug for Alzheimer's disease. She is a 3x Science Olympiad national champion and an incoming intern with the Texas Senate. Stephanie will attend Harvard University with aspirations of a career in medicine and public policy.
Motivated by his adoption from China, Max has dedicated his life to giving back to the community. Through his involvement in international service with Rustic Pathways as a Fellowship Leader, where he worked in Peru, Fiji, and Costa Rica, to his founding of The Red Dragon Initiative, a project aimed at combatting the social and economic effects on Asian-American businesses from the pandemic, he plans to merge his passions for service and business in college. Max holds leadership positions in his school's Key Club, FBLA, Best Buddies, Student Council, and Writing Center–a tutoring program–and is the Chief Editor of the yearbook. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and playing soccer, where he recently helped lead his undefeated school team to a state championship.
Jordan Williams is the founder and creative content director of Untold Magazine, which provides an insider look into the lifestyle of young adults. Utilizing Untold to creatively advocate for change, she has organized music festivals, co-wrote a children's book, and planned events that promote early literacy. Being a community advocate, Jordan is a member of the Chicago Mayoral Youth Commission, where they aim to amplify youth voices to impact the city's policy conversations. To increase community engagement, Jordan is president of her chapter in Jack and Jill of America, where she led the effort to raise nearly $30,000 in the fight for homeless youth. Jordan plans on pursuing a career in public policy and journalism while maintaining her love of Spanish and film.
Tatiana Taylor is passionate about giving back to the community and assisting others. While president of the National Honor Society and an active member and leader in both her school and home communities, she works for change and to be the change so that other young people might follow in her footsteps. She was involved in various projects and programs concerning the study of the brain and nervous system at Ivy League colleges during her high school years, one of her many greatest passions. SheÂ intends to major in Neuroscience and Special Education as a future neurologist. She is excited to share her skills and learn from the other Coca-Cola Scholars.
Kingson strives to make his community a more equitable place for all. As co-founder of the People's Promise Youth Division, Kingson works to prepare the future for the future through youth-led civic engagement and community building. The Youth Division mitigates problems that affect the youth by proposing legislation at school boards and city councils, convincing the school board to establish a district-wide High School Voter Education Week. Under Kingson's direction, the Youth Division constructed a community house that provides college & career prep, tutoring, and lectures. Kingson is fascinated by Latin and the classics. He serves as 1st Vice President of his state's Junior Classical League and works to increase the appreciation of the classics across the state.
Henry Xie is passionate about making the explorations and career opportunities unlocked by STEM more accessible to all. Henry is the founder of his nonprofit, STEM Kids, and he directs the organization's efforts in running workshops and mentoring students. Additionally, Henry serves as a captain of his high school's math, Science Bowl, and Scholastic Bowl teams, where he encourages team members to develop the skills to succeed in challenging competitions. In the fall, Henry plans on attending Harvard University, where he will study applied mathematics and computer science. In his free time, Henry enjoys playing tennis with friends and family, learning new pieces on the violin, and reading opinion articles.
New York, NY
Seeing the need to prepare the leaders of tomorrow, Eileen founded the nonprofit Junior Economic Club of NYC. Hosting events, providing internships, and establishing sponsorships, she is dedicated to exposing determined, aspiring high school students to the business world. She has reached 450+ students across NYC and, as international Vice-Chair, 700+ students worldwide from 16 JEC chapters. She is also a researcher and has helped ConEdison to assist electricity vulnerable people across NYC. Passionate about fostering girls' love of STEM, she teaches math and CS at her all-girls school across all three divisions. A 4-time AIME qualifier and USACO Gold level programmer, she plans to study Computer Science at Harvard University in the fall.
Anouk is a spoken word poet and journalist dedicated to exploring the emancipatory power of language. As Santa Clara County's Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate, she founded “Writing Towards Justice," a poetry program for incarcerated youth focused on reimagining the carceral system through a lens of restorative justice. She serves as an EIC of her school newspaper, a co-founder of her school's Anti-Racism Task Force and a member of the Tech Museum student board. Her poetry and essays, which explore Asian American history and teenage girlhood, have been featured by Stanford University, Planned Parenthood, Refinery29, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. In her free time, Anouk enjoys riding horses and watching documentaries. She plans to attend Yale University.
Grand Rapids, MI
Dahai Yonas is an Eritrean-American who is passionate about serving his church community as a deacon. Currently, he works in the translation department of the National Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Ministry; reducing the language barrier that hinders the growth of the diaspora in America. Additionally, he is dedicated to a wide range of social issues that continue to impact communities of color. Among his most notable accomplishments was founding the Black Student Union at his high school and playing an active role in the NAACP youth council to bring awareness to the years-old practice of redlining in Grand Rapids. He has not yet decided on a college but plans to study Public/Global Health, Business, and African American Studies.
Alex Young is a leader and changemaker working to better his community through advocacy and service. Alex has led the bipartisan effort in Kentucky to end the use of corporal punishment in schools. His work led to the Kentucky House of Representatives passing legislation on the topic in 2020 and the Kentucky Board of Education voting to curb the practice. In addition to his advocacy, he has assumed leadership roles on a mayoral campaign and in his parish's Sister Thea Bowman Society for Social Justice. At school, Alex leads in the Student Activities Council, the Ryken Service Club, and the Student Advisory Panel. He helped head the Kentucky Youth Assembly and represented Kentucky in the United States Senate Youth Program in 2021.
Always eager to learn and teach others, Alina noticed alarming gaps in public education and made it her goal to address them. As Founder of Money Not Magic, she spread financial literacy to hundreds through biweekly workshops, student-powered blogs, educational videos, and the published book “Growing Your Money Tree: An Introduction to Personal Finance". She serves as PENN HOSA State President and the Youth Board Co-Chair at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, where she helped expand the mission of both to spread healthcare and global issues awareness in an equitable manner. Alina is the Founder of Sustainability In Our Schools, Inc., a Bank of America Student Leader, and a Campaign Fellow closely involved with local politics.
A UNHCR Global Young Champion, YOUNGA Youth Delegate, and internationally recognized artist, Liz has created opportunities for refugees, minorities, and marginalized youth through animations, billboards and murals. Recently, with a group of 60 activists across the world, she helped contribute $7000 to UNICEF's #AimingHigher Campaign.
Her art and activism have been awarded by Scholastic and YoungArts, published in multiple magazines, and featured at the UN Young Activist Summit. Liz is also the captain of Speech & Debate club, editor of her school's literary magazine, and president of Health Club and Asian Student Association.
As Liz works toward the next steps in her life, she hopes to continue to inspire others through color and community.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation celebrates and empowers visionary leaders who are refreshing the world. With its 34th class of Coca-Cola Scholars, the Foundation has provided more than $78 million in scholarships to over 6,600 program alumni who together have become a powerful force for positive change. Learn more about how to become a Coke Scholar here.