INDIA New England News Announces 20-Under-20 Winners of the Year 2014

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WALTHAM, MA—INDIA New England News, the region’s premier print, online and video magazine, announced the winners of 20-Under-20 stars, who were selected on the basis of their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, athletic involvement, entrepreneurship, participation in the community service, volunteerism or skills in writing, arts and music, among other factors.

Here is the list of the 20 in an alphabetical order for the year 2014:

Dhroova Aiylam, 18
Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Being a sophomore at MIT at the age of 18, Aiylam has balanced his academic responsibilities and extracurricular activities. Some of his notable accomplishments are: USAMTS Gold Medalist, Perfect Score; Applications of Computers to Synthesis of Jazz Improvisation, a project exploring the potential of computers to produce jazz improvisation. The project won awards for excellence in computer science and patentability at regional and state science fairs, respectively, and has been approved for a patent.

Arya & Diya Anand (twin sisters), 16
Hometown: Andover, MA
Andover High School, Andover, MA
These twin sisters took part in the first-ever America India Foundation’s New England Challenge. They knew nothing about AIF, but were inspired to participate to give back to those who never received the chances they have had in their young lives. And they did it in a huge way. Both sisters helped lead the charge in this campaign, each raising $3,365 in just three weeks (total campaign raised $22,681). They worked hard to not only raise funds, but create awareness about the child migration issue in India. Of over 40 youth, college students, and young professionals, they were the top fundraisers.

Saranga Arora, 19
Hometown: Hopkinton, MA
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
During her 10th grade summer break in 2011, Arora took 2 College level courses — Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, and Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology at Harvard University. In the summer of 2012, she applied for a highly coveted internship at UMASS medical, and was selected to take part in the research on point mutation related to Alzheimer’s disease. She also interned at Basis Technology performing marketing research and building an accessible database of clients. Among her several other achievements, she was a member of National Honor Society, and the elected Secretary of the MA Regional Student Council. She graduated from Hopkinton High School in top 5% of her class. At Johns Hopkins, she is pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering, concentration in Cellular and Tissue Engineering, with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management.

Shrvani Balaji, 16
Hometown: Merrimack, NH
Merrimack High School, Merrimack, NH
Balaji has organized Bollywood summer dance camps for the past two years. Profits have gone towards the Anbalayam project by Tamil Nadu Foundation, a home for special needs and abandoned children. She has also funded a semester’s worth of college tuition for a girl in India with money raised from her class. She also received the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award for her efforts before the age of 15. She is an international winner in the Future Problem Solvers Program, and has attended National competition with her Science Olympiad Team. She is also the black belt grand champion winner in the 2013 TaeKwonDo tournament.

Selina Banerjee, 14
Hometown: Boston
Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Banerjee has remarkable and outstanding accomplishments in several fields including academics, music and sports. She authored a children’s book, My Preschool Graduation, at the age of 6 (now available in major book stores including Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. In 2014, she recorded her debut album, “Ayee Bahaar”, of Hindi songs in the HMV Studio, Kolkata, India. The album was published by Mystica Music of New Delhi. She is secretary of Boston Latin School Desi Society which organizes several events to raise money for Akhaya Patra, an organization focused on education of needy children in India.

Neha Dalal, 19
Hometown: Carlisle, MA
Harvard College, Cambridge, MA
Dalal has excelled in academics, leadership and social service: Junior at Harvard College, majoring in Applied Math, Economics and Government. Got admitted in Junior year of High School (GPA 4.57) – skipped Senior year; student Point Person for New Members of US Congress Conference (to be held in December 2014); director of Harvard Model United Nations Conference in China (Beijing), India (Hyderabad), and US (Boston). In addition, Dalal practices martial arts, including Taekwondo, archery and Kung Fu.

Samarth Desai, 17
Hometown: Nashua, MA
Nashua High School South, Nashua, NH
Desai continues to maintain his rank in the top 10 students in his school. As an innovator, he has entered multiple business plan competitions, all with successful results. In 9th and 10th grade, he entered the TyE (The young Entrepreneurs) business plan competitions, and as the CFO of smartphone company Reperio received the 3rd place prize with $2,000 of Venture Capital funding. Reperio is based on a smartphone application that uses an RFID (radio frequency identification) USB scanner that connects to smartphones to locate important items utilizing RFID sticker tags.

Natasha N. Joglekar, 17
Hometown: Weston, MA
Weston High School, Weston, MA
Joglekar’s other name could easily be Resilience. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in November 2011 (fall of her freshman year in high school). The treatment for ALL is 6-8 weeks as an in-patient and an additional 2 years of out-patient treatment. She missed a bulk of her freshman year of high school. For the bulk of her out-patient treatment she spent one day/week at the Jimmy Fund which meant missing school at least one day/week. She has focused on school work and extra-curricular activities and is scheduled to be graduate on time with her class in Spring 2015. In spite of missing nearly 18 months of classes, almost full time in the front half, she has focused, persisted and excelled on the academic front. She has received several academic awards, both from her school and at a national level.

Shefali Mangtani, 17
Hometown: Nashua, NH
Bishop Guertin High School, Nashua, NH
Mangtani has demonstrated an incredible breadth and depth of educational and extracurricular activities. She has been involved with Nashua Soup Kitchen services, Youth Group’s charity dance NachNight. More than her academic achievements, book awards, and accolades in the performing arts, Mangtani is compassionate about her social and charity work. She is a high achieving academic student who has taken a very rigorous program that includes all honors level and courses along with 5 AP Classes.

Nithya Pathalam, 17
Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA
Shrewsbury High School, Shrewsbury, MA
Shrewsbury Speech and Debate team is one of the top Speech and Debate programs in the country, and Pathalam is the president of the team. Not only is she very focused on her own debate career, but she also is a leader and role model. She is a well-rounded young adult and shows this level of commitment and dedication for many different things in her life. In addition, she is a rower on the Shrewsbury High School crew team.

Ishaan Prasad, 14
Hometown: Winchester, MA
Belmont Hill School, Belmont , MA
Prasad is founder of app development company Half Baked Productions. He started developing apps when he was 12 years old and had his first app on the iTunes store at the age of 13. Under his company, he develops and publishes his apps. He has four published apps on the Apple iTunes store, Android, Kindle and Windows 8 platforms. He has over 20,000 downloads for the apps. His latest app is a Hindi card matching game that he developed for Shishu Bharati. He donates proceeds from his apps to an organization called NEADS that provides service dogs to people in need. He also volunteers as a Peer Tutor for Latin at Belmont Hill School.

Rohit Rajiv, 16
Hometown: Westford, MA
Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
Rajiv maintains a Highest Honors GPA (10.0 or above to a maximum of 11.0) at Phillips Exeter, not an easy feat to do. He has been competing in the North South Foundation (NSF) educational bees including Math, Science, Spelling, Vocabulary, Geography, Essay Writing and Public Speaking bees, since he was five years old. He has won several regional competitions in the bees. He also placed 2nd in Math in Grade 5, 2nd in Geography in Grade 8 and 8th in Math in Grade 8, in the NSF National Finals. He continues to participate as well as volunteer at the NSF contests.

Deepika Ravichandran, 16
Hometown: East Hampton, CT
University High School of Science and Engineering
Ravichandran, an entering senior at University High School of Science and Engineering, marched into the Guinness World Record on May 9th 2014 to become the fastest puzzler logging in at 13 minutes and 7 seconds. Part of her world record attempt was to raise funds for her UNICEF High School club enough to feed at least full 3-square meals for a day to 250 (one each for each of the 250 puzzle piece she tried to solve as part of the world record) needy children.

Tarang Saluja, 14
Hometown: Roslindale, MA
Commonwealth School, Boston
Saluja is a well-rounded teen with phenomenal achievements in academics and extracurricular activities. He has always been selected for the most advanced academic classes and he has always been on the Principal’s list (A+ or A in all subjects). He is particularly passionate about Math. He had 99 percentile in Math in all standardized tests including John Hopkins CTY, Terra Nova, ISEE, and SSAT. He has won all math competitions (Mathcounts, Catholic Math League, AMC) in school. Last year he placed 2nd in the whole USA in Catholic Math League examination.

Elisha Shah, 17
Hometown: Nashua, NH
Derryfield High School, Manchester, NH
Shah is a highest honor student at the Derryfield School. In the fifth grade, Shah won the Presidential Award for maintaining high grades in her elementary years. Now, she is the President of her school’s Medical Club, in which the aim is to further the interest of high school students in the medical field. She also participates in her school’s Key Club, in which she volunteers at various charitable events, such as Special Olympics, food drives, the Penguin Plunge. In addition, Shah is also a Mathematics Peer Tutor at her school. She helps students at her school understand math topics they are learning in class.

Ilina Shah, 16
Hometown: Winchester, MA
Winchester High School, Winchester, MA
Shah has some unusual interests and passions: a writer, painter and a gifted dancer. She has accompanied several Indian singers on stage in community shows and is well-known for her Kathak performance, a North Indian dance form which she has been learning since she was 9 year old. She received 1st prize for painting, with a message for encouraging reading in young kids — by DCU, in a tri state competition. She received Presidential Merit Scholar award in year 2012, and JFK Make a Difference community service award in 2012.

Tej Sheth, 16
Hometown, North Andover, MA
North Andover High School, North Andover, MA
While doing an internship at MIT’s Office of Digital Learning, Sheth coded MITx courses for edX. He also worked on a project in which a MITx course is being converted into an online residential course exclusive to MIT students this fall. He is the captain of the North Andover High School Robotics team. Being elected as captain was a great achievement considering that Sheth was a sophomore at the time and the team was dominantly juniors and seniors. He was “Head of design” for his robotics team during his freshmen year. He is also a member of the the Debate, Science and Math teams at his High School. He currently volunteers at Sutton Hill, town’s retirement home and in middle school he volunteered at the North Andover Senior Center.

Ankur Sundara, 17
Hometown: Nashua, NH
Nashua High School South, Nashua
Sundara is a rising Junior at Nashua High School South. He is entrepreneurially-minded. Instead of just playing games online, he created his own Minecraft plugins and variations during his freshman year in High School and started his own Minecraft service, which attracted about 100 paying subscribers. He has also done contract work by developing plugins and custom programs in Java and Objective C for others for a fee. Plugins and custom programs developed by Ankur have been downloaded 150,000 unique times. He took part in TyE (The Young Entrepreneur) Business Plan competition in 2013 and wrote a business plan for EcoPrint, a printer that regenerates printing paper. He has won several awards for his academic achievements including Presidents Award for Academic Achievement, John Hopkins CTY Grand Honors award and is currently an AP Scholar with distinction.

Sahana Srinivasan, 17
Hometown: Lexington, MA
Lexington High School, Lexington
Classical violinist Srinivasan is an accomplished Carnatic violinist and has won several awards in the advanced categories at the prestigious Thyagaraja Aradhana International Music Festival in Cleveland (2011, 2012, 2013). She has performed several solo violin concerts and accompanied artists in over 25 concerts locally and abroad. Srinivasan is one of the most sought after accompanists in the area, and is known for her sensitive playing and musical creativity. She is an assistant teacher at both the Nrityanjali School of Dance and the Anubhava School of Music, where she helps train junior and intermediate students.

Priyatham Vennapusa, 19
Hometown: Lancaster, MA
Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Vennapusa is majoring in Neuroscience and Health Policy at Brandeis University. He mobilized 20 students to spread awareness of public health on campus and on a weeklong mission in rural Honduras through posters and activities. He built measurement tools that detect potential bone transformations for a clinical study. He setup and troubleshot issues with a motion tracking system. He contoured CT scans correcting the software’s errors at periosteal sites. He extracted the main points of an orthopedic journal weekly alongside postdoc researchers. He was ranked among the top 40 in New England among U12, U14, and U16 divisions. Plus, he is a health nut. Through his years shelving books at the local library, he stumbled upon numerous books discussing the power of natural foods and preventative medicine. He makes and gift homemade herbal salts to friends and family as a convenient way of promoting this awareness.

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