Get to know our 35th 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 6,750 visionary leaders who are refreshing the world together.
meet our 2023 coca-cola scholars
East Stroudsburg, PA
Omar has always had a burning passion for tech – whether it be programming, designing, or other digital media. Despite being colorblind, Omar competes and excels in his academics and extracurriculars – promising to change the world and share his knowledge. A senior from a small town in Pennsylvania, Omar founded a computer science club at his school, where students learn and expand their knowledge in programming, web design, movie creation, and other types of digital media. His goal is to create equal access to opportunities in computer science by teaching programming to middle school students. Omar will be attending Yale University in the upcoming fall majoring in Computer Science and Economics.
Sydney is a vision oriented leader who is passionate about empowering her community through positivity and financial literacy. She founded the Financial Literacy Initiative, serves as the President of the Positivity Project, President of the National Technical Honor Society, Vice President of the National Honor Society and is active as a Girl Scout serving for 13 years. She is the Social Media and Marketing Manager for the non-profit, The Hollingsworth Foundation, bringing awareness to Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 7. She is an advocate for helping minorities gain access to financial literacy and hopes to find a cure for SCA Type 7. Sydney wants to major in Business to help bridge the wealth gap in the world by starting a consulting firm.
Eden Prairie, MN
Mohit Agarwal is an advocate and leader dedicated to advancing educational equity. As the Founder & Executive Director of Educaturu, a multi-state non-profit, Mohit has lobbied in the Senate, partnered with multiple F500 companies, and raised over $80,000 in educational materials. At school, Mohit founded the Economics Club – where he championed the National Econ Bowl and Olympiad – and is a nationally top-ranked PF debater, DECA competitor, and extemporaneous speaker. Further, he’s conducted behavioral economics research and was recognized as a 2022 Regeneron ISEF Finalist for his work on applications of computer vision in skin cancer detection. Mohit plans to study CS & Economics and spends his free time bouldering, building model planes, and performing stand-up.
Hashem Albezreh is a passionate young leader and community organizer with a strong track record of transforming vision to reality. In addition to being the President of his senior class, President of his school’s Interact Club and Debate, and other initiatives at his school, Hashem has successfully founded and led several organizations, raising funds, and working with diverse teams to achieve national and international recognition.
He is a board member at the local interfaith forum and the cofounder of an international youth initiative funded by the World Religion Foundation that utilizes art to build leadership skills and promote collaboration for social justice.
Hashem is also an avid pianist and competitive soccer player.
Hussein Almosawi is an ambitious and forward-thinking senior at Butler Traditional High School who has a passion for making a difference in his community. In addition to volunteering to tutor in his high school, he is also a soccer coach at Gutermuth Elementary School and is a proud member of prestigious organizations such as Governor Scholars Program and Whitney M. Young Scholars Program. He is determined to use his knowledge to contribute to his community and is dedicated to making a positive mark that will last for generations. After graduating from high school, Hussein plans to major in Computer Science and Engineering with the goal of using his skills to drive meaningful change in his community.
Cherie Animashaun is committed to creating equitable spaces for children through education, policy, and literature. Since publishing her first book at 12, Cherie has founded three organizations, Her Rising Initiative, Street 4 Souls, and Innovate, to empower marginalized women, youth, and unstably housed individuals around the world. Cherie started a statewide program, Girls Who Lead, offering free workshops in STEM, arts, and law to 200+ girls. As President of her school’s Black Student Union and the Student Representative on her District’s Curriculum and Standards Committee, Cherie has played an integral role in initiating the first African History Course and newly enacted hate speech policies in Niles Township Schools.
Aminata Ba is a Senegalese-American leader dedicated to paving pathways built on equity and accessibility. A member of the Mississippi Student Advisory Council and the Southaven Mayor’s Youth Council, Aminata gives a voice to the thousands of students she serves as student body president. Representing herself on the state and national level, she has won the QuestBridge “USA Award,” the Secretary of State “Promote the Vote” Essay, and awards in debate. As a champion for voter advocacy, Aminata has enacted plans for a voter registration/education drive in her community. Aminata will continue her interests by majoring in Public Policy and Economics in order to better understand issues that marginalized groups face regarding socioeconomic disparities in rural America.
Akshay Badlani is the founder of Still Standing Strong Stories (SSSS), an organization where people can write stories about overcoming a difficult experience and how that experience made them stronger. He founded SSSS during the COVID pandemic, hoping that viewers can use SSSS as an outlet for hope. In addition, Akshay was president of the American India Foundation’s Junior Board. He led several initiatives to combat socioeconomic issues in India, raising $120k to support causes in India. As an advocate, Akshay interned under politicians to tackle issues such as gun violence. He also participated in several geography, history, and science competitions at the national and international levels, and conducted genetics research at UChicago’s GenSCAPE Lab.
Dix Hills, NY
Samir Batheja is the founder/president of StandUp for Teens, a nonprofit dedicated to bridging the educational resource gap. With the help of twelve volunteers, Standup for Teens has distributed more than six thousand books and established fifteen mini-libraries in homeless shelters. Samir is also involved in his school. He started two Seminar Series, one themed for math and another for science, and invited professors from universities across the US. He founded and is president of Inner Balance, a yoga and meditation club, and the English Honor Society. Samir, an avid researcher, was named a Regeneron STS Scholar. He plays varsity baseball. Samir enjoys watching sports, listening to music, and playing with his dog in his free time.
Christopher is committed to service and mentorship. A longtime volunteer with Best Buddies, he created a bi-monthly virtual Best-Buddies-At-Home program during the pandemic for middle school students with special needs. He serves his community as a Youth Commissioner, music mentor, and Eagle Scout, and is a John F. Kennedy Make a Difference Award recipient. A musician, Christopher was selected internationally for The Kennedy Center/NSO Summer Music Institute. An advocate for multicultural voices, he was a U.S. State Department National Security Language Initiative cultural youth ambassador. At school, he is Student Senate president, marching band drum major, and a host of the Asian American Club cable show Fishbowl 256. He will attend Harvard College in the fall.
Okezue is the inventor of the WeArm, a low-cost prosthetic arm and founder of Fidutam, a microfinancing application for the unbanked. He has raised over $400,000 in corporate support and prizes for his enterprises, which have been used by over 10,500 amputees and financial vulnerable communities. Bell has advised Perfect Day alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, the American Lung Association, the United Nations, and more on climate and education policy, and hosts STEM workshops that have reached 65,245 underserved students across 42 countries and 75,019 students across 80 countries and 27 states overall. He has also conducted published, graduate-level research at MIT, RSI, Harvard, and more. He plans on studying EE and symbolic systems in college.
Sahil is an advocate for healthcare and education equity. He is the founder of the Healthcare 4 Kids Program and co-founder of Bridging the Gap, an organization that provides tutoring, material supplies, and specialized classes. Passionate about neuroscience, he is an intern at the Palm Health Foundation where he researches brain health, an intern at Bethesda Medical Center, and founder of the neuroscience club. He is a Kovner Opportunity Scholar, Sunshine State Scholar, chairman of the Nepalese Association of Florida Youth Forum, founder of the Amplifying the Arts Program, and vice-president of his school’s piano department. Sahil hopes to become a neurosurgeon who opens brain development research centers in developing countries.
Shriya Bhat is a passionate scientist, public speaker, and champion of affordable medicine. She founded the 501(c)3 non-profit SySTEM for Success, through which she has led projects to foster STEM education in underserved communities, including hard-of-hearing children and children living in rural India. She has conducted microbiology research from a workbench at a local clinic lab to Harvard Medical School through Research Science Institute (RSI) in efforts to combat antibiotic resistance and innovate affordable medications. Shriya is also a nationally-ranked public speaker, ambassador to a global voicebank, and advocate for those with speaking disorders. Her AI speech assistant app, SpeakUp, placed first at the Global Startup Challenge and was awarded $20,000.
Ananya is a grassroots policy advocate. After leading a movement securing free menstrual products for all local high schools, she now works with LA legislators on menstrual equity bills and is the PERIOD Movement’s LA Community Outreach Director. She found her passion for criminal justice after interning at her parish’s juvenile court and has since led the LA Youth Advisory Committee to draft topical statewide resolutions. As a Girl Up International Teen Advisor, she works with the United Nations as a gender equity activist. At school, she is president of NHS, Model UN, UNICEF, and TED-Ed. She has played the violin for 14 years and helps run her family’s Indian restaurant. Ananya will attend Columbia University to study Urban Studies and Political Science.
Liv Birnstad is a Senior at Capital City Public Charter School and is currently serving her second term on the D.C. State Board of Education. Within the State Board, Liv sits on the Education Standards Committee and is a co-chair on the Student Advisory Committee. Outside of her time on the board, Liv is a member of her schools Queer and Trans Student Alliance which hosts and creates annual school-wide professional development sessions for teachers and staff. Liv is an award-winning debater and recently began coaching middle school students in the fundamental skills of debate and international relations. With the nonprofit Civic Suds, Liv is the head of LGBTQ+ programming and is planning D.C.’s first city-wide Queer Prom!
New Orleans, LA
Landon Bishop is a filmmaker, historian, and community advocate. As founder of the first high-school-run Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Site in Louisiana, he’s worked to combat economic inequality, achieved $20,000 for local communities, and received national accolades. With the Historic New Orleans Collection and Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, he chronicled Black changemakers through documentaries. While in his Foundations of Education class, he authored a research paper focusing on the mental health of students of Color and was chosen to present at the American Education Research Association. In college, Landon plans to study Economics and Film and Media Studies, hoping to tell stories that bring new and untold perspectives to the main stage.
Nicholas Booth is a civic leader, tackling challenges both local and global. After winning an electoral redistricting contest, Nicholas drew maps, petitioned his legislators, and testified before his governor’s office, ensuring fair representation for all Pennsylvanians. In his immediate community, Nicholas has helped local retailers recover from Pandemic challenges by working with his town to host a multitude of festivals and events. By leveraging his love for computers, Nicholas has also led an initiative to donate over fifty computers to underserved children, helping to build an elementary school in rural Kenya. Additionally, he is a track captain and president of his class, FBLA, and MUN. Nicholas will attend Dartmouth next fall.
Leslie Bravo is passionate about promoting STEM and advocating for climate change. As the founder and CEO of STEM Academy For Girls, she provides girls with opportunities to explore and engage with STEM. She has also founded Climate Control Network and Green Empowerment, both focusing on climate change and creating action driven projects to educate communities about sustainable practices. Leslie was selected to speak and share her efforts at Stanford University’s Democracy, Civil Society, and Digital Technology Conference. She has also conducted chemotherapy research at the University level, serves as president for both the National Honor Society chapter and her school’s leadership club, and is the captain for her high school soccer team.
Calvert City, KY
Cadence Brown is a youth advocacy organizer and peer researcher with the Kentucky Student Voice Team as the Cross-Organizational Coordinator. She has a strong interest in the intersections between gender-based violence and education justice. Cadence is a student engagement organizer with Know Your IX, an organization focused on sexual violence survivor organizing as it pertains to Title IX. She has experience in youth participatory action research, studying peer relationships, learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, and race, ethnicity, and school climate. In her community, she works in her school’s youth service and family resource center and interns with the local domestic violence crisis center. Cadence will be attending Yale University.
Daniel Camacho is a leader who lives to serve others in his community. Being Student Council President at Rogers High School, he has been able to continue to be a host of blood and food drives. His council has done a fantastic job raising school spirit through fundraisers and creative beautification. Daniel is also a Drum Major for the Rogers High School Marching Mountaineer Band. When it’s not marching season, he plays the bassoon in the symphonic band. He made All-State Symphonic Orchestra as a bassoonist. Daniel’s Hispanic heritage and passion for representing others like him have led him to become president of the Rogers High School chapter of the League of United Latin Citizens. The club gives a taste of Latin culture and welcomes all.
Allen Park, MI
Lidia Cappelletti is an author and advocate. She has authored the young adult book Half the Truth and a poetry book Sparks & Ashes, which reflects on the many facets of being a teenager in today’s world. Serving as President of her school’s SADD chapter, she planned and executed its first Red Ribbon Week to advocate for passengers and encourage safe decisions on the roads. This project earned the club the Exceptional Service Project Award. She has also served as her Student Council’s Executive Board President orchestrating a Charity Week initiative, raising thousands of dollars for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Children’s Heart Foundation, Kids Talk, First Step, and Night Angels. This fall, Lidia will be studying business.
North Royalton, OH
Varuni Chopra is the founder of Bridge the Gap Initiative – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that connects senior citizens with high school students for free technology lessons, bridging the intergenerational gap. Through her organization, she raised over $10,000 in funding to reach over 3,000 senior citizens internationally. She was also named a Prudential Emerging Visionary, Hershey’s Heartwarming Young Hero, T-Mobile Changemaker, and Awesome Foundation Grant Winner for her service work. As a leader in her community, she also served as Red Cross Club president, member of the District Strategic Planning team, and intern at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. This fall, Varuni plans to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology to study engineering and data analytics.
Colorado Springs, CO
Caleb is a Coloradan who is passionate about tackling extreme poverty. For the past ten years, he has been a speaker, advocate, and fundraiser with World Vision. He is also student body president, a two-time speech and debate state champion, FBLA district president, and a student attorney with Teen Court. His hobbies include snowboarding and studying apologetics. This fall, Caleb plans on attending Harvard as a Cameron Impact Scholar. He is the son of Vinh and Leisle Chung.
Bloomfield Hills, MI
Isabella Cook thrives on creating art and inspiring change. An avid photographer and digital artist, she is published on Vogue.com as part of PhotoVogue Global and on BBC.com. She is featured in Scholastic’s Best Teen Artists 2021 and 2022 and earned five Scholastic national gold medals. As founder of Comfort 4 Kids in Court, an organization working to reduce child anxiety in court, Isabella authored two books to educate children on the legal process. Isabella, a Girl Scout Ambassador, is a national Gold Award recipient and served as GSSEM’s Young Woman of Distinction. At school, she is secretary of the Honor Council, captain of the varsity swim team, and president of the Mental Health club. Isabella will attend Brown University this fall.
Tyler Cooper forged a path aiming for inquiry and solving real-world problems. His family’s story inspired him to start GoCitizen from a mission-critical passion to prepare Legal Permanent Residents for the U.S. Naturalization process. Through partnerships and perseverance he assists many in their path to Citizenship. He uses award-winning technology to link people and educate, bridging the gap between the connected and the disconnected. His love of innovation continues to drive his Engineering and AI research and team recognition at International Events. He is dedicated to teach and inspire with a guiding philosophy to experience and empathize through unique and valuable experiences that empower and motivate him as a life-long learner and world changer.
New Windsor, NY
Vincenzo (Enzo) Damato is a high-impact computer science researcher, innovator, and educator. He is the youngest person globally to bring an IBM mainframe online and has been building and running an extensive three-rack server lab for the past eight years. Enzo uses this equipment to help educate others in computer science, creating and teaching his high school’s first AP Computer Science course and founding a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to provide quality computer science resources and education to the underprivileged. When not maintaining his lab, developing the latest cutting-edge software, or furthering technical literacy, Enzo keeps busy working as an avid entrepreneur running a managed service and software development company.
Staten Island, NY
An impassioned advocate for social justice, Alissar founded and directs the nonprofit Public Health PHC-publichealthphc.com-which hosts advocacy days and fundraisers while sharing globally accessible resources on issues like menstrual equity and gun violence. Music has been integral to her creativity and advocacy work; for one, she composes raps advocating for blood donations! At school, she is President of Student Government and Captain of the tennis team. A hospital volunteer researching anorexia and an advocate introducing bills in New York’s Assembly for childhood cancer, Alissar hopes to, one day, join Doctors Without Borders. Her hobbies include learning languages and performing-recently as Regina George in Mean Girls: The Musical.
Beach Park, IL
Jared Dawkins is an advocate for civil rights and social change. As the President of his high school’s National Honor Society, he encourages high school students to give back to their community in innovative and meaningful ways. He has also formed a Project Literature Book Club at his high school to promote his love for reading and to increase students’ access to diverse, culturally-relevant books. Jared is also passionate about progressing the equity and safety of his community. In light of this, he has led a project to get benches installed at bus stops and currently leads a Drug Prevention/Awareness club at his high school.
As a self-proclaimed agent of change, Carolyn has strived to reach education equity within her community and many others. Through her zealous advocacy, she has helped organize funding for the establishment of community schools within her district. Alongside her peers, she is always ready to hold space with community leaders and political figures to help communicate student needs in academia. With the student-led organization, La Cosecha, she has deciphered data to encourage her school district to accurately distribute funding across all schools. She has published several articles nationally, discussing the challenges many first-generation students face when applying to college. She currently spends time programming and writing for her blog: Pivotal Perspectives.
Tom Dubnov is an Israeli-American passionate about addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict & building a more just Israeli society. By founding Project Zkor, an international nonprofit dedicated to honoring fallen Israeli soldiers from underprivileged & minority backgrounds, Tom has raised thousands of dollars for bereaved families & organized commemoration events for communities around the world. Tom is an APEX scholar-artist, utilizing ethnographic research & visual design to investigate Drone Warfare’s role in asymmetric occupations. Tom is the chapter president of the Greater Washington DC Tzofim Scouts, a Varsity Cross-Country runner, & an Allon Centre Youth Social Entrepreneur. Tom will be enrolling at Princeton University this fall.
Sarah Dufays is a trilingual Colombian and French change-maker with a passion for ethical, socially-impactful computer science. As an AI-enthusiast and one of the youngest Certified Ethical Hackers, president of her school’s Computer Science Pre-professional Program, and founder of the nonprofit Compsivity, she unlocks computing opportunities for youth and underrepresented communities. Having raised $120,000 worth of hackathon prizes; had internships or mentorships for companies such as ALTEN and Microsoft; and led several winning teams for national competitions, she hopes to become a successful tech entrepreneur. Moreover, she is an avid hiker, two-time Taekwondo black belt, and National Hispanic Scholar. Sarah plans on studying Computer Science at MIT this fall.
New Orleans, LA
Lauren Ejiaga is a STEM researcher and environmental advocate passionate about uplifting her community. She conducted multiple research projects on climate change issues and has been recognized by NJSHS, US Stockholm Junior Water Prize, and Broadcom MASTERS. She founded a series of workshops called the Conservation and Restoration Conjunction to foster interest in STEM education and environmental protection among youth, which was honored with the international Brower Youth Award. Lauren leads the Native Plants Project for Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and is an inaugural member of the 2022 National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Rising Leaders Initiative. She plans to pursue neuroscience and environmental studies in college.
Oklahoma City, OK
Lindsay Flores is passionate about education inequality and its effect on marginalized students in her community and beyond. She is the founder of Higher Education Within Reach: a college prep program educating local high school students on attending college without financial debt. Lindsay is also Key Club president, Stage Crew manager, a teacher at her church’s nursery, and co-author of â€œStories from The Heightsâ€. From this, her purpose in life is to teach in order to create fewer problems for the children of tomorrow. Her future career path involves returning to her high school to be a teacher where she will have the privilege of being a benevolent adult in students’ lives and an avid listener to their stories where there has been none.
Connor is passionate about using technology to support those in his community and beyond. As the founder of Devs Do Good, an Iowa-based nonprofit, he organizes hackathons where students interested in computer science design websites for local charities. As a computer science researcher, Connor has built tools that help programmers more efficiently debug code and generate computer science exam questions for professors. During the summer, Connor has interned at MITRE Corporation and Workiva as a software engineer. When he’s not programming, Connor serves as secretary of philanthropy on his school’s student council and is a member on his school improvement advisory council. Connor plans to study computer science at Stanford University.
Cooper City, FL
Luke Freed is a high-impact activist, changemaker, and researcher dedicated to increasing financial literacy and combating economic inequality. As the founder of the Financial Education Initiative, he has led financial literacy programs for 200+ students and spearheaded petitions to policymakers, prompting them to draft legislation pending in Congress. He serves as Vice-President on the international student advisory board for Young Investors Society, where he coordinates meetings, events, and fundraisers for 9,000+ students. Luke represented the US in the World Economics Cup, and has also published research in the WFUNA-backed International Social Science Conference for Youth. He plans to study economics and public policy in college.
Caroline is the founder and executive director of The World in Us, an educational nonprofit cultivating cultural awareness and global citizenship across 30 countries. She also co-founded Aster Lit, an international literary magazine illuminating diverse youth voices. As the Oregon Youth Governor and student advisor to the State Board of Education, she represents over 550K students in advocating for youth civic engagement and equitable education policies. She’s also served as a U.S. Senate Youth Program delegate, NSLI-Y Alumni Representative, tech equity researcher, and her school’s ASB president. She will attend Harvard University. In her free time, she enjoys playing the flute, taking walks, and maintaining her 1,200+ day Duolingo streak.
Dana Garibaldi Saenz
Dana Garibaldi is a Latina immigrant who is passionate about STEM education for underrepresented individuals. As the Founder of Miss Scientist, she provides STEM access to female and minority youth in her community. She organized the international She Can STEM Virtual Event, featuring female scientists from NASA, Microsoft, and more. Through the MITES Semester program, her investigative article on diabetes rates in Latinos was nationally published. She is also a Youth Leadership Board Member for the 501(c)3 educational equity nonprofit GripTape, Head Captain of her Science Olympiad team, Class President, and a nationally-qualifying Speech and Debate competitor. She plans to study Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard.
Glen Allen, VA
Samantha launched a webpage where students worldwide can anonymously discuss ways schools can improve mental health. Based on their responses, she helped publish a thirty-page policy report detailing culturally responsive mental healthcare. She co-authored the “Bill of Rights to Support the Mental Health of Girls…of Color” with the National Black Women’s Justice Institute and Georgetown Law. She is the Chief Operating Officer of the “Diversify Our Narratives” nonprofit that’s been featured in Time Magazine and has 200,000 followers on Instagram. Samantha interviewed the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Color Purple” and earned an embossed Certificate of Accomplishment from Princeton University for her work in race relations. She will be attending Harvard.
Samantha loves spending time in the Sierras, teaching figure skating, and intersectional gender justice. Through an English class assignment, she discovered her passion for menstrual equity which inspired her legislative advocacy in the Nevada State Legislature. She spearheaded legislation that would require public schools to provide menstrual products inside bathrooms at no cost to students. Understanding the importance of mutual aid, she co-founded Red Equity, an organization that works to end period poverty through advocacy, distribution, and education. Samantha enjoys fly-fishing, skiing, and spending time with her family. She will be attending the University of Virginia as a Jefferson Scholar.
As a biracial immigrant, Elaine embodies her mixed identity through interdisciplinary interests and exploration. She is the co-founder of Neveryone Neverywhere, a mixed-race affinity group that empowers multiracial youth to explore all aspects of their identities. Elaine is also the Executive Director of Programs at Leaders Across the World, a youth-led virtual international exchange program. She is the president of her school’s Science Olympiad team and Asian Student Union, as well as a lifelong chorister and theater enthusiast. An advocate for peer-to-peer learning, Elaine organizes student-led support and mentoring systems. She is motivated by others’ stories, feedback, and support, complemented by a strong inner vision for an inclusive, equitable future.
Michael Gonzalez McNeil
Deer Park, TX
Michael is passionate about making environmentalism more attainable to â€œdirtyâ€ communities. Along with the Go Green Club, he’s installed recycling bins in his high school’s cafeteria and advocated for eco-friendly alternatives to Deer Park City council members. He has also engineered a motorized recycling bin to sort aluminum cans and plastic bottles via object identification to prevent cross-contamination when practicing eco-friendly waste management. He loves leading food repack shifts at the Houston Food Bank, collaborating with cardiologists in the Electrophysiology Clinical Research Innovations Lab at the Texas Heart Institute, gardening with his mom, and playing tennis with his dad. He has been admitted to the Computer Science program at UT Austin.
Nipun leads his community in eroding barriers against healthcare and scientific equity, melding humanism, medicine, and research. As Chairman of the International Youth Neuroscience Association, Nipun led 8,000+ members from 650+ chapters, spearheading global access to neuroscience education. As COO and Co-Founder of NeuralVillage, Nipun helped construct a school in Kwali, Nigeria to promote health literacy. Whether performing neurological research with the National Science Foundation or Harvard Medical, coaching students in communication as Co-Founder and VP of his school’s Speech and Debate team, or fundraising for the Childhood Cancer Society, he always strives to foster empathy and compassion. Nipun is an aspiring pediatric neurologist.
West Des Moines, IA
Claire Gu is a passionate researcher and youth STEM education advocate. She founded AI for IA, a group of elementary school clubs aiming to provide young girls exposure to the field of artificial intelligence. A Research Science Institute Scholar, Claire has conducted multiple research studies, including developing deep learning models for harmful algal bloom prediction and optimizing the design process for nanoscale optical lenses. She is also a competitive athlete, having won the Iowa Girls High School State Singles Championship in tennis last summer. During her free time, Claire enjoys playing the violin, biking, and reading history books. In college, Claire plans to study data science, biochemistry, and public policy.
San Antonio, TX
Hannah Guan is a mathematician, researcher, and changemaker. She was named an AMC 12A Young Women in Mathematics winner and participates in the USA Mathematical Olympiad, the USA Physics Olympiad, and the USA Computing Olympiad in the Gold Division. Hannah has research experience in the interdisciplinary fields of statistics, artificial intelligence, and genomics. She uses statistical models and machine learning algorithms to conduct genetic studies on aging and age-related diseases. Hannah founded San Antonio Math Include (SaMi) to provide greater access to STEM education to all students from different backgrounds, experiences, and cultural perspectives. SaMi offers free classes & summer camps for all students from 42 states in the U.S. and four other continents.
Not only is Shanmathi a tech enthusiast, but she is also a fervent advocate for educational equity. Through her non-profit initiative, Project Infinite, Shanmathi has provided programming resources to 800+ students from marginalized groups across the globe. She uses her voice to advocate for STEM education by speaking to state legislators and serving on her county’s teen advisory board. Shanmathi works in artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive systems research through programs at Georgia Tech and MIT, where she strives to develop ethical solutions in AI. At school, she serves as the President of FBLA and Computer Science Club. Beyond academics, Shanmathi expresses her creativity as a fashion entrepreneur and Bharatnatyam dancer.
Oyster Bay, NY
Sabrina is an author, poet, activist, researcher, musician, model, and humanitarian. She’s a Regeneron STS and World Science Scholar, and a writer-activist who represented the USA to speak out against climate injustice and perform her poetry at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). She’s the recipient of the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Biden, a candidate for the US Presidential Scholars Program, and the winner of the Civic Expression Award and 9 national medals from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Sabrina is the founder of Girl Pride International and Long Island Laboring Against COVID-19. Her work has been featured by Disney, NBC News, KBC, Points of Light, and commended by the White House, US Congress, and Michelle Obama.
Asanshay Gupta is a student at Atlanta International School, but also a designer, app developer, nonprofit founder, and maker dedicated to building products that make the world a better place. He got started building an eye controlled wheelchair for paralysed people, and then moved on to Oxygen Planner, an app that helps medical professionals budget oxygen in times of crisis. Since its release in late 2020, Oxygen Planner has grown to serve over 1700 users in medical facilities in over 110 countries, and continues to grow. He loves design thinking, as can be seen in his latest project, the Ingenuity Foundation, which provides schools all over the world with design thinking workshops and grants. Asanshay is also a TEDx speaker and avid photographer.
Zoya Haq is a passionate storyteller & educational policy advocate. As the president of HiStory Retold, a global, student-run initiative working to diversify history classrooms, Zoya advocates for curriculum inclusivity alongside more than 50 student leaders by drafting policy items, developing curriculum resources, & collaborating with legislators & educators. Zoya is also the founder of The Tahira Project, an initiative in memory of her grandmother working to improve global literacy through targeted fundraising. She has produced 2 short, oral-history based films focused on local organizing and has been recognized as an Ashoka Young Changemaker, Prudential Emerging Visionary, & Princeton Prize in Race Relations winner. She will study History at Yale this fall.
Missouri City, TX
Rehman is a passionate human rights advocate who has been recognized as a WHO Adolescent Champion (PMNCH), a UN NGO Representative & Young Ambassador, and a UN Refugee Agency Young Champion for their work with iCure, an organization they founded at the age of 11. iCure aims, across its 30+ international chapters that have helped 60,000 people, to improve public health access, education, and policy. Rehman additionally has extensive experience consulting for organizations such as UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, UN Human Rights, UN Women, and the governments of the UK, New Zealand, and European Union with over 17 first-authored papers. In the future, they hope to develop culturally competent policies to improve the well-being of underserved communities.
San Diego, CA
Athena Hernandez strives to be a role model for other Latinas interested in exploring the world of technology. As the only Latina in her STEM classes, she decided to take the necessary steps toward change and founded Codificar con Coco (Coding with Coco; Coco is her middle name), where she works to bridge the Latine gap in technology one student at a time. Later on, Athena published “Como Codificar para Niñ@s: Una Introduccion a Python,” a 178-page Spanish-language book for teenage students who want to start coding. Through outreach, her book is now in many schools, libraries, and households across the US and Mexico. Athena’s passions have been recognized as an NCWIT Aspirations in Computing National Winner and a Hispanic Heritage Foundation National Youth Awardee.
Carlos Hernandez Santiago
San Marcos, CA
Carlos Hernandez Santiago is passionate about bridging the gap between underrepresented students and the resources necessary to succeed in school and beyond. His experiences as a first-generation and immigrant student motivated him to take advantage of his education, while also teaching him the importance of an educationally equitable world. Through his leadership positions in school clubs, college access programs, and national non-profit organizations, Carlos has provided students with scholarship opportunities, college application workshops, a college fair, and much more. Additionally, Carlos hopes to work in environmental conservation after college and work for a non-profit organization or even create his own in order to support students like himself.
Katie Hewlett has had leadership opportunities all over the US. First, KAtie was chosen to attend General Tommy Frank’s International Four-Star Leadership Program in Oklahoma. Second, she served as both HOBY and RYLA ambassadors. Katie has served as a state 4-H Ambassador and as a state 4-H FCS ambassador. She was also able to attend Georgia’s National Congress, the National Youth Summit Series in Washington DC, 4-H Nationals in Denver, and FBLA Nationals in Chicago. In addition, Katie started her own business called Creative Book Folding. This business works to save books from landfills by creating beautiful works of art out of recycled books. Finally, she started Monsters for Munchkins, a service club that has made and donated over 1000 felt monsters to hospitals.
New Orleans, LA
Abigail Hu is an education equity advocate and a founder and Executive Director of Asian Youth for Civic Engagement (AYCE), an action organization that connects young AAPI students across the country to local campaigns and civic engagement opportunities. She has fought for and implemented the first Asian American Studies course taught in Louisiana and has organized national workshops on civic participation and inclusive history. She believes strongly in community-centered policy and has researched the impact of data and historical erasure in her city of New Orleans; she hopes to use this research as grounds for representative, compassionate, and equitable education everywhere. Abigail plans to study Education, Peace and Conflict, and Political Science in college.
Erin is passionate about serving her community through her education. Dedicated to combatting the opioid epidemic, Erin has explored the multifaceted issue through conducting biomedical research at Marquette University and public policy. Erin is committed to optimizing mice models of addiction to produce more effective neurotherapies and to destigmatize addiction as a disease. As the Distinguished Young Women of Wisconsin, she also focuses on empowering other young women through a holistic lens. Erin is co-president of Key Club, co-captain of the girl’s tennis team, and co-president of DECA. In college, Erin plans on studying neuroscience and global affairs to prepare for a career in expanding healthcare access.
Bowling Green, KY
Divine is a Rwandan immigrant who has lived in various communities, influencing her deep passion for community. Her family founded the non-profit Foundation for Connecting Communities. FCC aims to connect disadvantaged community members with the resources needed for independence and success; Divine helps run the teen outreach program, manages the social media accounts, and other fills other roles. She is also a Student Ambassador, a Service Committee Chair for her Beta Club, the Editor-in-Chief of her school’s yearbook, a varsity starter on her lacrosse team, a Kentucky Governor’s Scholar, and the founder of her small business. Divine hopes to become a sustainable civil engineer to facilitate in the augmentation and longevity of community structures.
Madhalasa Iyer is an award-winning writer, environmentalist and researcher recognized by Discovery Education, EPA, Scholastic Art & Writing and YoungArts. Her literary works have been published in 22+ journals. Her children’s book & International initiative Motley (with 7 international chapters) have together received national awards for inclusion & diversity. She is also passionate about scientific research and her papers have been published in the IEEE and the Journal of Student Research. Aside from being an EarthX and TEDx speaker, she has presented her research at international conferences. Through her work, she seeks to raise the decibels of love to deafen the cacophony of hate and make a significant contribution to the world.
Named one of “IME’s 25 Most Influential Teens,” Rishab Jain is a scientist and researcher who uses artificial intelligence to answer biological questions. Rishab has developed software tools for glioblastoma multiforme, sarcopenia, and pancreatic cancer to improve disease modeling, analysis, and treatment. His most notable work, ICOR, is an AI-based tool that enables rapid and cost-effective production of recombinant drugs through improved codon optimization. Jain serves as President of the “Samyak Science Society,” an organization dedicated to making science accessible to youth worldwide, especially for under-resourced communities. Rishab is also a YouTube Partner, creating content about student productivity and STEM research.
Basking Ridge, NJ
Mirika Jambudi is the founder of BookOrators, a 501c(3) nonprofit that advocates for diverse voices in literature. She has recruited over 200 volunteers, hosted reading workshops internationally, established 15 chapters, and impacted more than 2000 youth. As co-chair of the National FEMA Youth Preparedness Council, Mirika has led members in promoting equity in preparedness, educating communities, and distributing 1,500+ resources. Her work has been recognized by the Princeton Prize for Race Relations, the Congressional Gold Award, and the Second Gentleman. Mirika also leads four publications at her school as editor-in-chief, researches rare diseases, and swims. In her free time, she loves to read and spend time outdoors. Mirika plans to attend Harvard University.
Christian first, student second, Raymond Jiang is a student always waiting for the next adventure. He is one of the first ten founding volunteers at Schoolhouse.world, a free tutoring non-profit that currently serves over 10,000 students over Zoom. Outside of Schoolhouse.world, Raymond spends his time teaching math to his local community, leading the Jenks Math Club, captaining his archery team, and co-leading his Speech and Debate team. Raymond also serves as Senior Class President. In his free time, he enjoys engaging in his passions, including learning Russian, figure skating, and competing in math competitions, where he has qualified for the American Invitational Math Exam three times. Raymond plans to attend Harvard University in the fall.
Annie Johnson’s passion for creative writing has earned her honors from the NY Times, YoungArts, the Adroit Journal, and 20 Scholastic Keys. She believes that writing has the power to change the world, and strives to use this power to uplift marginalized voices, incite socioeconomic reform, and guide young adults through the challenges of modern society. In addition to her writing, Annie is a decorated clarinetist and drum major, Editor in Chief of her award winning high school literary magazine, and community advocate, making sandwiches for the homeless population of Columbus in her spare time. In her free time, Annie enjoys thrifting and binging reality TV. She plans on studying Literary Arts at Brown University in the fall.
Maya Joshi is the founder of Lifting Hearts with the Arts, a nonprofit connecting seniors and youth through long-term friendships. Bridging the art of conversation with the scientific study of aging and partnering with programs like the MIT Age Lab’s OMEGA initiative, she hopes her multidisciplinary approach can help maximize the impact of mutual intergenerational learning. Maya has also developed a neural network for age at death estimation of forensic skeletal remains and is currently designing bone regeneration implants. She plans to continue exploring the intersection of anthropology and osteology in college. In her free time, Maya enjoys photographing her dog Milo’s adventures and serving as her family’s ice cream aficionado.
Los Angeles, CA
Dohyun (Andy) Ju is a budding scientist, editor-in-chief, and clarinetist who strives to harness the power of technology to increase healthcare accessibility. As a founder of Open Hand, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting people with disabilities, Andy has formed partnerships with organizations such as the South Korean YMCA and the Angel City Games, a major adaptive sports event. He is also the LA Branch President of his local Leo Club chapter, spearheading free vision screening clinics, a Leo News Bulletin, and LA for Sight, a community-wide used glasses drive. Andy hopes to continue exploring the realm of precision medicine and data-driven clinical practice, in addition to his passions for community service and gastronomy.
Cooper City, FL
Sara Kaufman is determined to change the world through her work. A patented and published scientist, she has been named a Broadcom MASTER and NCWIT Aspirations in Computing National Winner. In 2017, Sara founded Leon’s Roar, a nonprofit that enables high schoolers to lead each other as they combat isolation among cancer patients. An avid reader and poet, Sara’s love of service has also manifested itself in her writing. She published a children’s book in two languages and distributed it to schools and immigrants in emergency intake camps. Sara also founded her school’s science research club and coached five FIRST robotics teams. Passionate about STEAM, Sara plans to pursue an MD-PhD and lead a career in cardiac research as a biomedical engineer.
Santa Monica, CA
Riya Khatod is a social activist, change-maker, and community organizer dedicated to amplifying the voices of the marginalized, especially women. As an officer on the Girls Learn International (GLI) Regional Advisory Board, Riya oversees 252 chapters nationwide and liaises between GLI staff and thousands of student leaders. She is a delegate to the UN Commision on the Status of Women 65, 66, and 67, presenting to world leaders on human rights and gender equity. Riya was also selected to represent her high school of 3000 students on Congressman Lieu’s Youth Advisory Council, where she researched, analyzed, and advised the Congressman on bills affecting youth nationwide. In her free time, Riya enjoys playing soccer, running, and baking.
La Canada, CA
Jessica Kim finds joy in poetry, disability advocacy, and learning new things. Her poems are housed in POETRY Foundation, The Adroit Journal, and in her book “L(EYE)GHT” which explores the intersections between her Korean-American and vision-impaired identities. In the spirit of communal activism through art, she has been recognized as the runner-up for the US National Youth Poet Laureate, the former Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate, and a National YoungArts Writing Finalist. When Jessica is not performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC or The Broad Museum in LA, she hosts interdisciplinary workshops for disabled students with I-CREATE YOUTH, ranging from web-based programming to digital poetics. Despite it all, she’s studying computer science in college!
Los Alamos, NM
Yunseo is a leader dedicated to uplifting communities and plans to study International Relations to advocate for global equity. She founded her own initiative for refugees collecting thousands of school supplies, and as President of Rotary Interact, led projects packaging 100,000+ meals to fight food insecurity in NM. Ranked 8th in the nation and 4x State Champion, Yunseo serves as Co-President of her Speech & Debate team and holds nationally published work. She currently explores minority inclusion as a district Student Board Member and at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and formerly was a 2022 US Senate Youth Delegate, 2021 Model International Criminal Court Representative, and a Global Citizens Summit coordinator with UNICEF on Women’s Education in Afghanistan.
As a social entrepreneur, inventor, published writer, founder, and leader, Reagan is devoted to her passions: social justice, youth development, and agriculture. She founded the three charities Ping Pong for Poverty, Fun for Foster Families, and Glam and Grit for Foster Teens focused on food insecurity, foster relocation, and foster teen perseverance. Reagan serves as president of seven school and community organizations and represents 163,000 youth as an Indiana State 4-H Ambassador. She is an ag advocate hosting youth, consumers, and state and national politicians on the family robotic dairy farm. She also designs national winning Agriscience Fair projects with immediate impact. Reagan will attend Purdue University in Ag Business with plans to attend law school.
Matt is a high-impact medical researcher and first responder. Through his work at New York Medical College, Matt is the first author of a research paper elucidating a new cause of growth hormone deficiency in children. He has published 8 research abstracts regarding endocrine diseases and has presented at ENDO, the premier international endocrine conference. Matt drives change in his community as a firefighter and EMT. He is the Recruit Leader of his fire department and a co-founder of the First Responders Club-endeavors aimed at training new teenage responders. Matt is the co-president of Science Olympiad, captain of cross country and track, and VP of a bilingual academic service. He is preparing 2 new research articles for publication.
Eshika Kudaravalli is a passionate leader who works to mitigate the socioeconomic barriers that harm the US healthcare system. As the Hope for Autumn Junior Board Foundation president, she has raised over $40,000 to fund research in innovative treatments for more than 500 families battling childhood cancer. Additionally, she is the founder and president of the Outstanding Women Leaders in STEM (OWLS), an organization that is dedicated to promoting female inclusion in the male-dominated field of STEM. In her school, she is the debate captain, STEM captain, and the CAS Coordinator in the International Baccalaureate Council. With interests in research and medicine, she has led several award-winning research projects and aspires to become a physician-scientist.
Sonya Kulkarni is a diligent servant leader, published scientist and author, and change maker. As National Youth Ambassador for the American Cancer Society and researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center, she advocates for greater pediatric oncology research in Congress. Sonya is the Founder and CEO of STAAR Peers, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering underserved students toward academic success and serves as a Legislative Advisory Committee Member of Houston ISD, representing 200,000 students. She is the two-year Executive Editor-in-Chief of her school’s newspaper and has written two books to help children understand genetics and hearing loss. Sonya endeavors to revolutionize the healthcare sector and promote scientific communication.
Sara Kumar is a social/civil rights activist dedicated to uplifting marginalized communities to create an equitable future for all. Through her work with UNICEF, Sara lobbies both regionally and nationally as she advocates for children’s rights. As a published author and founder of a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Sara strives to fight against preconceived prejudices and instead educate her peers on the positive influence of Greco-Roman antiquity on modern-day society. Passionate about promoting educational equity, Sara works with Harvard’s Education Redesign Lab and the Partnership for Resilience to develop sustainable solutions to ensure all children have the opportunity to succeed. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and creative writing.
Nishant Lahiri is a researcher and innovator passionate about sharing his interests with others around him. He founded iCART, a crowdsourced carbon capture technology that enables people to take responsibility for their own carbon footprint. Through his research at Cornell, he identified a material for iCART that has demonstrated industry-leading capture efficiencies. Nishant’s efforts have been recognized at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, where he won first place in the Chemistry category. He has shared this passion on two TEDx stages, speaking about climate technology in workplaces and the process of youth innovation and discovery. His goal is to develop accessible technologies that drive change and break barriers.
Sophia Li is a driver of change – passionate about uplifting her community. As co-captain of her debate team, Sophia has led by example: being the most successful public forum team in her school’s history, ranking #1 in the state and top 10 in the nation. She utilizes her skills to lead debate camps, mentor students, and judge tournaments for underserved areas. As founder of Generation Speak, Sophia works to eradicate the fear of public speaking in youth. Her organization has received a $500 grant to further its efforts and published an online course with 700+ students. At her school, Sophia is the president of the Justice Club and Heritage Panel, spearheading projects and leading discussions to foster an inclusive environment for all.
Millie Liao is an activist, actress, and social media influencer (check her out, @mildredsauce!). She’s worked with the ACLU of Southern California, international ad agency Intertrend, LA County Office of Education and 23+ organizations to establish systems of youth representation and uplift youth voices. She founded Youth Against Hate, a statewide coalition supporting 700+ campaigns for change led by youth activists, and leads The Art Hour, an international nonprofit providing free online arts education to 100k+ underprivileged students. She also starred in Charmers, a web series on Brat TV. In her free time, Millie writes weekly blogs, poetry, and short stories on her personal blog site With Love Millie, and haunts cafes in LA with a matcha latte in hand.
Pinyu Liao is a scientist, blogger, and advocate for racial and educational justice. Since losing her grandmother to antibiotic resistance in 2019, she has worked on several initiatives to make a change in the antibiotic resistance crisis, from advocacy towards proper antibiotic usage with her documentary, “The Quest to Stop Antibiotic Resistance,” which was recognized by the World Health Organization, to researching antibiotic resistance using computational biology. As a first-generation immigrant, she is also passionate about STEM educational outreach through founding the blog, Lavender + Lab Coats, a website dedicated to sharing her journey as an aspiring biomedical scientist, while working in educational outreach as a public speaker.
Los Angeles, CA
Born in southern Ethiopia and raised in SoCal, Meaza (Meazi) Light-Orr is a champion for education equity. She founded Kids for Kololo, raising over 100k to build a middle school in her birth village, Kololo, Ethiopia. The youngest ever intern at the LA Mayor’s office, Meazi has led fundraisers for former Congresswoman now mayor Karen Bass and serves as President of Congressman Ted Lieu’s Youth Advisory Council. She is an active leader in her school’s Black Student Union, MUN, and Environmental Education Program. She is a published author in the anthology Lion’s Roaring, Far From Home, and she will attend Northwestern’s Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences as a Posse Scholar this fall.
Jean is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Leaders Across the World (LATW), an organization dedicated to developing culturally competent leaders. Jean has led multiple initiatives impacting thousands across 55+ countries and secured $10,000+ grant funding. Beyond LATW, Jean is a Bezos Scholar, an honor awarded to 12 youths annually in the US. Additionally, Jean serves as a 4x State Officer for the Future Business Leaders of America, and a 2x National Council Director, serving 250,000+ youth. Recently, Jean has been selected as 1 of 5 individuals to serve on Google’s Global Youth Council, partaking in a research and co-creation program. Jean is a Diana Award recipient, National Merit Finalist, and FBLA National Champion.
Glenn Dale, MD
Grace Magny-Fokam is an advocate for equitable education and pan-African empowerment. As the Co-Founder of Teaching Africa, an organization that aims to educate the next generation about Africa, she’s held dozens of workshops, teaching K-12 students about the Pan-African diaspora’s history and diverse cultures. The organization has garnered worldwide notoriety, including being sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum of African Art. Grace is also an accomplished researcher, having conducted award-winning computer vision research at top universities and presented her work at international conferences, including one at MIT. As the first engineer in her family, Grace aspires to continue her work in scientific research and educational advocacy in college.
Driven to demystify democracy, Maggie McGinnis publishes bi-weekly articles and podcast episodes as the founder and editor-in-chief of Smart Voter. She created Wisconsin’s Voter Education and Registration Program which aims to improve civic literacy and increase voter turnout across high schools. Additionally, raising $6000 and hundreds of donation items, she started a student-led campaign against rural domestic violence. She is the recipient of the Making Democracy Work Award, the captain of her varsity tennis and soccer teams, a tennis state champion, and a Great World Text Scholar. In college, she will study Public Policy and Psychology-fusing her interests to further explore the cognitive phenomena responsible for political polarization.
As an avid leader with a variety of interests, Anna has found her calling in the realms of clinical medicine and health policy. Through her involvement in the National Institute of Health STEP-UP research program, Anna first-authored and published an endocrinology research manuscript. As a National Youth Advocate for Y-USA, she enlisted congressional support for legislation to provide equitable healthcare and medical resources to rural + less-privileged areas of the US. Anna is also the founder of one of the first female Boy Scout troops and one of the first females to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. An All-State runner at Calvary Day School, Anna serves as the Ethics Club President, Varsity Cross Country + Track Team Captain, and Youth and Government President.
Serving as the captain of the USA National Debate Team, Vinayak leads 12 of the best debaters in the nation to compete in international debate tournaments. He is a passionate advocate for substance use prevention. Vinayak recently represented the US as the sole youth delegate at the 66th Session of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna. He’s been nationally recognized for combating the opioid crisis and distributing over 10,000 drug deactivation kits to destroy 1 million unused opioids in Georgia. He also helped support over 20,000 students interested in business and entrepreneurship as the State Vice President of Georgia’s Future Business Leaders of America. In college, he plans on double majoring in government and economics.
Ariona Miller is a student in rural Kansas. After withstanding intense homophobia, Ari founded a GSA at her school. Along with participating in 8+ school clubs, she is on the GLSEN National Student Council, a student ambassador for her local Democratic Party, a student liaison on her local arts cooperative board, interns at her local newspaper, moderates local government events, and works two jobs. Her favorite activity is forensics, where she is nationally ranked in persuasive speaking. Ari is an emancipated minor. After encountering financial barriers because of her identity, she created the first financial assistance program for emancipated minors. Ari is attending Duke University in the fall where she will major in Political Science and minor in Journalism.
Joey Misailidis is passionate about working towards environmental justice through community-based initiatives rooted in cultural knowledge. To address the lack of accessible environmental leadership education in Hawai’i, Joey co-founded Operation Leadership Hawai’i in 2018. Joey is also involved in the Re-Earth Initiative, a youth-led environmental NGO working to make the climate movement accessible to all. She is a recipient of the President’s Environmental Youth Award, the Yale Bassett Award for Community Engagement, and the Cameron Impact Scholarship. In her free time, Joey loves to swim and spend time in the ocean. She will be attending Cornell University to study environmental engineering.
Anisha is committed to improving the lives of others with technology. After recognizing the quantum workforce shortage, she founded Q-munity, a startup that provides “no-prerequisites” quantum education. Her work led to her speaking at over 60 conferences, including The Economist and Evoke. Among her research endeavors are a fellowship at Google X, co-authoring the first student-focused quantum textbook, and publishing papers at NYU and Brookhaven Lab. Furthermore, Anisha built Mwana, an app that helps mothers breastfeed in Nigeria and Kenya, tackling under-5 mortality. She is also captain of her school’s debate team and was ranked #1 in the US for the 2021-22 season. In her free time, she loves to scuba dive and play field hockey.
Hawthorn Woods, IL
Anish Nadella is a community leader, researcher, and advocate for healthcare reform. As a biomedical student researcher at both Yale and UChicago, summer medical intern at Northwestern, and lead-volunteer at Elara Caring Hospice he works to drive healthcare innovations for the future. At school and in the community, he serves as the Vice-President of Illinois HOSA (and 2022 International Champion in Leadership), Eagle Scout and Senior Patrol Leader in Boy Scouts, Varsity Epee Fencing Captain, KIVA President, and USG for Stevenson’s MUN team. In his free time, he enjoys listening to Don Toliver, watching the NFL, and playing Crossy Road. Anish plans to study a combination of public health, computer science, and/or business management in college.
Gabriel Nagel is an entrepreneurial social and climate justice advocate. His environmental policy passed across 200 schools, impacting 92,000 students. He founded the nonprofit Light CO2, which launched a carbon footprint tracking app and planted 10,000+ trees. Gabriel advanced the first Student Bill of Rights as director of the Superintendent Cabinet, provided financial literacy programs to 70,000 students as chair of the Young Americans Bank Board, and managed a $40 million budget as Denver’s sustainability advisory councilor. In addition to being featured on NPR twice, he spoke at NYC Climate Week, where he won the International Climate Cadet Award. At Stanford, Gabriel aims to expand his impact globally through international relations.
Las Vegas, NV
Alana Nahabedian is an Armenian-American passionate about humanitarian work and civic engagement, creating avenues for youth to foster worldly change. In her pursuit of worldwide Armenian genocide recognition, Alana founded the Armenian Youth Council, an organization operating as a united force for Armenian youth to advocate for the security of Armenia and its diaspora. Alana is the President of her Speech & Debate team and NHS Chapter, serves on the Board of Directors at SOAR LV and EntrepreYOUership, and founded the first UNA-USA Chapter in Nevada. Alana plans to major in International Relations with a focus on genocide studies and aspires to become the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. to ensure that â€œNever Againâ€ truly is never again.
Arjun Nargolwala is an Indian-American entrepreneur and leader. As the Founder & CEO of KidsCapital International, a global non-profit organization committed to solving youth financial illiteracy, he has created a measurable impact on the issue, providing programs for over 5,000 students in more than 20 locations worldwide. Additionally, he serves as a co-founder of Sidereal LLC, an algae-based biofuel technology startup committing to revolutionizing the alternative energies market. Outside of entrepreneurship, he engages in machine learning and economic policy research, as well as leads many business & technology-related clubs and teams. He plans on completing a dual degree in economics & computer science, with hopes of becoming a successful tech entrepreneur.
Sean Nesamoney is an interdisciplinary civic leader who is passionate about harnessing the power of technology and music to innovate new frontiers in human cognitive health. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Voices for Hope, a concert that raised $25,000 for mental health support, shed light on the impact of COVID-19 on teen wellness, and empowered youth to harness creativity for mental well-being. Sean was also recently recognized as a Regeneron STS Scholar for his research paper titled “Neurocognitive Dysfunction in Children and Adolescents with Mental Illness.” Sean hopes to continue innovating at the intersection of cognitive science, technology, and music to improve healthcare accessibility and craft novel approaches to the most pressing issues.
Vivian Nguyen was named one of the â€œSix Teens Making the World a Better Placeâ€ by FORBES Magazine in 2022. She is the founder and CEO of Dyenosaur Apparel, intertwining social entrepreneurship with civic action to uplift marginalized communities through intersectional activism. Through her mentorship program, The Formula Project 501(c)(3), Vivian strives to build the scaffolding for minority low-income girls to develop interpersonal, STEM, and career skills. At a STEM magnet school, Vivian is Valedictorian, Student Body President, Chairman of the STEM Leadership Conference, and a U.S. Presidential Scholar Candidate. On weekends, Vivian conducts research at MIT on image recognition and biometrics in the Earth Systems and Signals department.
Emily is a social justice advocate and believes in the intersection between social science and emerging technology. Emily is dedicated to increasing accessible STEM education and is the CEO of the Girls Computing League (501c3 non profit) which has raised $150,000 and impacted 5000 students to date. Emily was selected by a college to help rewrite the syllabus for an Intro to Social Work class to include more antiracist readings. She is doing research on how imperialism has affected Puerto Rican youth. Emily won 2nd place and a $175,000 scholarship at the Regeneron Science Talent Search for her project that used AI to show that young black men were 30 percentage points less likely to receive humanizing coverage in historic newspapers.
Winifred is a diligent advocate for computing and social equity motivated by her interest in government, community, and computer science. She has worked as a Public Health Researcher on Chicago’s Mayor Commission, a Peer Juror for the Chicago Police Department’s Alternative Policing Strategy initiative, and a Community Data Scientist for advocacy for Chicago’s west and south-side communities. Co-Founder and President of both “Girls Who Code” and “KenTech,” she has cultivated and sustained a needed community for those interested in CS at her school. Winifred hopes to address international disparities in the global distribution of technology, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, through her studies of sociology and computer science in college.
Zack Okun, a natural changemaker, founded STEMducate, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works with 7,000+ students in 11+ countries and 24+ US states by offering various STEM-focused programs, competitions, and resources. Aside from being class valedictorian, Zack is also president of his school district’s student advisory board; president of his school’s robotics team, science national honor society, and advanced placement student association; and treasurer of his school’s student government and ambassador program; among other extracurriculars. He is the 2023 AZ DECA State Champion for Business Law and Ethics. He holds a 3rd-degree black belt in martial arts. Zack is an avid public speaker who is destined to better the world as a future Engineer.
My name is Titilope Olotu. I am a Turkish, Bollywood, and K drama connoisseur. More importantly, I am a Nigerian immigrant since 2015. I am an advocate for the San Juan Unified District, a proud California Girl State (GO FOLTZ), and the founder of the Veteran Volunteering Club, which raised over $1000 for veteran hospitals in Sacramento. Nigeria has imbedded a love for service to the community in me, as I volunteer with HOSA, Red Cross, UNICEF, the Sacramento Food Bank, and more. I am an activities director at Midtown Elderly Home, a teacher intern, a researcher, and a fast food worker. I advocate against underrepresentation and societal shame against women. I am a survivor, but no young girl deserves to live through such. I am grateful for this honorary title.
Ella Paligo’s passion for public health and breaking barriers led her to execute two initiatives, “Be A Hero, Drop Vaping To Zero” and “Operation Second Chance.” With these, she passed a universal vaping prevention policy at her school board, partnered with Governor Lee to declare April “Anti-Vaping Month” in Tennessee, and developed a curriculum that connected seventy incarcerated individuals to second-chance employers. Additionally, Ella has served as President of Beta, DECA, and Key Club while securing internships with the ACLU and DA’s Office. Her honors include: 2022 Youth Advocate of the Year, Girls Nation Nominee, Princeton Prize in Race Relations Certificate Winner, and United States Senate Youth Program Delegate. Ella plans to study law and run for public office.
McKinley Paltzik is a national champion in Speech and Debate and is committed to using her voice to uplift others. Through her organization, Kidz 4 Causes, McKinley has helped to raise over $200,000 for rare disease research at the T-Gen Center for Rare Childhood Diseases. She is the Director of the Extemper’s Bible, a nonprofit dedicated to creating ubiquitously accessible resources for debate education and equity. Following an influx of refugees after the crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine, McKinley has also worked to provide free tutoring resources and support to children in refugee schools in her home state of Arizona. McKinley is passionate about international relations, her dogs, and Starbucks Strawberry-AÃ§aÃ Refreshers.
Saehee Perez is a community organizer from northern Virginia. She has led the passage of legislation that grants students an excused absence for civic engagement with the Virginia Young Democrats. She has also published a Washington Post op-ed, organized statewide walkouts with over 10,000 students, and developed a legislative agenda to protect Queer youth with the Pride Liberation Project, the biggest student-led Queer advocacy group in Virginia. Saehee has worked on six campaigns, studied Chinese abroad through a U.S. State Department scholarship, and helped restock menstrual products at school. She plans to study American or international government, learn three more languages, and eventually have a career in public service.
Fort Wayne, IN
A 2021 Subaru Community Champion and 2022 Indiana Philanthropy Outstanding Youth Achievement Awardee, Madeline Phuong founded A Second Chance to raise $13,000+ for animal nonprofits from the sale of her art. These funds support accessible pet care for the elderly and veterans, heartworm treatment for shelter dogs, and vaccine clinics. Madeline has 30+ Scholastic Art & Writing awards and had a 2022 solo art exhibit at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. At Homestead High School, she promotes the values of the arts, community service, and the spoken and written word as Art Club President, Key Club President, Speech & Debate Team Captain, and Senior Editor of the publication, Spartana. She will study government, philosophy, and art at Harvard University.
New York, NY
Roberto Quesada is an activist from New York City who focuses on equality in the United States, Latin America, and the world. In 2022, his work on Latino rights garnered him the prestigious Yale Bassett Award for Community Engagement. He also discusses social issues through his art, which has been displayed at both the US Capitol and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Quesada has extensive political experience, having interned for Majority Leader Schumer as part of the Senate Page Program. There, he worked with Vice President Harris and met President Biden. Outside of politics, Roberto is a nationally-ranked debater and a member of the USA Debate Team. He hopes to inspire more Latinos to pursue their dreams and fight for change.
Shiva Rajbhandari is a senior at Boise High and an Idaho climate justice activist. In 2022, he became the first student to be elected to the Boise School District Board of Trustees where he is an advocate for mental health, climate action, and student empowerment. Shiva is also involved in a variety of youth-led organizations including BABE VOTE, Youth Salmon Protectors, and the Idaho Climate Justice League. Shiva runs varsity cross country and track for his school and currently works as the Youth Engagement Coordinator at the Idaho Conservation League. In his spare time, Shiva loves to run, ski, and fish with his friends in wild Idaho.
Lone Tree, CO
Gitanjali Rao is an inventor, an aspiring scientist, author, speaker and an active promoter of innovation around the world. She was recognized as America’s Top Young Scientist, a recipient of an EPA Presidential award and Forbes 30 U 30 for her patented invention of an innovative lead contamination detection tool. Gitanjali is also the inventor of â€œEpioneâ€-a device for early diagnosis of prescription opioid addiction using genetic engineering, and “”Kindly””-an anti-cyberbullying service using AI and Natural Language processing. She was featured on the cover of TIME for her innovations and STEM workshops she conducts globally, which has inspired over 72,000 students in 44 countries.
Tejas Raxwal is dedicated to make change in the global water crisis, having founded H2O 365, a nonprofit aimed to provide fresh water globally and educate communities about water scarcity. Tejas is equally passionate about global peace and has worked tirelessly to spread his message of unity, even traveling to war-torn Ukraine last summer to continue his efforts. He is also providing virtual medical care to underserved areas, demonstrating his commitment to creating a better world. As a medical researcher, he is revolutionizing the future of medicine through his research in coronary physiology. In his spare time, Tejas likes competitive swimming and enjoys challenging his friends to a lively game of Gaga ball.
Elizabeth City, NC
Ahmya Rivera is a trailblazer within S.T.E.A.M. educational equity. As a self-starter and personable leader with a passion for serving under-served youth, particularly minority and rural students, she created “STEAM Quest: Story-based Activity Book.” The book’s innovative approach to interactive education and multicultural representation has turned it into a teachers’ favorite worldwide. Ahmya is also a Lead Intern for the NC Department of Public Instruction and Executive Director for the federal-funded #IAmComputerScience campaign, where she spearheads accessible opportunities NC-wide. Collectively, she has impacted 100,000+ people with S.T.E.A.M. topics. For her jobs, she creates coding curricula for 300,000 students and mentors 70 students on app development.
Rachel Rochford is committed to making an impact on the world through her passion for international relations, economics, and the Russian language. In her local community, Rachel founded Coats for Kids, which provides winter coats, hats, and gloves to elementary students in need. At school, she serves as Editor-in-Chief, Econ Club President, and an NHS board member. Globally, Rachel strives to foster new connections between the U.S. and Central Asia: she spent her last summer living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, while studying Russian with the State Department’s NSLI-Y program. As a Girl Security Fellow, Rachel also authored a National Security Strategy, which focused on minimizing youth recruitment into domestic terror groups on social media.
San Francisco, CA
Alexis is a youth leader and Executive Director of The San Francisco Citywide Black Student Union. Passionate about improving the lives of the Black community, she supports Black youth and addresses issues such as homelessness, food insecurity, and violence. Alexis studied at The African Leadership Academy in South Africa, where she gained a unique cultural exchange and enhanced her ethical thinking skills, leadership development, and political awareness. She intends to study Political Sciences and Africana Studies at an HBCU, aiming to become an International and Human Rights Lawyer.
Prajwal Saokar is a passionate researcher, entrepreneur, and advocate for ethics in technological innovation. Through his AI technology company, SLAP Systems, Prajwal is working to combat violence in his community, with his work receiving recognition at MIT and the NeurIPS conference. As someone deeply interested in policymaking, Prajwal has also been ranked #1 nationally in Public Forum Debate and captained his team for two years. He has pursued his interests in policy and technology in tandem as a Director for the CoVisualize Team at Harvard and by working with the Association for Computing and Machinery to develop tech policy proposals for leaders in the field. In his free time, Prajwal enjoys basketball, building electronics, and hiking.
Little Rock, AR
Neil Sash is a high-impact leader and innovator, who enjoys amplifying community voices to create change. He is the captain of the Debate and Quiz Bowl Team, Vice President of the Student Honor Council, and a varsity tennis athlete for four years. Outside of the classroom, Neil continues his work. He is the Founder and President of the Global Kindness Foundation, a 501(c)(3) dedicated toward his goal of global educational equity through mentoring and online tutoring to better help underserved students. He is an active voice for the Arkansas Communication and Theatre Arts and a delegate at the 2022 United States Senate Youth Program. In the future, Neil is excited to continue his work, helping people become the best versions of themselves.
Sharvaa Selvan is the founder of KLOOPS, a nonprofit organization motivating kids to learn through self-paced tools. He has distributed 1,000 activity placemats throughout Florida and India to teach young children the fundamentals of protecting themselves. As a passionate mathematician, Sharvaa also serves as Vice President of the Mu Alpha Theta National Honor Society. He works with over 100,000 students to encourage a passion for mathematics while educating members on scholarship opportunities, fundraising ideas, and ways to grow their own local math teams. At school, Sharvaa is president of his Science Bowl team, captain of his Public Forum Debate Team, and a member of the Florida All-State Guitar Ensemble.
Joel Setya is a passionate leader who works to make a difference, dedicated to creating impacts that’ll ripple throughout society. As the Executive Director for STEM & Buds, an international nonprofit organization in sixteen regions across four countries dedicated to empowering over 4000 students through STEM and fostering meaningful relationships, he facilitates an inclusive environment for young individuals to learn from inspiring mentors. At school, he serves as the President of SkillsUSA, CIMUN Model UN, Medical Club, chess team captain, and on his Student Council. Additionally, he enjoys conducting groundbreaking research, particularly in cancer and other fields of medicine, and plans to study psychology and public health, eventually becoming a physician.
Ayush is a zealous changemaker and leader striving to combat health inequity and homelessness. As the founder of Operation Christmas, he has raised over $10,000 for families unable to receive free or reduced lunch during winter break. Ayush also initiated his podcast, Everything Ends in Ology, to help aspiring physicians become familiar with the vast world of unknown medical departments beyond their ending in â€œology.â€ Through volunteering in palliative care to honor his grandpa and starting community projects, he has addressed problems including loneliness in end-of-life care, cultural representation, and public health; now, he strives to reduce infant mortality rates in underserved communities as he works to become a pediatric physician.
Razanne Malki Shoukfeh is an innovative community leader and driven change-maker devoted to promoting suicide prevention, sustainability, improving educational inequities, and inspiring optimism. She enhances her community through her MIT Launch X Company, Entrepreneurship Club, and Climate Activist Organization, all of which she founded and leads. By linking people with volunteerism, she inspires the city’s youth to make a difference as the president of the Volunteer Center of Lubbock’s Youth for Impact Non-Profit Program and the Head Tutor of Robins Nest Non-Profit. She collaborates with Sunflowers over Suicide and AFSP to empower those like her who have been affected by suicide. Razanne instills change and works to create a more powerful and inclusive community.
D'Schon Leon Simmons
Corpus Christi, TX
D’Schon Simmons currently serves as the National President for Business Professionals of America (BPA). With being the National President of a Career and Technical Student Organization, D’Schon is challenged with the initiative to serve and represent the interests of the more than 40,000 high school members and ensure the multi-million dollar nonprofit organizational needs are being met. D’Schon Simmons will graduate with, both, his high school diploma from West Oso High School as Salutatorian of his class and Associate’s Degree of Liberal Arts from Del Mar College. His postsecondary education will extend with his attendance to the Class of 2027 at Princeton University majoring in Politics and minoring in Entrepreneurship, which will lead him into law school.
Oak Creek, WI
Harjasan Singh is a political activist, community builder and change-maker. After the Sikh Temple Shooting, he founded the Sikh Youth Association, setting the nonprofit’s direction to empower Sikh youth in 10+ states, exposing thousands of high school students to his culture and religion. In bringing more representation to his community, Harjasan was selected as the first Sikh delegate from Wisconsin at the United States Senate Youth Program. He also serves as the regional president for the Wisconsin Association of School Councils, in which he has donated over 2,500 items to his community. Motivated by his background and as a first-generation student, he plans to major in government & economics, utilizing his future political office to make a dent in global poverty.
Reya uses her voice and platform to uplift marginalized communities and lead with empathy. After realizing the lack of space for Asian voices of all different backgrounds, she founded Our Asian Heroes, where she interviews doctors, artists, and more, to share their stories and experiences (now with over 10,000 views). In a family of immigrants, she sees the struggles that immigrants face in opportunities for wealth acquisition, access to healthcare, and beyond. She started the Dear Asian Youth and Junior State of America chapter at her school, where she immerses her peers in topics surrounding political and civil rights. She is also an intern with Harvard Law Professor, Jon Hanson, and helps publish articles about corporate law and power in the [F]law Magazine.
Vinaya Sivakumar is a social entrepreneur, political activist, and community mobilizer. She has reenvisioned responses to the youth digital addiction crisis as the founder of Heads Up, a nonprofit encouraging teens to live more digitally-balanced lifestyles, and as a lobbyist in the Senate and California state legislature. Vinaya has also used her Indian heritage to spark community dialogue by founding Project Atharv, a nonprofit preserving ancient Indic culture, and Girl Up CIRS, a club advocating for gender equity with Indic ideologies. Vinaya plans to major in Computer Science and Philosophy to understand the growing influence of technology on society and to redesign technology to be more humane.
Ellwood City, PA
Hayden Slade is the co-founder and co-director of Games to Give, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides board games to children in need, cancer patients, and deployed US troops. Hayden is also an Eagle Scout and an elected member of his church’s council. He has spent many hours working in service to his community and has learned that one of the most rewarding things in life is serving others and affecting their lives in a positive way. He is an eight-year Carson Scholar and was the winner of the 2022 DAR’s Outstanding Youth Service Award for both Pennsylvania and DAR’s Northeast Region. In his free time he enjoys playing board games, backpacking, and sailing. In the fall, Hayden plans to study computer science and mathematics.
Will is an activist dedicated to pursuing social change and empowering youth in his local community, state, and across the US. During the pandemic, Will co-created a national organization called National Youth Cohorts, which was a space for students from across the US to continue to have conversations about political and social issues in a time of social isolation. Will has also worked on 2 different US Senate Campaigns, helping elect a current US Senator. In Junior year, Will created the idea of adding student representation to his district’s Board of Education and now serves in the permanent position of Student Board Member. Will is also an Eagle Scout for his efforts in addressing food insecurity, and a proud member of CU’s National Youth Collaboratory YC6.
Fairless Hill, PA
Colin is dedicated to advocacy for equitable change through storytelling. Colin founded Doane Academy’s Queer-Straight Alliance(QSA) in order to provide a safe space for all students to share their own stories, and to listen and learn from others. Through which, he launched his school’s first Pride celebration. Colin serves on Joon’s National Student Advisory Board to advocate for and destigmatize discussions regarding mental health in highschool students. He is an exectutive memeber on Voters of Tomorrow’s New Jersey chapter in which he promotes democracy and equity in New Jersey’s politics. Colin plans to continue to seek opportunities to give back by carrying on Coca-Cola’s mission of life long learning that leads to equitable change.
Sahil Sood is a patent-pending scientist, having published 4 papers on groundbreaking research, including a novel treatment for COVID-19 that received international recognition. Simultaneously, he’s an avid debater, ranked #1 nationally in Public Forum. Sahil converged both his interests in science and communication by dedicating himself to bridging inequities in STEM education, hosting a UN education summit and building a nonprofit that provided $101K to 33K students globally. As HOSA’s International Vice President, he facilitates health education for 280K students, an endeavor he aspires to continue as a physician. When he’s not wearing his lab coat, he’s a sports enthusiast and cheese fanatic. Sahil will attend Harvard College next year.
Cam did not expect a ninth grade science fair project to change his life. His aim was to learn the basic science behind heart valve disease, but he quickly learned that whether patients received the latest treatment depended on their race. This inequality bothered him, and he made it a goal that everyone would be treated equally by the healthcare system. This experience also changed his perception of science; behind each data point on a chart or graph is a person with a family who deserves to be treated fairly. At school, Cam is Student Body President, and is a member of the Varsity Cross Country and Track team. In his spare time, Cam is an active political volunteer and enjoys watching sports, particularly his beloved Atlanta Braves!
Menomonee Falls, WI
As a passionate healthcare professional and servant leader, Brooke Stanley is devoted to improving the lives of those around her and changing the world one patient at a time. She does this by treating whoever walks in the door without judgment or hesitation as an emergency department technician and helping medical students improve their interpersonal skills as a standardized patient. Within these roles, Brooke desires to shine the light of Christ, as her faith directs all that she does. Brooke will attend Milwaukee School of Engineering as a Biomolecular Engineering major on a pre-med track. She hopes to become an emergency medicine physician who cares about her patients beyond their medical diagnosis.
Nora Sun is a passionate changemaker tackling complex problems at the intersection of science and society. As the founder of Talaria Summer Institute, ENVISION Research Competition, and ATHENA By Women In STEM, she creates scientific research opportunities for underrepresented high school students. Nora has been named a Global Teen Leader and a member of Disney Dreamers Academy, and she was a speaker at the 77th United Nations General Assembly. As a scientist, she has attended the Michigan State University HSHSP and Boston University RISE research programs. As a storyteller, her creative and journalistic writing, which appear in numerous publications worldwide, have received over 40 regional and national Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
Wency Suo is the co-founder of the Idaho AAPI Youth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that fosters connections between AAPI youth in Idaho through community events. In addition to her nonprofit work, Wency is the co-campaign manager for Representative Sue Chew’s campaign, where she led a team of over 30 middle and high school students to secure a victory in the 2022 Idaho midterm elections. Wency is also a dedicated scientific research, with a focus on drug discovery and drug repurposing for COVID-19. Her work has been recognized at national and international science fairs. Wency hopes to bridge the gap between technological innovation and public policy in the future by studying computer science and political science.
Ann Arbor, MI
Maraki Tamrat is an Ethiopian-American who is an avid advocate for reproductive rights and the environment. She is the President of Planned Parenthood of Michigan’s Youth Led Program and a member of Earth Echo International, a 501(c)(3). From lobbying on Capitol Hill to meeting with Michigan’s State legislatures, she strives to make a difference. Maraki plays an active role in her community and is dedicated in working to eliminate a wide variety of social issues that impact communities of color. She is Student Body Vice President and the leader of her high school’s Black Student Union. Having grown up in Vienna, Austria, Maraki also works to lessen language barriers through her english classes for both Amharic & German speaking individuals.
Sahith Tanuboddi is the founder of Youth STEM Club, a nonprofit organization dedicated to introducing computer workshops and providing educational resources to underserved children to break through stereotypes by running clubs, competitions, and events. Sahith’s innovative spirit and dedication to empowering underserved children have established him as a true leader in his community, demonstrating the power of education and hard work. He intends to major in Finance. In his free time, Sahith enjoys reading comic books, baking with family, and exploring with friends. Through his passion for STEM and community service, Sahith is making a positive impact in the lives of young people and inspiring others to pursue their dreams.
Lynn is passionate about pioneering medical advancement and advocating for educational equity. An RSI and Regeneron Scholar, Lynn has developed a breast cancer risk detection framework to advance early detection and optimized a protein prediction model for drug discovery. She founded TeensHelpKids, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and leads her school’s STEMbassadors program to bring educational initiatives and resources to underserved communities. Lynn has been honored with the Congressional Award Gold Medal and the President’s Volunteer Service Award. She is also a 2x USABO National Finalist and captains her school’s Biology Olympiad Club. In her free time, she loves playing violin and crocheting. Lynn will attend Harvard University in the fall.
Griffin is a senior from Pilgrim High School in Rhode Island who prides himself in being a leader throughout multiple communities. In his high school, Griffin serves as the class president and the leader of several clubs such as robotics and Best Buddies. In the Cystic Fibrosis community, Griffin is the founder of the Salty Scholar tutoring service and a member of Team Boomer. Outside of academics, Griffin is an avid lacrosse player and nationally ranked squash athlete, recently playing in the United States Junior Open this past winter. As a representative of Rhode Island, Griffin has attended the United States Senate Youth Program as well as Boys Nation. He will play squash and study CS-Applied Math next fall semester at Brown University.
Gianna is an impactful leader in health equity and public policy making strides across her state as she leads community efforts to increase community involvement in policies pertaining to public health. Throughout the pandemic, Gianna has also been a vocal activist in epidemiology and virology with her publication of research related to tracking the next pandemic in harmful environmental occurrences. She is also a changemaker in education, working closely with her Superintendent to effectively innovate STEM curriculum, teaching models, and mandates during the pandemic across all schools in her district. This fall, Gianna will attend Yale University and plans to become a Doctor of Infectious Disease.
Nora VanRees is a dedicated changemaker. As the Founder and President of Here N Queer, an international youth organization, Nora advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights. Nora has developed global programs to help queer youth access thousands of resources. Nora serves as the President of Magnify Wellness, a nonprofit committed to raising awareness about youth mental health. Nora is passionate about equitable education, serving as the founding chair of the Vancouver Public Schools Student Advisory Committee and the school district’s first equity intern. Additionally, Nora makes an impact by saving hundreds of lives through Red Cross blood drives, improving ELL literacy with local tutoring programs, and helping youth in the aftermath of trauma as a volunteer with TIPNW.
Passionate about equity and accessibility, Sanjana Velu is an avid leader, collaborator, and change-maker in her community. She founded the Future Forward Initiative, a project dedicated to reducing educational disparities in the Cincinnati area through the implementation of a free peer tutoring program and the donation of basic school supplies to local school districts. Sanjana also sits on the American Red Cross National Youth Council as the Co-Field Ambassador Lead and works as a clinical research intern studying perioperative genomics at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, through which she has worked to advance medicine’s power in both a societal and technical sense. She aspires to become a physician and continue making a positive impact in the world.
Highlands Ranch, CO
Maya Vendhan is a passionate advocate for equality in STEM and a curious researcher. In hopes that her generation will one day see equality in STEM fields, Maya created Girls STEM Academy, a nonprofit to encourage girls to enter STEM. Her initiatives include distributing books featuring diverse leaders in STEM to schools, connecting students with female mentors, and creating online content such as a TEDx talk. In addition, Maya has conducted neuroscience research through the Research Science Institute, focusing on identifying the root cause of Parkinson’s disease and potential target areas in the brain for future therapies. In her free time, she enjoys singing in choir, choreographing Bollywood dances, and following NBA games.
Ananya Vinay is a passionate writer, poet & podcaster. She is a social entrepreneur & advocates for educational equity. As the 2017 National Spelling Bee Champion, she founded SpellGenius, an organization that mentors aspiring spellers. Using her coaching income, she founded Project Ignite, an educational equity initiative to ignite the passion for early learning in rural Fresno. She is a member of the first-ever Student Advisory Team at PBS NewsHour. Ananya is the author of the poetry collection â€œDewdrops on the Mindâ€. She is the science editor for The Iris. Ananya is a 2-time USABO Semifinalist as well as a 3-time Chemistry Olympiad & Science Bowl National Finalist. She plans to major in neuroscience and public policy as an aspiring physician.
Eden Prairie, MN
Lucas Wagner is a public policy advocate, community leader, and relentless optimist. He innovates at the intersection of his interests-economics, computer science, and government-in service of his community, transforming political systems into kinder, more accessible ones. As MN Chair and National Data Director for the HS Democrats, Lucas pursues change through common ground-the same spirit that’s landed him hearings with legislative committees and F500 companies. He’s also staffed statewide and local political campaigns, served in elected offices for his state party and an education nonprofit, and leads activities ranging from mock trial to quiz bowl. To kickstart a career defined by service and lifelong learning, Lucas plans to study economics and public policy.
Fort Collins, CO
Sophie Wang is an ardent STEM outreach advocate and researcher. Post-pandemic, she organized academic programs in her school, which raised funds to support her community. Her interest in biology propelled her to develop cell lines expressing single-molecule protein misfolding reporters at the Stasevich Lab. She was also recognized as a Top 20 national finalist in the USA Biology Olympiad. Additionally, she has captained her Science Bowl team to Top 16 at nationals. While undergoing her own biology journey, she aims to create more opportunities for underrepresented students through the nationwide STEM competitions she directs. In her free time, Sophie enjoys playing the guitar and identifying flowers.
Tony Wang is passionate about expanding educational access, founding the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair Student Leadership Board, which hosts free STEM workshops for Title I schools. Tony also leads Rhapsody for Youth, a nonprofit that donated $15,000 and held free summer camps for low-income Oakland students. Tony conducts AI research at Stanford and worked on curriculum used to teach graduate students. For his work, he has been honored as a Regeneron ISEF Finalist, Rise Global Winner, and speaker at the 77th Annual UN General Assembly. Tony also competes in martial arts and earned two gold medals at the international championships, qualifying for Team USA. In his free time, Tony enjoys writing poetry and playing with his dog.
Calista Wilk strives to research and develop ways that physics can be applied to address pressing issues, like climate change. She has worked with professors to study novel solar cells, leading-edge 2D materials, thin-film transistors, and their applications in energy conservation. Through her nonprofit The Terra Project, Calista created and shared resources such as research articles, blog posts, and educational songs to empower people with the knowledge to make informed decisions about sustainability. Passionate about education, she also partners with after-school programs at Title I schools to lead a club that immerses underserved middle school girls into the world of STEM, with a focus on environmental sustainability topics.
Kansas City, MO
For Erin William, community knows no bounds. Erin takes pride in representing the student body in her school’s newly established Diversity, Equity and Inclusion council. In the Greater Kansas City region, Erin is the running Poetry Out Loud champion, selecting works that denounce systemic injustice. As a member of the Kauffman Foundation’s YouthLed Council, Erin works to uplift youth voices in advocacy. With the One Kansas City Radio Erin produced a podcast called “I’ll Tell You When You’re Older” to call attention to the Northeast Kansas City Community. On a global scale, Erin co-founded an International Social Justice Program with participants from the US, Mexico, Brazil, Uganda and Rwanda. Erin plans to study International Relations at Princeton University.
Emily Wilson is committed to facilitating empathy, leading with humility, and creating change through actionable solutions. She is driven to advocate for the AAPI community, and has increased its visibility through her business, Gilded Macarons, and as Co-President of her school’s Asian Affinity Group. Emily is also Co-Chair of her school’s philanthropic Carnival, Founder of its UNICEF Club, and Co-Founder of Help Homeless Cleveland, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has raised thousands of dollars and numerous in-kind donations to generate an amplified impact on the region’s homelessness crisis. An incoming Wharton student, Emily hopes to guide businesses and teams in creating the innovative ideas and quantitative measures that better the world.
Las Vegas, NV
Lauren Wong is a passionate youth advocate and the Founder of Nevada Girls in STEM, a nonprofit that empowers young women through free STEM workshops. Lauren is also a member of the Nevada Youth Legislature and the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council representing over 40,000 youth. She has testified to support bills that have become state law, including funding to address learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lauren is a nationally-ranked golfer and was named an AJGA Rolex Scholastic All-American. At her school, she is the President of Science Bowl and Secretary of Robotics. Lauren is the recipient of the AspireIT Impact Award and Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. In her free time, Lauren enjoys travel, cooking, and music.
Great Neck, NY
Rachel Woo is a community advocate, passionate about education and public health. She is the founder of Every Child Educated (ECE), a nonprofit that provides educational resources to underprivileged communities through the delivery of school supplies. Through ECE, she has provided an entire Costa Rican village with textbooks, notepads, markers, and more. In her hometown, Rachel founded The Suitcase Initiative, in collaboration with The Bowery Mission, an organization helping homeless New Yorkers, that has donated 300+ suitcases and provided individuals with a safe, clean place for their belongings. At school, Rachel leads as co-President of DECA and field hockey captain. Rachel plans to study public health and pursue a career in medicine.
Green Bay, WI
Cara’s passions are public policy, education equity, poetry, and classical music. She is the Founder and President of STEM2girls, a student-led 501(c)(3) that empowers hundreds of girls and women to pursue STEM careers by providing workshops, resources, and mentoring opportunities in Northeast Wisconsin. As the student representative of her district’s Board of Education, she has moderated debates with election candidates, made student voice a district and school priority, and been recognized by NCWIT and Wisconsin Public Radio. She has led French, Forensics, and Equity clubs at her school and is an award-winning violinist/violist, published poet, and public speaker. Cara plans to study international affairs with a focus in East Asian diplomacy.
Austen Wyche is a changemaker and advocate in algorithmic justice, voting rights, gun violence prevention, and empowering the next generation of leaders. He founded The Teen View, a youth-led blog preparing youth to discuss the issues of our time. As Advocacy Director of Encode Justice, a coalition for human-centered technology, he lobbies state and federal lawmakers, coordinates partnerships, and educates the public on responsible technology. He served as a Giffords Courage Fellow working to enact gun violence prevention. Locally, Austen leads Young Advocates for Equality and United Way Youth Leaders Council, fundraising over $10,000 for non-profit allocation. In the future, Austen will pursue a career in policy analysis and economics.
As Santa Clara County’s Youth Poet Laureate, Anna has spoken on poetry’s emancipatory power for TEDxYouth, Alliance for Girls, Attorney General Rob Bonta’s inauguration, among others. She co-founded the Journals of Justice 501(c)(3) to amplify youth voices in social justice through journalism. Her writing has been widely recognized, including by the New York Times, Poetry Society of the UK, KQED, and Youth Speaks. As a beekeeper, Anna teaches bee conservation to the community, established Taylor St Farm’s first urban hive, rescues local swarms, and researched an ML-driven solution to queen failure. At school, she leads the student newspaper, AAPI Coalition, Girls Who Code, and Model UN. Anna is a Regeneron STS Scholar and Coolidge Senator.
AJP’s Senior Palestinian Activist, Lobbyist, Speaker, and Founder, Nia Yusuf is also the founder and devout teacher of Tajweed with Dean, as well as co-founder of Shukar & Coffee, the first cafe at Memphis Islamic Center. In my role as an active member of UNICEF, the Red Cross, and the St. Jude Leadership Society, I raised $5,000 annually. As Marketing Director for Revamp Youth Foundation, I assist underprivileged students in third-world countries in need of education supplies when I am not working on hands-on services. My motto for service comes from the Prophet Muhammed(saw) my role model’s saying, “”the best of you are those who learn and benefit others.
Wappingers Falls, NY
Mandy Zhang is the 2022 Youth Activist of the Year. As an American Red Cross national ambassador, she started Ready, Set, Puppets, a disaster preparedness initiative to teach kids about fire safety using puppets after half her village experienced home fires. She is also the founder of Banned Book Club, where she has donated thousands of books to LGBTQIA+ kids after fighting a LGBTQIA+ book ban in her school district. She has been recognized in the New York Times, USA Today, and by NYS senators for her outstanding activism. Her organization, Young STEMists, strives to bridge the gender gap by hosting monthly STEM programs. She is coding a carbon footprint tracker app and publishing a children’s book called “Samantha Takes A Stand.
Victoria Zhang is a social justice advocate, passionate about civic engagement and cultural representation. As the Executive Director of Expansion for Let’s Vote America, a non-partisan, civic education campaign promoting youth voter turnout, she worked with the League of Women Voters, iCivics, and the Harris County Elections Office and led numerous voter registration drives and canvassing efforts. Victoria is also dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion. As president of her school’s Asian Pacific American Culture Club, she addressed the spike of anti-Asian hate crimes and led a sit-in within her school, sparking a movement for systemic change against racism. Victoria will be attending Williams College as a QuestBridge Match Scholar.
Yikun Zhou is a proud Asian American who is passionate about serving his local community. From his involvement in the Asian American Coalition of Ohio, where he has led voter outreach efforts to engage the underserved AAPI electorate, to founding his school’s Crochet Club, which has made blankets for charities and is currently creating a plarn (plastic yarn) display to raise awareness about plastic pollution, he has worked to create a positive and interconnected community. In addition, Yikun is heavily involved in his school’s Science Olympiad, Orchestra, Cross Country, Tennis, and Drama Club. And in his free time, he enjoys reading sci-fi, baking bread and pastries, and hiking with his dog. In college, Yikun plans on studying biology to become a pediatrician.
Old Westbury, NY
Kevin Zhu is a researcher, musician, and creative writer. Researching cancer genomics at Stanford University’s Snyder Lab, his top honors include the International Science & Engineering Fair, Regeneron Science Talent Search, and Nature co-author. A musician, Kevin studies at the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College. Since his recital debut at age 9, he’s performed in 10+ countries. Kevin has published several creative works, and was a National Student Poet Semifinalist. In 2020, Kevin became CEO of The Incandescent: an organization promoting mental health via creative arts, reaching 200,000+ viewers in 111 countries. Kevin was named a WAFF Global Teen Leader and recently spoke at the UN General Assembly. Kevin is the co-captain of Jericho’s Varsity tennis team.
Jessica Zhuo is a neuroscience enthusiast and entrepreneur who is passionate about educational equity. She has created multiple educational initiatives that aim to bridge the gender and income gaps within STEM related fields, designed and taught lessons for younger students, and produced numerous infographic posts that aim to make science more easily accessible. Along with her advocacy efforts, she is an active Science Olympiad competitor and mentor for underclassmen. Jessica also runs her own jewelry business on Depop which has amassed over 5.8k followers and held 3.6k+ transactions. She will continue to study neuroscience and policy on a pre-med track at Harvard University this fall.
Rania Zuri is the Founder and CEO of The LiTEArary Society, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit with the mission of ending book deserts for disadvantaged preschool children. The LiTEArary Society has donated over $192,000 worth of new books to more than 18,000 children in all 50 states. Rania’s work has been featured on Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (Inspiring Kids), The Kelly Clarkson Show, Teen Vogue, The Today Show, NPR, TEDx, and Fox News. She is an author of an upcoming US Senate Resolution and a children’s picture book series (sold in-store at select Barnes & Noble stores) where 100% of the profits go to more new books for children in need. In 2022, Forbes named Rania as One of Six “Teens Making the World a Better Place.”
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation celebrates and empowers visionary leaders who are refreshing the world. With its 35th class of Coca-Cola Scholars, the Foundation has provided more than $81 million in scholarships to over 6,750 program alumni who together have become a powerful force for positive change. Learn more about how to become a Coke Scholar here.