WALTHAM, MA—INDIA New England News, the region’s oldest and largest print, online and video magazine serving the South Asian community in New England, announced the winners of 20-Under-20 Stars for the year 2017.
The 20-Under-20 Stars were selected on the basis of their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, athletic involvement, entrepreneurship and participation in the community service, volunteerism or skills in writing, arts and music, among other factors.
“Like every year, this year’s list is astounding and shows diversity of interests and excellence,” said Upendra Mishra, publisher of INDIA New England News and its sister publications IndUS Business Journal and Boston Real Estate Times. “There a few repeats from past years this year. Also, this is the first time, we have included an organization that is fostering future generation of entrepreneurs.”
Here is the list of the 20 stars under 20 in an alphabetical order for the year 2017:
Agrawal started a 5013(c) non-profit called “Empower the Blind” that has raised 13,000 USD so far to provide cataract surgeries for children in India and other countries while he was still in high school.
A notable success in his fundraising was an address as a senior to freshmen in high school that alone raised $700 in few hours, which is no surprise, as he has won many awards for speech and debate.
Agarwal started another company at Carnegie Mellon University called NetScale, which will allows college students to leverage their network of friends, family and alumni to find internship opportunities.
He is also CEO of Homelii, a home automation company, which placed 3rd in the TYE business plan competition and won $3,000. The idea behind Homelii is today available commercially in the market showing its viability and applicability in the market.
Agarwal was selected as a Top 100 Entrepreneur by Young Entrepreneur Foundation with a $2,000 cash prize, as well as the MIT Launch, a highly selective program for high school students to learn and apply entrepreneurship using real world experiences.
Ameya Bhat is an observant, curious, hard-working and highly self-motivated young man. A member of Chelmsford High School’s science team, Bhat was the silver medalist at the Massachusetts State Science Olympiad’s Air Trajectory event.
He is a national AP scholar, and has even completed his full high school math curriculum in 11th grade.
Bhat is also dedicated to community service- last year he ensured that Chelmsford debate tournament ran smoothly and he has participated in a Can and Bottle Drive to support the Chelmsford Friends of Music. He has helped his peers with their studies. For all his activities, Chelmsford High School has recognized him by awarding him the Emerging Leaders award. He has also received the Holy Cross Book award from Chelmsford High.
Chelladurai is an exceptionally great student both academically and socially. He is an honor roll student at AMSA and is a co-captain of the middle school math team. He is also member of freshman and varsity math teams.
His math abilities are impeccable and has won many competitions including: 1st place in 2016 Intermediate Mathematics League of Eastern Massachusetts Pascal division; 1st place in 2016 regional NSF Math Bee (Cambridge, MA); 2015 AMC 8 perfect score (Honor roll of Distinction);
4th place countdown round 2016 Mathcounts chapter competition.
Chelladurai is also interested in science, winning 2nd place in 2016 northeast regional middle school science bowl. He has been part of Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth for the last several years, and is awarded high honors for being among the highest scoring participants in the 2015 international talent search which recognizes excellence in mathematical, verbal and spatial abilities.
In the community, Chelladurai participates in many activities, including a member of India Youth Group that performs several community services. He is part of the Language school at ISW, learning Tamil and helping younger children of the language school. He also won the National Scholar Athlete award as part of the Youth Football organization.
A 4th grader from Franklin Elementary School in North Andover, MA, Gandhari
was the only speller from New England among the top 40 spellers of this year’s Scripps Nationals Spelling Bee. She is featured in a documentary film called “Breaking the Bee”, which explores the near two-decade trend of Indian American students dominating the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She is one of 7 spellers the crew followed for during the filming the movie.
Gandhari won her first Scripps school spelling bee, when she was in first grade, besting some students more than twice her age. She started off her spelling bee journey as a kindergartner when she participated in South Asian Spelling Bee. Competing against middle schoolers, she has won the school spelling bees since first grade. She also won the Area III catholic school spelling bees for 3 years in a row. Gandhari placed 7th in Daily Item Regional spelling bee in 2014, 3rd in 2015, 2nd in 2016 and this year, she won the Daily Item regional spelling bee.
She has represented Massachusetts at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where she did exceptionally well at the Nationals and took an astounding 35th rank. She was also a runner-up in the 2016 South Asian Spelling Bee and represented Massachusetts at the South Asian national finals. A couple of years ago, she made it to the NSF (North South Foundation) national finals.
Gandhari used the prize money she won from the spelling bees to give scholarships to 4 high school students from a government school in India this year.
Ever since Goenka was a young girl, she has always wanted to help others and give back to the community. At the age of 13, Goenka is a Youth Ambassador for American India Foundation and has raised funds for the Learning and Migration program (LAMP) campaign for underprivileged children’s education in India since she was 10 years old.
She has been featured in several articles in India New England News, Lokwani and Wellesley Townsmen for her fundraising efforts. Her first campaign in 2015 raised $3,225, which provided a year’s education to 65 kids and this year she raised $4625 along with her sister, which helped educate 85 kids. Prior to that, she has raised money for 3 consecutive years for cataract eye operations in India for Akola Radha Mandal.
Mohammed Mizraab Khan
Khan made to the 20-Under-20 list for the second time. He has developed his work as an artist. Being only 13-years-old, he possesses the skills and techniques that go above and beyond what is expected of him. His art has been featured at the University of New Hampshire for the Holi Festival, Biogen Idec Inc. for the Diwali Festival Celebration and Harvard University for the Diwali Festival Celebration.
Not only is he an incredible artist, but he is also extremely passionate about giving back to his community. Though working hard allows him to feel accomplished, Khan finds that giving back to his community is the most rewarding feeling one can have.
Over the years, Khan has participated in various charities, including: Saheli Boston (a non-profit organization empowering women), EID festivals (taking place at the Islamic Center of Boston), Dunning Elementary School, Brookline Public Library, Newton Free Library, and the Brookline Recreation Department.
Korandla is a rising senior at Nashua High School South who enjoys math and science. She has been a high honor student for all three years of high school and is currently in the top 1% of her class. Sathvika is also in the National, English, Science and Mu Alpha Theta Honor Societies at her school. This year, she was also the recipient of the University of Rochester Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology at her high school book award ceremony.
Korandla was also selected to be a part of the Women in Technology program at BAE Systems. Korandla is currently the captain of her high school’s math team, and she has won 3rd place freshman and 2nd place sophomore at the New Hampshire State SMASH Math League Competition. Korandla also won first place in the state in the Math Kangaroo competition in 9th grade and 11th grade, and is part of the NH State ARML Math Team. In addition, she was the Vice President of the Science Olympiad Club during her junior year, and won 1st place and 3rd place in the Chemistry and Forensics events respectively at the state Science Olympiad Competition.
Korandla is also a part of IANH Youth Group, where she served as Treasurer during her junior year and is currently serving as Vice President. As a part of IANH Youth Group, Korandla volunteers at soup kitchens, NSF Education bees, and teaches math at math workshops for children. She also received the IANH Youth Service Award for her excellence in community service. In addition to volunteering, she also enjoys working as a math teacher at Think For Fun, which she has been doing for the past 3 years.
Koul is a trained violinist and violist. He was selected to perform at the Massachusetts Music Educators Association’s Junior Districts Festival and more recently for the Immersion Program at the Summer Chamber Music Institute at College of the Holy Cross.
In addition to this musical achievement, Koul has been an instructor and mentor at the non-profit Up With Music in Lawrence, MA for more than four years. His work includes teaching and mentoring children weekly, as well as helping in the organization of summer camps. He is an important part of their program, Community Strings, which enriches the lives of children in Lawrence by providing music training through violin lessons and performances.
As part of the Niswarth, Learning in the World program of the Tang Institute at Andover, he traveled to India for a three week summer service-learning program. He has also been improving his Hindi and Kashmiri language skills and researching on the history, society, politics and culture of Kashmir especially and India. His objective is to bring talk of peace to the forefront and aid in the integration of Kashmiri society with the wider world.
Koul has modernized the compositions of several Hindi and Kashmiri songs, created new mashups, and sung them while playing accompanying instruments. His Workshops in Music project aims to bring the values and skills that are derived from traditional Indian music into the singing and performance abilities of aspiring and learning musicians in the U.S.A. He has planned workshops in several cities with artists who will travel from India.
Madhu is one of the most talented youth singers in New England. Recently, she bagged the first prize in a singing competition at Hindi Manch’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2017.
Madhu is a fifth grader at the Parker Middle School in Chelmsford MA. She learns Carnatic vocal from Guru Smt. Tara Anand and she also learns light music from Smt. Sowmyashri Sandeep. A keen student of music, Madhu also plays Western Suzuki violin as part of the Nashoba Valley Youth Orchestra in Littleton, MA.
A couple of years ago, she was influenced by the visiting, talented blind artistes of Samarthanam, Bengaluru. In future, her dream is to sing and raise funds for the welfare of blind people.
Shreya has won numerous awards till date: Runner-up at Zee TV’s North America Sa Re Ga Ma Pa (Kannada) at Atlantic City, NJ in 2016; Winner at AKKA Idol contest World Kannada Conference 2014, San Jose CA; Winner of New England Kannada Koota’s “Mandaara’s Got Talent” contest for 6 years; Winner of New England Hindi Manch’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2017; and Twice runner-up at Boston Swaraag contest.
Already an app developer by his senior year of high school, Mangat has “uberized” work with his business app, HireMe365, which is now available at both the Android and Apple app stores. The app has a unique focus, seeking to encourage today’s savvy social media young youth to find work on their time, without working strict hours, or hindering their academic schedule.
A combination of two elements lead to him founding HireMe365: as a student athlete with a rigorous curriculum, he had limited time to work the fixed hours that a job demands. This app provides a platform for both hirers and workers, to search in real time. The focused small launches and initial reviews have been very positive. This app has great utility in neighborhoods, schools, colleges as a resource for supplemental income.
Mangat, a freshman at Babson College, secured a spring term internship at TalentBurst, Inc. as a Finance Accounting Intern.
Mitra is an inclusive, resourceful, caring and adaptive young man. A recent graduate from Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, MA, he received the Chinese Prize, for being the best student in Chinese and was President of the Chinese Club. During his time at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols, he was co-captain of the varsity squash team; which placed third in Group C of the 2016 New England Interscholastic Squash Association championships
Mitra’s ACT composite score was 34 and he scored 1560 on his math and chemistry SAT2 exams. He gave five APs in Chinese, English, AB Calculus and scored 5 each in AP Computer Science and AP Macroeconomics. His poem titled, “No One Knows”, was published in Creative Kids magazine, Volume 31, Number 2, Winter 2012-13. His interests include woodworking; he designed and made a chair with a shaker tape seat that was featured in the school art gallery. He enjoys music, playing squash, learning languages and learning trivia.
Mitra also volunteers as a coach at Kidsquash, a not-for-profit whose goal is to make the game of squash inclusive by encouraging economically disadvantaged children to develop a healthy lifestyle in body and mind. In 2016, he volunteered as a coach/mentor at Tenacity Boston; a that program integrates tennis and fitness with reading and literacy to help economically disadvantaged children develop academic motivation and excellence.
In July of 2017, Mitra received the Connors Foundation scholarship award. He interened this summer at TripAdvisor, Inc. in Needham, MA and started as a Ralph Bunche Scholar at Colby College this fall, where he plans to double major in computer science and economics and try out for the varsity squash team.
Neti is a self-motivated, hardworking and outgoing student dedicated to creating a better world. She has been the member of the top-ranking Public Forum debate team at Sharon High School, and twice been a top 10 finisher at the MA state debate championships.
She mentors and teaches freshman teams as well as help with fundraising. She has won multiple speaking awards, and finished as the 8th best speaker at the state championships. She is also a member to Team Unlimited, a FTC robotics team that won State championships and went to the super-regional championships
Neti is a student leader for social issues and awareness. As the co-founder and co-president of the Girls Learn International Club, where they raise awareness for girl’s education and raises money for the Zabuli Education Center in Afghanistan. In an article she published in the Huffington Post, she spoke as the United Nations Youth Ambassador about empowering youth to work towards the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (SDG), which is essentially 17 goals that will ensure an equitable and inclusive society for all. She is also a Youth Ambassador and Volunteer for the organization Akshaya Patra.
Odayappan is part of the winning team at the TiE youth entrepreneurial competition in Boston, and travelled to the national competition in Irvine, CA, where his team was awarded the prize for “Best Teamwork.”
Since then, he and his team have worked tirelessly to make their idea, a non-profit organization called Second Chance, a reality. Second Chance aims to reintegrate the formerly incarcerated back into society by partnering with various companies to provide job training and opportunities to inmates so that they have a steady source of income upon release.
Odayappan has been meeting with various companies and criminal justice experts in efforts to begin a pilot program by the end of this fall. He has been worked tirelessly to achieve this goal, and his efforts are not going unnoticed- he was recently interviewed on the radio show “Win Win at Work.”
A student at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols, Rizvi is a young woman dedicated to community service and social justice. Rizvi has been selected to attend the GAINS conference, and attended a Harvard MedScience program for students inclined towards scientific fields. She is also an author on a paper pending publishing, alongside Dr. Clemens Reinshagen (the first author) and Dr. Khalid Shah (the last author) from the Harvard stem cell institute. She has also received two silver medals for her memoir and creative emulation writing by the Scholastic Awards, which is controlled by the Boston Globe and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Rizvi has been a Youth MC for the India Association of Greater Boston’s India Day, and did the voiceover for the IAGB promotional video and helped with the editing. Rizvi has volunteered yearly since the 8th grade for the annual Vision Aid fundraiser, and the AAANE Youth Festivals and Mushairas. Rizvi has been selected by her school to attend an international conference for the Round Square Network in Cape Town, South Africa, for spreading and exchanging cultural views and methods of social change in environmental justice, democracy, and socio-economic divisions.
Sane is a young woman with excellent leadership qualities and a strong desire to help others. When she is not following most rigorous course schedule that CHS offers by taking almost all honors and AP classes, she is very active in her extracurricular activities.
She is the president of Key Club, a national organization dedicated to community service. She not only devotes many hours helping the community in a variety of ways but also helps Key Club organize events that bring opportunities for other Key Club members to help the community.
As president of L.I.M.E., a leadership club, she organized an annual talent show as well as the annual 24-Hour Relay for Chelmsford High. Sane has earned a black belt in Tae-Kwon- Do. She is also selected to be in both the National Honor Society and the Benito Juarez Spanish Honor Society. She has been performing in many local cultural programs arranged by various Indian and local organizations like IAGB, NEMM, IAMV, IANH, Big Help, Chelmsford library, Movimiento Pro Cultural, etc. since very young age. She is also an avid dancer at Angikam Dance Academy, where her group has won numerous prizes.
For the past 3 years, she has volunteered her time at Camp Invention as a Volunteer Leadership Intern. Camp Invention is a nationally recognized STEM enrichment program inspired by the National Hall of Fame of Inductees. She worked closely with elementary and middle school students to help them learn, innovate, and create a brighter tomorrow with STEM activities.
Shah is a passionate young athlete who is full of energy, whose hard work, focus, and determination recently earned her second place all-around in USA Gymnastics 2017 MA State Cup Level XB, winning one gold and two silver medals on the vault, floor and bars respectively.
In Q1 of 2017, she was on the “Gymnasts on 2017 America’s Top 100” list in her level.
This is par for the course for this young athlete, who has won medals for multiple gymnastics routines across various in-state meets; for figure skating at ISI Ice Skating Competitions and the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge, a ski challenge.
Sheth brings her substantial talents to make the world a better place for those in developing countries. Sheth and her team won 2nd place at the 2017 Boston’s TYE Entrepreneurship competition with a product called “BriteBarrel”, which not only stores and transports water but also generates electricity. Sheth hopes to produce and distribute this product someday, as it can truly be life changing for many in developing countries.
Sheth has also placed in the top 30 teams worldwide at the 2016 Vex Robotics World Championship. This is especially notable, as she was the first girl from her school to compete at an international level in robotics.
In 2015 Sheth created a Facebook page called “Humans of NAHS” (North Andover High School) which features the achievements of a student or faculty member every month. She created this platform for her community to connect and and to learn more about each other. As an avid reader, she wanted to encourage others to read. She built a “Little Library” for her neighborhood to make books free and accessible for anyone.
For the past three years, Sheth has restocked her library through book donations and garage sales. She is the vice president of her school’s Model United Nations Club and a part of her school’s student council and Student Ambassadors Club. She has learned Indian Classical Music for 7 years and performed Bollywood dances at many events including the Swaraag 2016 finals. She is passionate about politics, entrepreneurship, and truly making a difference.
Takhtani began dancing in 7th grade and has become one of the top students at his dance studio at the Movement Center. He was the only solo performance from a pool of 200 students at last year’s final show. He also auditioned for a solo dance at ABRHS’ yearly cabaret show and performed a Michael Jackson & break dance fusion in front of over 700 attendees.
At the same time, he is a part of the advanced choir at the school, which performed at the Seaport Hotel in Boston this year.
Takhtani has volunteered every week at his local library since 9th grade, while also being a leader in the Youth in Philanthropy group at his school. Through this organization, he has raised money each year and proposes grants to their umbrella organization, the Acton Boxborough United Way.
Outside of these activities, Takhtani has dedicated his time to learning more about music. He is teaching himself guitar, trumpet, and tap dancing while balancing dance class 2-3 times per week and a rigorous practice schedule at home.
TiE Young Entrepreneurs
For the first time, INDIA New England News is bestowing this honor to an organization this year: TiE Young Entrepreneurs, popularly known as TYE. It is a Global program aimed at fostering future generation of entrepreneurs.
TYE focuses on teaching entrepreneurship to high school students and helping them discover the rewards and challenges of becoming an entrepreneur.
The TYE Program started at TiE-Boston in 2005, and since become a global program that inspires young teens on how to build a startup. More than 20 TiE chapters throughout the TiE network participate each year.
The Program has activated engagement from the wider community of TiE members, volunteers, professors, and parents, who excited about assisting the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Nikhil Vootkur is the Co-Founder of New Hampshire education-technology start-up, KudosWall, and his passions and interests include politics, campaigning, art, design, and tennis.
As the Co-Founder, Vootkur pitched KudosWall at startup competition TechOut, and won $20,000. In 2016, he worked as an organizing fellow at the New Hampshire Democratic Coordinated Campaign as the youngest intern there.
Vootkur was awarded the NH Young Democrats’ Kennedy Grassroots Pioneer award for his work there, and later joined the young democrats as their Summer Intern and consequently, Deputy Executive Director. He was a recipient of the INE 20 Under 20 award last year as well. He is in his first year of freshman year of high school at the Academy for Science and Design, and is 15 years old.