Class of 2021 Ambassadors
The purpose of the Ambassador Program is to foster learning and civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership in highly motivated and mature Young Scholars. The following group represents the 2021 class of Young Scholar Ambassadors. Please take a moment to learn about their service projects, in their own words.
Anika L., 16
The Splash Zone
The Splash Zone is a free, interactive workshop series hosted in partnership with the Mitchell Park Library in Palo Alto, CA. Kids can create their own dream islands, carnival games, roller coasters, and water cycle simulators, all while learning content aligned with PAUSD school district curriculum and state standards. Each workshop costs around $50 to run first-time, with recurring costs dropping to $20 after the first workshop. The Splash Zone aims to expand to neighboring libraries and, eventually, international centers to bring hands-on engagement across the globe.
Ashray S., 13
In my project, I hope to help students learn math through sports in order to create a more relaxed learning environment while encouraging students to gain a love for math. My inspiration for this project came from seeing those around me continue to bash math for how boring and difficult it is to understand. This made me think about how math could be taught to better keep students engaged while making certain aspects of the subject easier to understand. With these goals in mind, I hope to help those in my community and surrounding communities with Math-At-Play.
Harrish G., 15
The Future Brighter
My project, “The Future Brighter” is aimed to address the STEM deficiency that we face in our country. According to ACT data, not enough students in our country are equipped for STEM opportunities—now or in the future. USA currently ranks third in the world and produces only 12% of STEM graduates compared to China. I firmly believe that STEM awareness and interests must be created among children at an early stage, during the elementary school years. To address this problem, every community, county and state in our country have to work together in order to make US gain a leading position relative to other countries. To do my part of addressing this problem, I founded The Future Brighter (TFB), a nonprofit organization with a mission to create awareness of STEM education in our local communities. I conduct STEM clubs in my area elementary, middle schools and engage them in various science and math activities to motivate STEM interests among children. Please visit https://www.thefuturebrighter.org/ for more information about my organization.
Keshav N., 14
Although I was able to watch “The Magic School Bus” and The Physics Show since I was very young, many of my peers were first introduced to STEM at school – in a repetitive and somewhat dull fashion. My project, Magical STEM aims to combat this problem by combining magic and STEM. I have been performing magic to my friends and family for several years, so I am often found with a deck of cards in my hand! I hope to teach STEM to young children in a new and engaging manner.
Lakshmi Y., 15
The Terrapin Buddies
Personally, I have wanted to start a community service program for conservation efforts of the Northern Diamondback Terrapin (a species of turtle) since I learned about them during my freshman year in a marine biology class. I began to look for platforms that would allow me to develop my project and, potentially, make a difference to the conservation efforts in the near future.
For my project, I hope to educate other about that conservation of the species by setting up booths in local libraries and presenting to students at local schools about the importance of the species. I will also distribute petitions about the use of BRDs (bycatch reduction devices) to prevent accidental trapping of the special in other commercial fishing devices, such as crab pots.
Maya V., 15
Girls STEM Academy
My project is Girls STEM Academy. My main goal is to influence girls aged 11 through 19 in my state of Colorado to pursue STEM education and STEM careers to alleviate the tremendous shortage of women in STEM fields. There are 2.4 million job openings in STEM fields that are currently unfilled because of a shortage of workers. I am determined to change this by creating clubs in different schools. In these clubs, girls will learn the importance of STEM and be able to have mentors and explore STEM fields hands on. Most girls are discouraged by STEM fields, thinking they do not belong in those jobs, and I hope that my project can make an impact and change this!
Sai G., 15
Kids Within the Reach
My Project, Within the reach, address malnutrition in kids. I first got the idea when I was visiting family in India and I experienced first hand the poverty and hardships the kids faced. They were malnourished, rejected, and hopeless about their situation. I realized that they should be the focus of this project. I choose to address malnutrition in children over other important issues like education because before children can take advantage of educational resources they must have food in their stomachs to fuel them.
The goal for Within the Reach is to spread the idea of kids helping kids. Other students like me can share their talents by teaching camps where ever they are. Within the Reach would help these students develop curriculum and help them advertise their event. In return, the students would receive volunteer hours and first hand experience on teaching and communication skills.
Naythan C., 14
My project STEM2Leaf Robotics is an organization that teaches underserved youth in San Diego County about robotics, specifically programming and engineering. STEM is an important aspect of youth education, but proper STEM education should go beyond traditional mathematics and science and include robotics. In addition, learning robotics is often a fun way of learning STEM, by moving beyond the theoretical into the practical, and it offers many real-world opportunities in the workplace. However, the problem is that underserved students are at a disadvantage because most robotics programs are expensive. My project offers free robotics education, including training and materials. We host monthly workshops at two Boys and Girls Clubs in San Diego County (La Colonia Branch and Griset Branch) where we teach girls and boys about engineering principles and various robotics parts and modules, including various sensor technology! This past year STEM2Leaf Robotics served over 80 girls and boys, and we plan to expand further into a third branch, host cross-branch competitions, and host FIRST LEGO League fundraising workshops to enable these workshops to be self-sustaining! STEM2Leaf Robotics hopes to help as many students as possible through free robotics education!
Nir P., 12
Everything started with the problem. My grandma had trouble pouring hot tea because of her night blindness and I wanted to help her. I joined a group where people who are visually impaired or blind meet monthly to talk about products and services, they find useful in daily life. As I went to the meetings, I noticed one common factor. It was practically impossible for them to find out what devices, services or apps were available for them, other than through word of mouth. This is where the idea of a centralized website called WikiAbility (wikiability.org), similar to Wikipedia, that would be a single pane of glass view for all things available for people who are visually impaired was born from. Since I had experience developing websites, I found this idea feasible. I shared the idea with the group and they loved it.
I believed that it would be great to inspire and engage other young people to contribute into the accessibility world. However, there isn’t much awareness about this issue in the current community, and many children see making a difference as out of reach. So, I also decided to start raising awareness through a campaign where I visit schools in my local county and show them that they can make a difference in other people’s lives.
Sabrina G., 15
Girl Pride International
Girl Pride International (GPI) is a global girls empowerment organization inspired by former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn Initiative, which educates and empowers girls worldwide who are without access to education. Our mission at GPI is focused on serving socioeconomically disadvantaged, migrant, and refugee girls’ intellectual, material, and emotional needs. We help to provide access to resources like education, academic scholarships, mentoring and counseling, ambassadorships, workshops, and other forms of empowerment. Through working with girls from diverse backgrounds and connecting them with resources and other girls around the globe, we foster intercultural dialogue and build bridges across borders, empowering “Today’s Girls to be Tomorrow’s Leaders.”
GPI’s programs include the Ambassadors’ Scholarship Program, which supports each girl’s scholarly endeavors, elevating them into future community leaders by providing them with the resources they need to excel! We are also establishing GPI chapters around the globe, like Girl Pride Samburu, which is working closely with schools in Kenya, purchasing core-curriculum books, PPE, sanitary products, and solar lamps to keep students, particularly girls, engaged in learning so they do not drop out of school or are not married off! Our Crossing Borders international pen-pal program connects students in the US with Syrian refugee girls living in Jordan and migrant children from Central America who crossed our southern border. GPI is also motivating young female artists from impoverished background and recognizing their work with prized creative contests, creating an online community for these marginalized girls to share their stories in a future GPI magazine to share girls’ accomplishments worldwide! Lastly, GPI’s COVID-19 relief organization, Long Island Laboring Against COVID-19, or LILAC, has taken charge during the pandemic to raise over $102,000 to donate over 220,000 PPE, hundreds of meals, over 200 unique and inspirational student-made artworks, two dedication documentary films, to over 70 organizations and communities in the Long Island/New York City region and beyond, in an enormous grassroots effort to support those most vulnerable during a worldwide moment of need. Our work has been featured by Disney Channel’s 2021 “Use Your Voice” social initiative, NBC News, Newsday, etc., recognized with the Senate Commendation Award, and earned citations from the US House of Representatives, New York State Senate, County Executive Office and Legislature, and many other prominent cultural and community organizations.
If you would like to get involved in Girl Pride International, LILAC, or charter your own chapter in your school or region, please contact me at email@example.com and we would be delighted to provide mentorship and assistance to found your own chapter and begin your journey.
Sid S., 14
The Right Brain
My project, The Right Brain, helps underprivileged kids that have learning differences like ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia. Currently, I have a YouTube channel which talks about topics related to learning differences and I have a website and Facebook page that have discussion forums and other tools to help kids overcome LDs. My main goals are 1) to help schools identify more children with learning differences 2) to help children that can’t afford therapy and give them low or no-cost help and 3) to educate the general population on what learning differences are and how to deal with the symptoms.
My inspiration for this project was that I wanted to help the community in some way and realized that there are a lot of families who don’t have the awareness or resources to help their kids who have LDs.
Check out my website over here!: https://www.therightbrain.net/
Check out my youtube channel over here!: Our YouTube Channel
Yu-Ting C., 16
Project ROPEs (Research Opportunities with Programming Experiences)
I have always loved helping others, having so in numerous scenarios, from sports like taekwondo and skiing to academics such as writing and math. As a middle schooler, I completed science fair projects without much guidance available; after gaining valuable experience and opportunities from participating, I wish to pay it forward to younger students. Combining my passion for helping others with my research experiences, Project ROPEs will inspire students to take advantage of the opportunities in doing research.
Project ROPEs (Research Opportunities with Programming Experiences) is a student-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to teach the fundamentals of research and programming to students, guiding them on their journeys of scientific research. Through our main offering, the Research Crash Course, we benefit middle and high school students, with underrepresented minorities in mind, by helping them to seize research opportunities with the help of programming. Learning to do a science fair project will unlock opportunities from meeting mentors and professional scientists (even Nobel laureates) to being able to participate in higher-level competitions, gaining experience with more in-depth research. Their experiences will foster an interest in scientific research, leading them to continue exploration in STEM.
Shreya N., 16
Lead with STEM
The disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math (collectively known as STEM) have significant contributions in modern day developments and progress which have touched the lives of millions of people around the world. Creating a culture fostering STEM learning that inspires the youth of today is essential to meet the demands of the dynamic and evolving workforce, building students’ skills, and content knowledge. We must make sure that, no matter where children live, they have access to quality learning environments. A child’s zip code should not determine their STEM fluency. Neither should their gender be a limiting factor.
My project for the Young Scholar Ambassador Program is meant to address that need. Through my project, I would like to partner with my peers, teachers, and industry professionals to provide STEM learning to underprivileged youth, especially girls, who are often underrepresented in STEM careers. My goal is to impart STEM knowledge to youth in economically under-privileged local communities (Title 1 schools) through an afterschool program that teaches STEM concepts through various activities. I would like to setup STEM curriculum with guidance from my Ambassador advisor, and setup the delivery of the STEM learning to the youth who would benefit from it the most. The training will be in the form of classroom training and will also use online training methods whenever classroom training is not feasible, due to geographic location and distance. My goal is to create a delivery system of STEM education which is accessible, intuitive, effective and above all a tool to motivate future leaders from the sections of society who have the least opportunities.