INDIA New England News Honors 20 Under 20, UMass Dean Bala Sundaram Urges Awardees to Climb Outside the Silos

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WOBURN, MA—University of Massachusetts Boston Vice Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies honored INDIA New England News’s 20 Under 20 stars for 2018 and highlighted the multifaceted nature and the breadth of their accomplishments.

Prof. Sundaram said that activities of these youth spoke for itself.

“There is another aspect that struck me while reading about this year’s awardees and that was the multifaceted nature and the breadth of the accomplishments and the range of issues where these young men and women had devoted their energies,” said Prof Sundaram. “They addressed issues of accessibility, issues of policy, issues in athletics and the basic sciences. Why is this important and why was I so gratified to see this?

Prof. Bala Sundaram with 20 Under 20 Awardees

He said challenges faced today and, increasingly, the challenges that will be aced in the future are multifaceted and lie largely at the intersections of disciplines.

“So everyone needs to learn to climb outside the silos or specific areas of interest they have thought about; whether this is over 4 years of college, 8 years of a PhD or 25 years of life. The solutions to many of these problems require the need to look at them from different perspectives,” said Prof. Sundaram. “Climate change, artificial intelligence and the idea of genetic modification are examples that we are wrestling with at present. These do not just come with data, technological or scientific challenges but ethical and socioeconomic ones as well. Issues of deciding not just what is advancement but also what is right or wrong. Looking at what today’s young awardees have accomplished in a short period of time makes me optimistic about the future.”

Masters of ceremony: Emma and Radhika

He told the awardees that they can be overwhelmed by the enormity of some of these issues and challenges and worry how small groups of people can make an impact.  He quoted American cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, who once said: ”never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

“This is a useful lesson that I would like to leave you,” said Prof. Sundaram “Let me congratulate all of you, let me congratulate your mentors, and your supporters: your family, teachers, your friends and your peers who helped you get to where you are.  Continue doing what you are doing and I look forward to reading more about your accomplishments in the future. Congratulations.”

INDIA New England News, one of the nation’s largest Indian-American news and video magazines serving the South Asian community, held a breakfast reception on Sunday at Hilton Woburn Hotel in Hilton, MA. Kanan Sachdeva, Northwestern Mutual were the exclusive sponsor of the 20 Under 20 reception and award ceremony for 2018.

The 20 Under 20 list published annually by INDIA New England News. The selection of the talented recipients is based on 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.

Here is the 20 Under 20 List 2018 in an alphabetical order:

Keval Ashara

Keval Ashara

North Andover, MA

Keval Ashara is a passionate and determined high school student who is dedicated to giving back to his community through volunteer work. He is currently working as a teacher’s aide at Communities Together, a nonprofit in Lawrence for underprivileged kids.

As a member of his school honors band, he was fueled by his love of music to create a free summer percussion music camp for middle school students. His other passion for math led him to receive a full score on the math SAT and he was also commended for the National Merit Scholarship, one of six in his high school.

In his senior year of high school, Ashara saw many students struggling in chemistry, so he decided to mentor and tutor underclassmen afterschool in chemistry. He also attended 13 years of Jain religious school, and in order to give back to his community, he decided to help his teachers by mentoring younger students in the classroom.

Ashara was the Lead Programmer for his robotics team for 5 years and mentored both students in high school and middle school on coding in robotics. Through his dedication to volunteer work, he was inducted into the National Honors Society and was accepted as one of Johns Hopkins Talented Youth in 6th grade.

Sachi Badola

Sachi Badola

Chelmsford, MA

Sachi is a 14-year-old who wants to change the world with music. An award-winning singer, actress and student, she has received awards from the Massachusetts Theater Guild and the Chelmsford Knowledge Bowl and has always donated her winnings to organizations such as SEWA, the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease.

Her achievements and initiatives have been highlighted in newspapers and on television, but Badola wanted to do more.

Badola started working on the Global Math Initiative with Dr. Matthew Beyranevand, to inspire students, and especially girls, to take on math as an important curriculum, as a STEM initiative for girls. This initiative has given her a platform to utilize her passion for math and music in a positive manner, by creating math music videos.

She has presented her work at various conferences, including the Learn and Launch conference in 2016, in Boston and was selected by the MASSCUE organization to speak as a keynote speaker about her work with math music videos.

Badola continues to enhance her leadership skills day by day: she started a Ted-Ed club that highlights “Power of Music” and encourages her peers to brainstorm ideas to utilize music in various ways to help combat any social and health issues. Her goal is to submit her work to the Ted-X club In New York to be able to spread her message to a wider audience.

Aditya Hoque

Aditya Hoque

Marlborough, MA

Aditya Hoque has a passion for math. A graduate of the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science, an advanced two-year secondary school program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough, MA, he specializes in advanced Grade 11 coursework in Math Modeling, Physics, Engineering, Research, Technical Writing, Computer Science, Humanities, and Immersion Spanish as well as scoring a 5 on the AP courses for Computer Science, Physics Calculus Mechanics, Physics Calculus Electricity and Magnetism, and Calculus BC.

He, along with his teams, has placed in multiple mathematics competitions, including:

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Invitational Math Meet – 1st place
  • Mixer Round of Math Majors of America for High Schoolers at Yale University – 2nd place
  • Princeton University Math Competition (an international competition), Number Theory Round – 3rd place
  • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Qualifying Regional Fair – 2nd place
  • National Merit Scholarship – Semifinalist

Hoque is also passionate about baseball and is captain of his school’s varsity baseball team. He combined this love of the sport and his passion for math in his STEM research project, “Who’s Better? Creating a Novel Simulation for Baseball Player Analysis”, a 9-month research project focused on innovating the data science of baseball through computer science.

An avid inventor and developer, Hoque has created an adapted lunch bag for individuals who lack the motor skills necessary to operate most lunch bags as part of an Assistive Technology project, the “MagnetBag” as part of his Grade 11 curriculum. He has also participated in several Hackathons from Grade 9 to Grade 11, developing:

  • sign-in technology that uses location data
  • an app that allows users to parse text from images
  • a website that allows users to search for themselves across all social media platforms at once.

Hoque also provides private math tutoring for clients in middle school and is certified as a SCUBA Rescue Diver. This summer, he has a fun job hosting video game parties in a mobile game truck to save money for college.

Aansh Jha

Aansh Jha

Lexington, MA

Aansh Jha is an athlete and philanthropist in his own right in the sport of table tennis. From a young age, he has had a deep passion for the sport, and has participated, along with his younger brother, in the US Nationals for table tennis. Though he was deemed too young to participate in the tournament, his family fought to let their two children participate as a doubles pair, and they were eventually allowed to play, where they won the event handily against their older peers.

Jha has done a large amount of philanthropic work in the country of Haiti, where he has taught table tennis to children there, along with local coaches. He is going to soon become a Level 1 coach in table tennis, a sport that he likes to say is “playing a game of chess while doing 100 m sprint”. He held several camps in Port-au-Prince and has been interviewed and appeared on Haitian news for his philanthropy. He is Student-President of the organization USAF-AHTT (USA Friends of Association Haïtienne de Tennis de Table).

In high school, Jha is an active member of the Quizbowl and History Bowl Club. He will be promoted to Captain in his sophomore year in fall of 2018.

Earlier this year in April, Jha had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. and play in the History Bowl Nationals, where he tied for 2nd place. Academically, Jha is an honors student and shows great interest in science. In the 8th grade, he participated in the State Science Olympiad and won 2nd place in the Food Science and Optics event. Jha has deep interest in marine biology, and he has completed a 3-week course at the Boston Leadership Institute in the subject.

Sahith Kaki

Sahith Kaki

Nashua, NH

A rising senior at Nashua High School South, Sahith Kaki is a high-achieving student with a special interest in the STEM subjects. A member of Mu Alpha Theta (the National High School & Two-Year College Mathematics Honor Society), Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, and the Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Societies, he is the recipient of the Scholastic Book Award Scholarship to Bryant University.

He is a Student Instructor at the Kumon Math and Reading Center of Nashua, and he is a volunteer at the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and VT Seva, for which he has earned 2 Gold Presidential Services Awards. Through VT Seva, Kaki raised money for the Chennai Floods Relief Fund and the Nepal Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund.

Kaki attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 2017 (the highest rank available in the Boy Scouts) and was also awarded the Daniel Webster Council’s Eagle Scout of the Year Award that year. He has also earned a bronze Eagle Palm, the prestigious Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award and the 2018 Granite Strong Scout Award.

Kaki has competed in the New Hampshire Science and Engineering Expo and his team placed 1st in the Behavioral Science category for their project, “Observing the Hawthorne Effect on Computational Ability Across Various Age Groups”. This project received recognition from the American Psychological Association. He has also competed in the New Hampshire Science Olympiad competition and received 4th place in the Rocks and Minerals competition. Kaki has also completed a summer research program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst studying the biology of plants.

Aditya Khanna

Aditya Khanna

Shrewsbury, MA

A rising senior at the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School (AMSACS) in Marlborough, MA, Aditya Khanna is actively involved in his community as an Eagle Scout, which he earned by organizing a charity tennis tournament to raise funds for refurbishing the Dean Park Tennis Courts, which are enjoyed and used daily by many residents of the Worcester County, oversaw the improvements made to the courts personally and worked alongside many officials in the Town of Shrewsbury to make his project a success and ultimately earn his Eagle Scout Award at the age of 15, the youngest in his troop to do so.

The inspiration for this project was Khanna’s love of tennis, which he has played for eleven years. He is also the captain of his high school’s Varsity tennis team and led the team to a Central Massachusetts division I victory. The team ultimately progressed to the division I state finals, the first time in the school’s history.

Khanna is a member and mentor for many teams and organizations in his school. As part of the speech and debate team, he was one of the few members of the team to qualify for the National Speech tournament. Khanna is also part of the national Model UN team in this upcoming year and has been a mentor to his school Model UN, where he has received Best Delegate ranking and special mentions at several Model UN conferences.

In the 2017, TyE Boston competition, Khanna and his team won 2nd place overall for their creation and presentation of their company, BriteBarrel, which sought to transport water within underdeveloped countries. Khanna follows this passion for business through the number and variety of internships he has held in the past two years. Last year, Khanna had the opportunity to travel to Colorado and work under the CEO of Intrix, a payment processing company, for two months.

Amol Khanna

Amol Khanna

Nashua, NH

Amol Khanna is a bright young man who has pursued his passion for scientific research. He is a research intern at the Kelleher Lab at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. With Dr. Shannon Kelleher, he is studying how the differing microRNA expression in women with a mutation in the gene SLC30A2 can affect the concentrations of key proteins in breast milk. This study is part of a broader goal at the Kelleher lab to understand Neonatal Zinc Deficiency, which is a leading cause of death in babies in the United States.

He has also worked as a research intern at the Mazumdar Shaw Centre for Translational Research. He worked with Dr. Aditya Chaubey and Dr. Anuradha Arya to determine whether gelatin methacrylate hydrogels are effective as biomimetic three-dimensional matrixes for modeling breast cancer. This was part of a broader effort to determine why cancer drugs are so effective in the lab but are not effective when introduced into the human body. The study found that cancer cells cultured in a three-dimensional matrix are significantly more resistant to cancer drugs than when cancer is traditionally cultured on two-dimensional plates

Khanna works at ThinkForFun, where he teaches children from third to ninth grade solve problems found on math competitions including Continental Math, Math Olympiads, MathCounts, and AMC 10.

Academically, he has qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) twice, and has received a score of 5/5 on 12 out of 13 AP tests taken (Physics 1, Physics 2, Physics C: Mechanics, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, Biology, Chemistry, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, US Government and Politics, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, English Language and Composition) as well as a 1590 on the SAT.

Khanna won 1st place in the novice division at the Lexington Winter Invitation and in the Massachusetts Debate League in 9th grade. He was appointed co-president of his high school policy debate club in August 2016. Since then, he has helped gather evidence for the team, teach novice debaters, and organize trips for the tournaments. Recently, he won 2nd place in the junior-varsity division of Harvard’s debate tournament.

Krithi Krishna

Krithi Krishna

Westborough, MA

Krithi Krishna is a young woman with a love for teaching, tennis and music. In the summer of 2017, she worked with an autism school in Chennai, developing a science curriculum and teaching material, which they started using with the students. A Division 1 MA State Tennis Finalist in 2018, she teaches tennis and English in to inner city children in Worchester, MA with the organization Tenacity.

Krishna is a repeat summer intern at the Broad Institute, where she works in Genomics Processing. Each year, she has taken on more responsibility, and she is now running a process all by herself.

In school, she is the Westborough High School Book Award winner for her scholastic achievement, a member of the National Honors Society and was the Grand Prize winner of the 2015 MA State Fair.

In her free time, she is a Carnatic singer, a volunteer and science teacher at the Young Einstein Science Club in Acton, MA, and a Chinmaya Bala Vihar student and volunteer.

Varun Lingadal

Varun Lingadal

Nashua, NH

Varun Lingadal combines the best of academics and athletics. A rising senior on target to be Valedictorian, Varun is a 2018 Yale Book Award recipient, as well as a nominee to the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2019, nominated by the New Hampshire Science & Engineering Expo Scholars (NHSEE).

Possessing an aptitude for math, Lingadal has been awarded high honors in Mathematics by the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University and received the highest score on the 2016 American Mathematics Competition 10 (AMC10).

A talented left-hand pitcher for his school baseball team, Lingadal has received several MVP awards between 2012 and 2018, and in June of 2018, received the “Underwood Game Player of the Game”. Lingadal finds time to engage with Letters Carriers of Nashua with their food drive, presenting on science topics at the Gyana Mandaara (Knowledge Forum) events at New England Kannada Koota (NEKK), working in the logistics department at St. Joseph hospital in Nashua, volunteering at the Veerashaiva Samaaja of New England (VSNE).

As Austin M. Wasserman of AB Athletic Development said of Lingadal: “Varun is an intelligent, highly motivated, focused and committed individual. He’s the type of person you get excited to work with. Varun does the right thing when nobody else is watching. In my mind, this is a symbol of true character. With the way he carries himself, I know he will do some great things in the future, not just in baseball, but in life.”

Rohit Mangtani

Rohit V. Mangtani

Nashua, NH

As a rising senior at Nashua High South, Rohit Mangtani is a young man who has organized STEM programs for middle school students to get jump start in STEM, helped city engineering department during summer internship and has actively raised funds for Technology Student Association.

He interned in Nashua city engineering department under the Mayor’s internship program. He worked at The Huntington at Nashua, a retirement community, during his last summer break to gain professional experience while serving the local senior community. He has been an active member and volunteer for the Indian Association of New Hampshire (IANH) youth group, participating in soup kitchen activities, helping organize Nach Nights and cultural festivals to raise funds for various charities.

At his school, Mangtani has founded both an Ethics Bowl club and Ping-Pong club, as well as being an active member in the STEMBUDs club, which helps middle school students to get a jumpstart in STEM, and the Technology Student Association.

He has attended several scientific completions, participated in the TyE business plan competition and robotics competition. He has a keen interest in coding, and has attended progressively challenging summer activities including Robotech, ID Tech, the WPI Frontiers Program in 2017 and he participated in Metrohacks at MIT this year.

Anay Mehta

Anay Mehta

Andover, MA

Anay Mehta is debater, poet, Tabla player extraordinaire. A rising junior at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, he is a board member of the second oldest debating association in the United States, where he has won multiple awards, including top overall individual speaker at the St. Sebastian’s invitational tournament in February 2018.

A student of the Tabla, he has passed four levels of exams from the reputed Bangiya Sangeet Parishad in West Bengal. He has performed Tabla at various school concerts as well as NESOM (New England School of Music) and Sai Alliance recitals since 2013. He loves to create Indian-American fusion music using Indian sound of Tabla with other instruments and songs. He also produces music in other genres of hip-hop and rock and is passionate about the music scene.

An avid writer of poetry and short stories since the 4th grade, Mehta recently published his first poetry book titled “Pieces of My Puzzle” which will soon be available on Amazon. Mehta also published and recited his poem “Environmental Irony” at the annual poetry meet organized by SAPNE (South Asian Poets of New England) at Harvard University in May 2016. He has published poems in Lokvani portal and his school magazines. He plans to continue this passion and has dream is to write a novel one day.

Earlier this summer, Mehta traveled to Ahmedabad, India to volunteer with the Manav Sadhna charitable trust, affiliated with Gandhi Ashram. He was involved with teaching and leading activities for pre-school age children for the biggest slum area in Ahmedabad. He was also involved in creating a science curriculum for elementary school kids in the Manav Gulzar slum.

He helped the “Earn n Learn” program where kids do arts and crafts, create cards and make money for their family. This program has the intent to educate kids and to keep kids off the streets from doing hard child labor to provide for their families.

Mehta is planning to raise funds for this program by selling the handmade cards in the US and returning all the profits back to Manav Sadhna. In summer of 2017, he also volunteered his time with Lawrence General Hospital to entertain geriatric patients.

Lakshita Motwani

Lakshita Motwani

Andover, MA

Lakshita Motwani has followed her passion for swimming to become a synchronized swimmer. A member of the ANA Synchro Synchronized Swimming Team from when she was 7 years old, she was the honorary recipient of the “Synchronized Swimming Hardest Worker” award this past year.

She has competed in seven different national synchronized swimming championships, simultaneously gaining tremendous experience working alongside teammates. Motwani is an integral part of her team, where she inspires her teammates to strive for their best, and mentors the next generation of synchronized swimmers by coaching younger children.

Alongside her swimming, Motwani is a tutor at Kumon, where she mentors children in reading and math in order to establish a strong work ethic from a young age. Lakshita also volunteers in soup kitchens, sings Christmas carols for the elderly and prepares bagged lunches for the homeless in conjunction with her extracurricular activities and academics. All of these activities combined, have resulted in her induction into her school’s National Honor Society this previous school year.

Rianna Mukherjee

Rianna Chitra Mukherjee

Southborough, MA

“We must persist” was Rianna Mukherjee’s rallying cry to thousands of protesters in Worcester, MA at the “March for Our Lives” event on March 24th, 2018 against violence caused by guns in America.

Mukherjee is an ardent political activist, working tirelessly against gun violence and for women’s rights and healthcare in America. She has been recognized with an award for civic conduct by Mayor Joseph Petty of Worcester and Senator Elizabeth Warren has posted several pictures with Mukherjee on the Senator’s own social media feed.

Mukherjee has given voice to the protest against gun violence in America through her passionate speech at the March for Our Lives rally in Worcester, MA.  Multiple news and press outlets, including the Worchester Telegram, have covered her speech and interviewed her.

As part of this initiative, she helped create walkout and legislative guides for every state and distributed them among walkout organizers all over New England.  She has lobbied at the Massachusetts State House and with Representative Gregoire for the Extreme Risk Protection Order, which would allow an individual to petition for another individual, who is a danger to himself/herself, to not have access to firearms for a year.  This Extreme Risk Protection Bill H.3610 was passed through the Massachusetts Senate on June 7th, 2018 and has been sent to Governor Baker’s office.

Mukherjee has assumed critical roles in her pursuit of justice and freedom for all, serving as the Communications Director of the Massachusetts High School Democrats, Founder and President of the Democratic Chapter of Algonquin Regional High School and co-President of the She-Hawks feminist club at Algonquin Regional High School, where she will become a Senior from the Fall of 2018.

Mukherjee has worked on Quentin Palfrey’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor and will work on Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for the US Senate as part of her internship this August with Senator Warren’s office.

Prisha Naduthota

Prisha Naduthota

Westford, MA

A prolific writer, Prisha Naduthota published her first novel, “Through Golden Blue Eyes” in 2016 through FastPencil, which is distributed by the publisher, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and other book sellers.

Naduthota has donated much of her profits to the charity organization Ekal Vidyalaya, which aids in education for disenfranchised Indian Youth. She has won the National Novel Writing Month writing challenge for 3 consecutive years in a row, and has two more novels that are currently being edited with the hopes of being published in the near future.

When she is not writing, Naduthota has worked as an intern for ‘Asian Taskforce Against Domestic Violence’ in the summer of 2017 in their Boston location. She is currently working as a volunteer in Veterans Affairs Hospital systems since the summer of 2017.

Kabir Nagral

Kabir Nagral

Andover, MA

A social entrepreneur with a passion using technology for the betterment of society, Kabir Nagral founded a technology startup focused on social innovation, to help foster economic development of the world’s disabled community, Samaage Technologies. Samaage (which means society) is involved in building accessibility solutions and eLearning platforms for the disabled and is committed to the advancement of assistive technology innovation.

Having done a lot of work in the space of assistive technology, Nagral is building a mobile-based navigation solution to assist the disabled, and specifically people with visual impairment, to navigate the interiors of an educational campus, mall, museum, trade show, or an office complex, while providing valuable information on campus buildings and indoor facilities, stores in a mall, museum exhibits, or a simple thing such as bathrooms and ramps.

Current outdoor navigation solutions do not work well indoors, and certainly do not provide the informational detail necessary for an inclusive indoor experience.  In the world of disability, access to indoor spaces is the next level of inclusion. While the solution is targeted towards creating inclusive spaces for the disabled community, it is built on a universal design principle and can be used by everyone.

Nagral also trained in music production and audio engineering under renowned Indian music producer Ashish Manchanda, a protégé of five-time Grammy-winning audio engineer Bruce Swedien (whose works include Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’). He was selected to represent Phillips Academy at the 2018 American High School Theater Festival in conjunction with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as the Sound Designer for the school’s theater production ‘Big Love’ and has worked on theatre productions at Phillips Academy and in Mumbai.

Priyanka K. Naithani

Barrington, RI

Priyanka K. Naithani volunteers to enact real and substantial change in our world. Naithani’s recent work includes building fifteen homes in rural Guatemala for families in need as a CHIME IN Youth Ambassador and spending two months in the Entomology Department in AVDRC World Vegetable Center in Tainan, Taiwan as part of the prestigious Normal Borlaug Ruan International Internship Program.

Her internship, which focused on protecting the cabbage crop from infectious moths, followed Naithani’s experience at the World Food Prize Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, where she was the only student representative from Rhode Island. During the conference, she met with esteemed researchers, CEOs, and policymakers who are at the forefront of combatting global food insecurity and poverty. She presented her research thesis on malnutrition in Haiti and Moringa plant as a possible solution to the devastating ecological and community health impacts.

Recently, she worked as a Program Director at United States Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C., where she wrote policy briefs and reports about rural poverty in America and analyzing the impact of the program objectives within the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

Divya Raghunathan

Divya Raghunathan

Shrewsbury, MA

A rising sophomore at Shrewsbury High School, Divya Raghunathan was selected to present her science fair project, which characterized various environmentally friendly road salt alternatives, at MSSEF’s State Science Fair at MIT.

She has also received a Degree of Merit and Honor from the National Speech and Debate Association for her dedication and passion to the art.

After a season of hard work, Raghunathan and her team members placed 1st at the Global Finals for Destination Imagination’s Service Learning Challenge against 68 other teams. They additionally received the Da Vinci award for outstanding creativity and innovation which has not been awarded to any team in the past 4 years. This win followed a 1st place win at Regionals and a 2nd place victory at States.

Sreshtaa Rajesh

Sreshtaa Rajesh

Northborough, MA

A student at the Worchester Polytechnic Institute’s the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science, Sreshtaa Rajesh is an extraordinary young woman who enjoys a variety of challenges and the opportunity to work with others on problem solving tasks and group projects.

Her STEM1 project, “Engineering a Smart Brace that Detects Joint Bleeding in Hemophiliacs”, earned her fourth place at the Worcester Regional Science Fair and an Honorable Mention at the Massachusetts State Science Fair held at MIT.

Rajesh interned this summer at the Broad Institute at MIT, working with the Epigenomics team on a computational biology project. She is part of a team currently looking at structures called histones, which are capable of silencing genes based on their amino acid sequence. Her task is to assist with developing an algorithm to help reduce the amount of noise they are receiving in the data collection.

Pranav Ravichandran

Pranav Ravichandran

East Hampton, CT

Pranav Ravichandran’s motto is to offer service especially in the area of health care and homelessness. His nonprofit (which is currently seeking 501c3 status), “Penny for Poor”, has collected close to 1 million pennies, which have been donated to charities. Ravichandran had observed that many do not much care about pennies and having seen many of the coins lying all over the place,  along with the goal of not to burden donors and make best use of pennies, he seeks donation of pennies and pennies only.

Ravichandran has received numerous awards for his non-profit work, including The Volunteer Service Award at his school and a Spirit of Community Awards nomination by his hometown of East Hampton, CT.

He has also organized a high school fund raiser for the school’s Robotics team, volunteers at a homeless shelter in Middletown, CT and the American Red Cross.

Tejas Sathyamurthi

Tejas Sathyamurthi

Nashua, NH

A rising senior at Nashua High South, Tejas Sathyamurthi is a STEM student par excellence. His research for “Development Of Durable Flame Retardant Fabrics Via Surface Chemical Functionalization” has garnered him multiple awards, including:

  • 2018 New Hampshire Science and Engineering Expo (NHSEE), Engineering category- 1st Place
  • Selected as one of the top five research paper presentations at Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS), Oral Presentation
  • 2018 National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium- National Finalist
  • Yale Science and Engineering Association Award – Most Outstanding Exhibit in Computer Science, Engineering, Physics or Chemistry at the 2018 New Hampshire Science and Engineering Expo.

In addition, he has qualified for a Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for his service at the Boys and Girls Club for Nashua (BGCN), with over 400 hours of volunteering given. He has also conducted a Science Workshop for the Indian Association of New Hampshire (IANH) for Grades 3-5 and Grade 6-8 for 2 years.

Nandini Seetharaman

Nandini Seetharaman

Shrewsbury, MA

An energetic and ardent volunteer of Ekal Vidyalaya, an NGO that builds schools across rural India, Nandini Seetharaman created and ran the Annual Ekal Writing Competition in 2014, which became a national competition in 2016, with the winners being invited to the Ekal National Conference in New York.

Seetharaman’s efforts with Ekal Vidyalaya raised more than enough money to fund three schools in India for a year. In February of 2017, she was awarded the Nishi Nehra Volunteer of the Year Award. In the summer before her senior year, Seetharaman went on a ten-day internship with the organization to Jharkhand, India where she viewed Ekal health centers and initiatives, and taught English and Science in the Ekal schools. She worked with centers that teach digital literacy, tailoring courses, and farming education. Meeting the students that learn in these schools inspired her to work harder in her own education, so she can continue to give back to them.

Seetharaman is also interested in public health and medicine. She attended the Leadership and Global Health summer institute at Brown University where she learned about public health and wrote a proposal to combat malaria in rural India. Her experience at this program inspired her to work with Ekal Arogya, the public health branch of Ekal Vidyalaya. She wants to help rural Indian villages receive the medical care and resources they need.

Shreyas Sinha

Shreyas Sinha

Nashua, NH

When faced with the national opiod crisis, Shreyas Sinha stepped up to the task. Sinha has worked at the state and local level to develop strategies against New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic and has been invited by the Mayor of Nashua to be part of various councils and teams to develop youth drug-prevention strategies.

Since 2017, Sinha has been invited to coalition meetings with directors of large New England non-profit organizations, such as Boys & Girls Club and the YMCA. He has served an intern for Congresswoman Ann Kuster to promote economic development for the state and is currently a Save the Children Student Advocate that works to advance childhood development legislation at the national level, and was invited to the National Advocacy Conference at Washington DC in March. Sinha has also had the opportunity to give a TEDx speech in February.

Sinha founded an organization, called The Semper Project, that combats the opioid epidemic by providing Positive Psychology and leadership training to young students through after-school programs and Summer leadership Camps. So far, the organization has worked with over a hundred students in Nashua, NH.

Ayush Srivastava

Ayush Srivastava

Lexington, MA

Ayush Srivastava is the youngest International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) certified level one coach in the world and is now currently the youngest coach in the world to pass the ITTF level 2 exam. He competed in the US National Championships held in Las Vegas in 2017, but also competes in local table tennis tournaments and leagues as well.

Srivastava conducts table tennis group classes for kids at The Academy of Creative Arts on weekends and is constantly working on ways to reduce stress for kids while promoting the sport as a fun and engaging activity. He believes this amazing lifetime sport will help them build a balanced personality and will serve as an anchor helping them make the right choices as they explore the world around them.

A natural leader in his community, Srivastava has worked as an intern for his state representative candidate and volunteers at numerous public events hosted by the Meru Education Foundation. He loves to communicate in Hindi and is very proud of his Indian heritage, engaging adults of Indian origin in conversations in the language. He has also represented Lexington high twice in regional science fair competitions.

Sahil Vyas

Sahil Vyas

Shrewsbury, MA

Sahil Vyas is a dedicated community volunteer who has been actively engaged in numerous activities both within his school and in the larger community.

He was awarded the Citizenship Award by the India Society of Worcester in recognition of his community service, as well as his school’s Community Service Award and the Principal’s Citizenship Award for exceptional service both within and outside the school. He has raised funds for important causes at his school, such as Hurricane Harvey Relief, where he managed to raise $5,000 in two weeks of fundraising.

During his summers, Vyas has been an active volunteer with the VHP America Summer Camp where he teaches and mentors younger children in yoga, dance and team building exercises for the past four years.

He also is the head volunteer helping teachers with the Floral School Summer enrichment program. He is also involved with the New Entrant Assistance Team helping new students adjust when they transition into the school district.

Vyas is an active member of the India Society of Worchester Youth Group (IYG), and has served as Assistant Treasurer, Treasurer, Vice President and finally President in his senior year. He has been an integral player in organizing activities and fundraisers such as Relay for Life, India Day at the DCU Center in Worcester and the annual Spirit of Shrewsbury parade.

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