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Class of 2024 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 2024 class of Davidson Ambassadors. Please take a moment to learn about their service projects, in their own words.

Girl in a blazer smiling in front of a wall

Annabella S.
11
Reno, Nevada
Davidson Explore and College Courses

“In my free time, I love playing the piano, playing with my dog, doing art and origami, playing sports, creating videos, solving Rubik’s cubes, and reading books. I’m also a model and a concert pianist.”                         

Project: EMPOWER! (Entrepreneurial Leadership and Math Power!)

While much of the world has progressed from the days when girls couldn’t go to school, today there still exists a significant gender gap in quantitative fields and in leadership. The EMPOWER! Project aims to bridge the gap in math and leadership. I hope to increase diversity and empower girls and disadvantaged children to reach their full academic and professional potential in mathematics and entrepreneurial leadership when they grow up. My project was inspired by my observations that girls only accounted for 5% of top national math contestants and that math camps (including one that I attended), as well as quantitative fields of study, typically have very low percentages of girls, especially at more advanced levels. In addition to math, there is also a big gender gap in entrepreneurial leadership. For example, only about one in four US startups has a woman on the founding team, and only 14% of US startups have female CEOs. Thus, in addition to math activities and training, the EMPOWER! Project will cultivate leadership and work on mindset development to reverse biases against female leaders and groundbreakers. Through awareness, activities, and inspirational speakers, I aim to fight the society’s biases to help create equal opportunities and empowerment for all.

Teenage girl in a blazer smiling in front of a plant

Angel S.
14
Valley Glenn, California
Harvard-Westlake School

I love to read, watch Capybara videos, hang out with friends/family and shop online.

 

Project: Speechology

In response to the barriers underprivileged students face in pursuing public speaking dreams due to limited resources and the absence of speech and debate programs in many schools, Speechology emerges as a crucial, fun initiative. Focused on K-6 students, Speechology offers free speech and debate education to uncover hidden talents and inspire a lifelong passion for public speaking in students. Recognizing the lack of opportunities in many elementary schools, Speechology addresses accessibility issues by providing essential speech and debate education.

The organization’s mission extends beyond tournament success, emphasizing vital life skills to underprivileged students. By facilitating learning in various speech and debate events, Speechology broadens students’ perspectives and cultivates qualities such as preparation, cooperation, and effective presentation skills. In environments with limited resources, Speechology becomes a gateway for disadvantaged individuals to experience and benefit from speech and debate, breaking down barriers and fostering personal growth in young minds. Find Speechology on Instagram at @speechology_inc.

Teenage boy smiling with arms crossedAriel G.
14
Los Angeles, California
Stanford Online High School

Enjoys Latin Dance, learning Russian, cooking, school clubs, learning about ethics, philosophy and applied economics, travel and hanging with friends (including annual residential Summer@Stanford).                              

Project: superWisely

My involvement in peer tutoring at the start of the pandemic led to the realization that this was bigger than an educational gap. I was driven by a vision of a world where every student regardless of background had access to both foundational and financial education. I enjoyed the community connection and was inspired by the transformations I witnessed in the students I tutored. I created superWisely to actively address global disparities in accessing quality education and the lack of financial literacy education in mainstream curricula prioritizing underserved students worldwide. As a child of refugees, I’ve seen the challenges my parents endured to secure a brighter future and the value and
power of education in transforming lives – combined with my own first-generation experiences, it has cemented the importance of SuperWisely’s mission.

Financial literacy goes beyond just understanding money; it’s the key to breaking the chains of poverty, reducing debt, and fostering sustainable
economic growth at the grassroots level. Equipped with knowledge, students can make informed financial decisions, plan for their futures, and break cyclical
patterns of economic challenges. Addressing educational disparities ensures that every child can tap into opportunities previously inaccessible due to systemic barriers.

I will work to translate a superWisely website into multiple languages, ensuring wider accessibility. Students are matched with mentors and peers who share cultural similarities, making the learning experience more relatable and enriching. To further global education, our mentors and peers also will create and publish educational content in various languages to promote multilingual learning and celebrate the diverse narratives and experiences within our international community. This will facilitate establishing circles based on academic interests. Professional teachers will volunteer as advisers to the students providing tutoring to answer any questions regarding the curriculum or resources utilized in their lessons. I plan to develop a formal curriculum specifically in financial literacy for elementary, middle, and high school students, which would be available to all superWisely students and integrated as a formal school subject. I would also like to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the superWisely educational platform to create ideas and facilitate learning different topics through hands-on activities, make study aids, quizzes, and flashcards, help monitor posted content, facilitate translation into different languages, and monitor tutoring sessions.

Website: superwisely.com

Teenage boy smiling in front of a brick backgroundArjun R.
15
San Francisco, California
San Francisco University High School

“I enjoy reading, playing sports, and working on linguistics puzzles.”

 

Project Title: Endangered Voices Initiative

My project, The Endangered Voices Initiative (EVI), was inspired by my personal connection to endangered languages like Hakka, and fueled by my passion to promote linguistic diversity worldwide. EVI strives to save dying languages and preserve cultural heritage by creating an interactive website that will raise awareness by profiling endangered languages. We will also recruit volunteers to help in this effort, form partnerships, and generate funds to support preservation efforts globally. Our goal is to empower linguistic enthusiasts worldwide by creating a global community of engaged volunteers who will take part in remote language documentation. By preserving endangered languages, EVI seeks to celebrate linguistic diversity, prevent identity loss, and counterbalance linguistic hegemony. Check out our work-in-progress website here: endangeredvoices.org

Teenage boy smiling with a grass field behind himAniket Y.
13
Rosemount, Minnesota
Rosemount Middle School

“I like to play soccer, explore maps, and spend time with my family.

 

Project Title: GEMS (Geography, Engineering, Math, Science) Club

My project, GEMS (Geography, Engineering, Math, Science) Club, will supplement the intellectual needs of elementary and middle school students who wish to learn more about these subjects beyond what they are taught at school. There are students who really want to explore more in geography, and the teaching of engineering only begins in middle school at the earliest. There are also many students who need supplementation in math and science. Books are a great resource, but some students may not be able to sit and read the whole book. In libraries, they may need to wait a long time if the books are checked out. GEMS Club will give them fun questions every day, which they will try to answer. Once they learn the correct answer, their knowledge will expand.

One of my favorite subjects is geography, and I realized there aren’t many resources online for students like me. This inspired me to start GEMS Club, which will host daily quizzes, discussions, classes, and more to give students resources they may not have had otherwise.

GEMS Club Website: gemsclubforus.com

Teenage boy smiling with the ocean in the backgroundCaden L-S.
14
Los Angeles, California
West Charter High School

 “I love to read, but I especially enjoy fantasy books. I also enjoy swimming, learning languages, playing Dungeons and Dragons and working on math puzzles.”                                                                                                  

Project: Reading Your Way to Greater Emotional Intelligence

The goal of Reading Your Way to Greater Emotional Intelligence is to help children learn Emotional Intelligence skills through reading books. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and skillfully respond to the emotions in yourself or others. Unfortunately, not enough people are able to afford access to mental health care. Additionally, many people believe emotions are an obstacle or something to be controlled and suppressed. I want my project to allow people to be able to access tools for mental health care more easily as well as help reduce stigma against emotions. In order to help, my project will involve using books as a base for learning Emotional Intelligence. Books allow people to see other people’s perspectives and practice working with emotions in situations. For the project, I will make videos of myself asking questions based off of situations in books in order to help children think more deeply about emotions.

Teenage boy smiling in front of an interior wallCamden K.
14
Scotts Valley, California
The Harket School in San Jose

 Enjoys playing basketball, foraging for mushrooms, and racing go-karts in his free time.

                                                                                                                 

Project: Health Heroes

My project, Health Heroes, is dedicated to bringing health and nutrition education to students in underprivileged communities. I will do this by creating a website with grade appropriate content that appeals to students of ages K – 5 that can easily be downloaded and incorporated into the classroom setting. My inspiration for this project was seeing the inequities in health education and the impact it had on students. I believe that starting health education at a young age will build a foundation for a healthy life.

Boy posing for a school photoDhilan S.
13
Chicago, Illinois
8th Grader in Middle School

Enjoys swimming, playing video games, hanging out with friends, and reading in his free time.

 

Project: Generation Z against Genocide

I am going to address lack of awareness about the Holocaust and the nature of genocides. A large percentage of my generation is either ignorant or misinformed about the events of the Holocaust and/or the nature and scale of genocides around the world. The goal is to improve awareness to prevent persecution of marginalized groups both within the US and globally. The inspiration for this work is my friend Janine who is a Holocaust survivor and others who preserve through these atrocities.

Portrait of boy looking up at the camera and smilingFenley S.
16
Rockville, Maryland
Stanford Online High School

 “In my free time I love reading/writing, especially fantasy; engaging in ethical debates; rock climbing; traveling; watching comedy, action, and spy movies; competing in Pokémon tournaments; and playing The Legend of Zelda video games.”

Project: Business School in Backpack

I have been interested in entrepreneurship since I was seven when I started participating in the Acton Children’s Business Fair, a one-day marketplace where kids can learn business skills and sell their own products. Over the years, I’ve participated in dozens of these fairs and launched a business online selling handmade artisan soaps and pens.  I am part of what is considered to be the most entrepreneurial generation ever -studies show that over half of those in Gen Z want to be their own bosses. However, business and entrepreneurship aren’t taught in most schools, and many camps and specialty programs are economically out of reach for many kids. And yet, the world is counting on our generation to think outside the box and solve some really big problems.

My best friend and I decided to gather some expert advice to try to fill that critical knowledge gap. We wanted to know: What does it really mean to be an entrepreneur, and what does it take to get there? What can we learn from those who came before us, and from those doing it right now? How do we get up to speed fast, and meld their experience with our ambition, ideas, and instinct? The result is our forthcoming book, Down To Business, 51 Industry Leaders Share Practical Advice on How to Become a Young Entrepreneur, which will be published by Random House on March 5, 2024.

The original title of the book was “Business School in a Backpack”. While it was changed through the editing and publishing process, the sentiment, and intention, remain: to level the playing field and deliver advice and skills from globally successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leaders directly into the hands of any kid who wants it: business school in a backpack.  My project is to partner with local businesses and philanthropic organizations to get the book to youth groups, schools, libraries, and community centers. I will couple these book donations with speaking engagements and live interviews or ‘talk-backs’ with experienced local entrepreneurs, which is a fun and engaging way for kids to learn. From there, I will build out my website to include more blogs, interviews, and resources for youth who want to make an impact through entrepreneurship.

More information about the book can be found at Down2biz.net Resources and advice will be posted here as it is developed.

School photo of a teenage girlJolee X.
13
Reisterstown, Maryland
McDonogh School

 “I like to step back and do the things that I love. Piano, guitar, volleyball, art, writing, reading, and looking up interesting technological and scientific advances are all activities that liven up my day”                                    

Project: Speaking in Numbers

Growing up near Baltimore City, I was not blind to the struggles of the children living in those areas. Every day, there would be some new story showing up; some were stories of success, but most were not positive, to say the least. The challenges those underprivileged kids faced were always lingering in the back of my mind, but recently, something of tremendous weight in the news caught my attention.

Reading about kids in Baltimore County, living just a little ways away from my residence struggling to do on-level math, really struck a chord within me. When I heard from a phone call that my dad’s tenant’s kid was one of those struggling children, I really felt the need to take action, as specifically in those underserved areas, it is hard to get help without taking away a chunk of money that low-income families need to go to other necessities.

Speaking in Numbers is to be an online, multi-format tutor volunteer program that helps struggling children in underserved communities acquire the mathematical knowledge they need to succeed in life; math is a language of its own, and being able to Speak in Numbers has the potential to guide young lives down the path to a brighter future.

Juliette L.
7
Sparks, NV
Homeschooled, edX

 “I like to play, teach, learn, paint, math games, build, swim, sing, perform, play the violin, piano, ukulele, and guitar. I also love meeting new people and making new friends.”


Project: Kids Teach U(niversity)

I’ve been a philanthropist since I was 4 years old. I donate the proceeds from the sales of my paintings to non-profits. When I got older, I started to teach painting to kids who can’t afford art classes and initiated interest of art in kids who haven’t been exposed to art. Parents have said that I have inspired their kids who have never been interested in art to want a painting set for Christmas, kids who hated reading to want to read all the time, kids who hated math to ask for math work, kids who were afraid of water to ask for swimming lessons. My efforts have been recognized by ABC News, NBC News, FOX News, talk shows, and news stations all over the world.

Then I observed that other kids have talents too and that I enjoy learning from other kids. I would like to explore the hidden talents of other kids and give them the opportunity to show and teach their passion. By teaching other kids, I have become more confident in painting, I have gained a deeper knowledge in painting and it has inspired me to become a better painter. I also feel the most fulfilled and happy after I teach a class and made a difference. If Kids Teach U could help me and my students, I know that it could do the same for other kid teachers and their kid students.

Kids Teach U is a platform where kids can teach kids.

Having self-confidence, a sense of purpose, feeling appreciated, included, and fostering open communication will prevent youth gun violence, self-harm, and bullying. Kids Teach U will make happy kids!

Julietteleong.com/KTU

Kids Teach U | Juliette Leong

Boy taking a selfie with a blank wall in the backgroundKasimir R.
15
Mclean, VA
Langley High School

 “I enjoy reading & spending time with family.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Project: The Medi-Mission Foundation

I was inspired to start the MediMission Foundation based on my passion for community service and helping others. I wanted to create a project that would allow me to make a real difference in people’s lives.

Through MediMission, I aim to address two key needs. First, the need to provide comfort, compassion, and joy to pediatric patients facing challenging hospital stays. My project will benefit hospitalized youth through care packages, toys, books, blankets, and other items that can lift their spirits during treatment.

Second, I seek to fill the gaps left by schools in educating youth about health challenges, the healthcare system, and supporting ill peers. MediMission will host seminars and workshops to empower students with a better understanding of these topics.

By offering direct support to hospitalized children and engaging in community education, I believe MediMission can deliver immediate and long-term benefits related to inclusion, empathy, and awareness. I am excited to collaborate with volunteers and hospital staff to bring this idea to life. Through this project, I hope to gain valuable leadership abilities while making a difference in my community.Read more about me and my work.

Girl posing for a school photoKatie W.
12
Westerville, Ohio
Homeschooled

“In my spare time I enjoy classical music, bake decadent cakes for friends and family, write and DM Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, and go on long bike rides and walks.”                                                                                       

Project: Bringing Back Beethoven

Using my enthusiasm and knowledge of classical music, I would like to revitalize it through exposure, education, and ultimately, creating excitement, buzz and appreciation for this genre of music.  The program will offer an intimate, thorough, engaging and immersive experience to elementary school students; they will learn basic music concepts and theory, complete composer studies including their iconic works, learn about various eras and their distinct sounds and characteristics, hear live performances from myself and my string quartet and other musicians, learn from guest speakers, and much much more!

Teenage girl smiling with a plant backgroundLila R.
16
San Francisco, California
San Francisco University High School

“I love to listen to music, write, and swim.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Project: Advocacy & Wellness for Asian Youth

Last spring, I decided to combine my passions for psychology and supporting the AAPI community by founding Advocacy & Wellness for Asian Youth (AWAY). AWAY is a nonprofit organization with a mission of helping Asian-American youth destigmatize mental health for themselves as well as their communities by providing accessible resources and a culture-conscious community. With the help of the Young Scholars Ambassador Program, I hope to turn AWAY into a vibrant space where conversations around mental wellness aren’t only welcomed — they are celebrated. Our website is a work-in-progress, but you can see what I’ve accomplished so far at away-sf.org!

Gril smiling in front of window shadesLiza K.
14
Middleton, Wisconsin
Homeschooled

“In my free time, I like to draw, crochet, and build modular origami models.” 

 

Project: Glean and Give

Throughout the summer, especially towards the end of the season, nearly everyone who has a garden is left with a large amount of produce. While a few people choose to harvest it and donate to a local food pantry, many others just leave it. Sometimes people can be busy, and other times it may just not seem worth it to harvest everything and drop it off. If instead, people could just contact someone to assist with this, this leftover produce would be able to help feed many families.

We have many community gardens in my area, and through my Ambassador project, I plan to create and expand a group of students to act as a go-between so that produce remaining at the end of the season can be donated to those in need. I would have a website where neighbors can request assistance with harvesting and donations. They could choose to either harvest the produce themselves and have me come pick it up or have me take care of the harvesting as well. Later on, I hope to expand my project by inviting other students to join and spread it to other communities. It’s a small step that can help many people while reducing the amount of food waste produced by community

Profile of teenage girl in front of foliageTaryn H.
14
Los, Altos
Private School

“I enjoy crafting, singing, backpacking, and spending time with my family and friends.”

                                                                                                                 

Project: Craft for Change (C4C)

Crafting with a purpose is my passion. There are so many challenges in our world today, and I believe through crafting we can bring more joy, kindness, and creativity into our lives and our communities. Whether it’s making paracord lanyards for deployed troops through Operation Gratitude or crocheting a beanie for Knots of Love, I love that crafting gives me an opportunity to bring a spark of joy and meaning to somebody’s day. This is why I started a crafting for causes club at my school with one of my friends that aims to serve our community. By bringing together students to craft towards specific goals, we can make a bigger impact than I ever could as just one person alone.

Craft for Change (C4C) will bring to the world a centralized online platform that allows crafters of all ages from around the world to connect with one another and work towards a common goal – bringing handcrafted goods to those in need. It will serve as a hub for various organizations and their respective needs, so that crafters can find where their skills and hobbies can best serve others. There are so many ways crafters can make an impact – knitted blankets for newborns in the ICU, mastectomy pillows sewn for women with breast cancer, or handmade cards made especially for veterans, just to give a few examples. The possibilities are endless!

C4C will harness the collective power of the crafting community to make a difference in our world. My hope is that C4C can fuel a movement of crafting and giving, powered by the principles of service, empathy, and community.

Boy smiling with fishing pole in hand on a dock in a lakeVick T.
14
Westchester, New York
Public School

Enjoys fishing, fencing and listenting to music in his free time.

 

Project: Fish Hut

After a long day filled with 3 tests and an in-class essay at school, I was mentally exhausted. When I got home, I decided to go fishing at the local pond near my house. All of a sudden, I felt a tap on my line. I reeled as fast as I could while my rod kept bending. “Is it a large-mouth bass, bluegill, carp, or a twig?” I asked myself. After 10 seconds of nonstop battling with my opponent, I pulled up a bass. The bass was about 20 inches and was beautiful with its shiny colorful scales. I released it back to the water.

My phone rang and I knew it was time to go home. After my brief fishing session, I felt relaxed and recharged! I wondered to myself, what if I didn’t have a fishing rod? How would I be able to fish? I realized that other youth could also benefit from fishing too and Fish Hut was born!

We recently organized a Fish Hut event at Central Park. We received endless compliments including “Mom, can we keep on fishing even after the event!…  Are you guys organizing another Fish Hut event next week?”. All 80 of our tickets were sold out, and many more people arrived on foot! We will be conducting our next fishing awareness event at Greenburgh Nature Center and we were approached by Cub Scouts of Westchester who are joining us on this mission.

Boy smiling with a lake in the backgroundWilliam T.
13
Westchester, New York
Public School

Enjoys fishing, sailing, reading, Science Olympiad, math, RC planes, and Model Rocketry.

 

Project: Fish Hut

In school, I often noticed my other classmates showing signs of stress and fatigue. It seems many teenagers face this challenge as they deal with many changes at home, in school, and in themselves. I was an avid fisherman and whenever I fished all of my stress disappeared. “Why don’t we introduce fishing to kids to help them feel better? I thought to myself. Then here comes Fish Hut! Fish Hut was launched in the spring of 2023. Our mission statement for Fish Hut is “To help promote positive mental health to every youth, one fish at a time”. We provide brightly colored fish huts that contain fishing rods/reels near bodies of water so that youths/kids can fish at leisure, We also provide fishing awareness events at public parks and nature centers eg. NY Central Park, and Greenburgh Nature Center. Fish Hut will be launching our flagship winter event: Largest Free Ice Fishing on Lake Minnetonka in Feb 2024.