Youth Advisory Board Members

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Candid Mack

Candid Mack, TX

Youth Advisory Board Coach, Programs and Events Coordinator (she/her)

Candid Mack has over five years of experience coordinating small business programs for adults. Throughout her professional career, she established the first Small Business Incubator and Pitch Deck Competition for Queens Public Library. Candid’s passion is to be a part of the change she wants to see. Her overall mission is to create a generation of leaders that are goal-oriented and will become successful entrepreneurs and professionals. In 2021, she served as a mentor for Intrepid Museum’s Goals for Girls program where she mentored girls in STEM in creating a mock business. Candid has spoken at different youth-based organizations educating kids on the importance of having goals. Candid received her Communications degree from St. John’s University.

Sandra Y

Alexandra (Sandra) Y, IN


Sandra is a high school senior from Carmel, Indiana. Since discovering her passion for computer science through her middle school robotics team, she has become fluent in languages like Python, C++, and Java, nationally ranked in several computing and cybersecurity competitions, and conducted original scientific research with labs such as the Harvard Visual Attention Lab, the Biocomplexity Institute at the University of Virginia, and the AI Health Lab at the University of Texas at Austin.

From serving as president of her school's Computer Science Honor Society, an organization with 70+ members, to conducting free STEM workshops for rural, low-income girls in Indiana, Sandra is committed to channeling her ambition, compassion, and leadership into making a meaningful difference. As the NGCP's Youth Advisory Board co-chair, she tirelessly advocates for gender equity in STEM, and she's excited to continue pursuing that mission with the Board of Directors!

Amanda O

Amanda O, PA

Amanda (she/her) is a sophomore from Langhorne, PA. She loves computer science and has been granted scholarships to attend various programming camps. She has become efficient in over 5 coding languages. She is the head website designer of her school’s literary magazine. She has co-founded the Women In STEM club for her school and is an ambassador for the national organization WiSTEM. She also works as a Research Assistant at a cancer research center during the summer. She is very excited to be on the YAB and hopes to be able to inspire other girls to go into STEM-related fields. In her free time, she enjoys reading, volunteering at her local library, and crocheting new accessories

Anika C - YAB

Anika C, TX

Anika is currently a junior in high school and her deep-rooted passion for STEM mainly lies in the field of biomedical engineering. Anika loves to explore the intersection between drug discovery and artificial intelligence and has spent the last few years conducting research on building a de-novo drug design platform to generate multitargeted drugs against Glioblastoma. She is also the co-founder and president of AcademyAid, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that aims to provide the material and school supplies necessary for underrepresented students in India to pursue a quality education. 

Outside of STEM and academics, Anika has been learning Indian classical dance (Bharatanatyam) for almost 10 years and was selected to perform internationally last year. Anika is very excited to be a part of NGC's Youth Advisory Board and hopes to continue to support girls who are interested in STEM! 

Anupa V

Anupa V, VA

Anupa is a high school freshman from Herndon, Virginia. She has always had a passion for STEM, specifically science. She’s wanted to be a doctor for as long as she can remember. Anupa is especially interested in oncology; she is currently enrolled in a course at Georgetown University to learn how to conduct medical research. She is also an active member of her school’s medical club. Another one of Anupa’s passions is the environment. She has been involved in environmental clubs since middle school. In 8th grade, her team won the Caring for Our Watersheds competition and received funding for her school’s compost program. She has also participated in climate change rallies in DC. 

Anupa is a member of her school’s Girl Up club which advocates for gender equality. She can’t wait to help create opportunities for other girls in STEM fields by joining the NGCP YAB. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the guitar, competing in public forum debate, playing chess, and reading. 

Audrey O - Teenage girl with dark hair and glasses

Audrey O, MD

Audrey is a high school junior in Silver Spring, Maryland who has always wanted to pursue a career in STEM. At her school, she is enrolled in the IB Diploma Programme and is a Peer Writing Center consultant. Academically, Audrey is interested in math and outer space and hopes to pursue a career in scientific research and engineering. She is also very passionate about educational equity in STEM fields and has worked to increase it by leading a chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, tutoring, writing for an international STEM magazine, and volunteering at a local interactive STEM Museum.  

Outside of STEM, Audrey enjoys travel and learning languages, currently studying Portuguese, Mandarin, and Twi. She hopes to study abroad and explore an interdisciplinary major in university that combines technology and machine design with human sciences. She is also a rising figure skater and hopes to begin competing in the sport when she goes to college. Overall, Audrey is grateful for this opportunity and incredibly excited to contribute to the YAB with ideas for introducing STEM to young girls nationwide. 

Charlotte D - YAB

Charlotte D, OH

Charlotte is a junior in high school who has had a passion for genetics and biology ever since she can remember. She loves hands-on labs and activities, especially dissections and running gels. She hopes to someday pursue a career in the biomedical science field to help others while exploring her passions. At school, she has been involved in PLTW Biomedical classes. Charlotte has also served as a school ambassador to introduce incoming students to the world of STEM. In addition, she has also attended several STEM programs and camps to further the pursuit of her passion for genetics. Charlotte also runs as a member of her school's cross country and track teams, sings in the school choir, and is part of student council. In her free time, you'll find her buried in a book, baking cookies, or belting her heart out to songs from her favorite playlist. She is very excited to be a part of the Youth Advisory Board and is looking forward to being more involved in STEM! 

Chloe M - YAB

Chloe S, VA

Chloe is a sophomore in high school from Huntington, WV. She is one of two girls in her school’s aerospace engineering program. Chloe has grown to realize the difference in treatment from teachers between boys and girls in the classroom, specifically math and science. Because of this, she is an advocate for girls in STEM in hopes of  helping to level the playing field in male-dominated subjects. She has attended the WV Governor’s STEM Institute where she studied space objects such as galaxies and exoplanets through telescopes, and edited pictures using the electromagnetic spectrum. She has also attended the United States Naval Academy’s Youth Leadership Program and founded the STEM club at one of the largest high schools in West Virginia. Chloe aspires to study aerospace engineering at the United States Naval Academy. Her goal is to become the first female astronaut from the state of West Virginia and explore Mars. She plans to use her career to advocate for women in STEM as well as the military. 

Cindy W

Cindy W, IL

Cindy is a sophomore from Illinois with a passion for math, physics, and computer science. She is a member of FIRST Tech Challenge Team 6200, where she is a programmer and involved with outreach activities. She is on her school's math and Science Olympiad team and enjoys competing in competitions and meeting new people. Currently, she is assisting professors in machine learning and computational physics research and has a published paper in IEEE. Later, she hopes to pursue a postgraduate degree in mathematics or physics. In her free time, she also enjoys listening to music or playing badminton with friends.

Claire Z

Claire Z, IL

Claire is a sophomore from Chicago, Illinois. As someone who is insatiably curious about outer space and absolutely fascinated with problem-solving using math and physics, she is excited to be able to share her passion with others through the NGCP. Making STEM more accessible for everyone is a reason she is eager to advance and hopes to be able to make a difference through the Board. Outside of STEM, Claire enjoys participating in the arts and is a member of her dance collective and her school's musical theater program. She also loves learning languages and is currently studying French, Mandarin, and Spanish. In her free time, however, she is usually found immersed in a fantasy book or volunteering at her local library.

Diya S

Diya S, CA

Diya is a Junior from California who firmly believes and advocates for equity of access in education for all students. STEM activities and research have been integral to Diya’s academic and extracurricular interests. Diya is passionate about human biology and has worked on projects using AI for cancer research with mentors from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California. She has been recognized by ISEF, NCWIT, USABO and is a two-time winner of the Congressional App Challenge award. For her project on democratizing cancer diagnosis and prognosis through an AI-driven app, Diya was chosen as a RISE Global Award Winner in 2023. Diya loves to play the viola and has achieved the highest level with the Music Teachers’ Association of California. She is slated to debut at Carnegie Hall in the coming year. Diya is part of the national award-winning Science Olympiad team at her school and has won individual first-place medals in several categories. She is the Founder and President of the American Cancer Society club and the President of the Biology Olympiad club. Diya plans to pursue further education in the interdisciplinary fields of Science, Technology and Humanities to positively impact patient care using her background in AI.  

As a life-long Girl Scout, Diya has mentored girls in Science Olympiad subjects, Python and Java. She has held several girl-centric programs and workshops through her non-profit organization focused on teaching mobile app development and AI. Diya is excited to be part of the Youth Advisory Board and support NGCP’s future goals and initiatives in implementing sustainable programs for girls nationwide. 


Frida Z, NY

A passionate high school junior from New York, on a thrilling journey through the world of STEM: a field she believes has the incredible power of giving everyone a voice! At just eleven, she left her cherished homeland of Albania to chase her own dreams in the city that never sleeps, New York - a place where limitations vanish, hard work triumphs, and hope never fades. While in her home country, she missed out on afterschool programs, labs, camps, and similar STEM workshops in her early years, but that fueled her determination to make a difference. She's now committed to raising awareness about STEM, especially scientific research, in Albania, the country where she took her first steps in STEM. Frida delves into her own research on the link between environmental issues and cancer, interns at a local Medical Office as an intern medical assistant, and serves as an explainer at the New York Hall of Science where she enjoys performing experiments and simplifying scientific concepts for individuals and students of all ages. Frida's big dreams include becoming a Cancer Researcher and Cardiothoracic Surgeon while continuing to inspire youth in the world of STEM. She believes that everyone should try to leave a mark on planet Earth during their stay here.

Gabriela R - Teenage girl with brown hair wearing white shirt

Gabriela R, FL

Gabriela is a high school student with a natural passion for engineering, learning, and advocacy! From a young age she was curious and inventive, leading her to participate in First Lego League competitions and help start a Girls Who Code club at her middle school. With these early experiences and after watching the successful NASA Perseverance rover landing, she was inspired and determined to pursue a career in aerospace engineering. Her drive to always challenge herself and learn new things has led her into the rigorous high school dual enrollment program at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

At the university, Gabriela serves as the secretary and marketing manager of the Aerospace Experimental Association where she is aiding in preparing for another CubeSat high altitude balloon launch. Along with her academic pursuits, Gabriela is dedicated to advocating for girls in STEM. She is a Million Girls Moonshot Inaugural Flight Crew Alumna, a CBS Mission Unstoppable STEM Bestie, a youth advisor for STEM Next’s research project: EDGE, and a mentor to girls in her community where she helps spark interest in all things STEM! Gabriela is excited to be working with the Youth Advisory Board to create a more inclusive and diverse field of STEM for the next generation of girls!

Grace S - YAB

Grace S, OH

Grace Schneider is a current junior in high school and ever since 4th grade, has had a passion for STEM. Throughout middle school, Grace participated in FIRST Lego League (FLL), where she helped build a robot out of legos and develop solutions to real-world problems each year with her team. Grace is currently on a high school robotics team, BONDS 5811. As a sophomore, she was the programming captain for the team and is currently the marketing captain. Grace thinks it is essential to share STEM opportunities with other girls in her community and is working on a Women in STEM workshop to help support girls who are interested in STEM. In school, Grace is taking the PLTW Engineering courses to strengthen her engineering knowledge and help prepare her for college. She is currently planning on majoring in Architecture and Mechanical Engineering. Outside of the STEM realm, Grace runs cross country for her school and is also a lacrosse player. In her free time, Grace loves to read, draw, and watch her favorite movie, Pride and Prejudice.

Hansa G - teenage girl with brown hair wearing glasses and red shirt

Hansa G, India

Youth Advisory Board Global Ambassador

Hansa has been passionate about STEM, especially math and physics since a young age. She has written two books titled ‘AI for kids’ and ‘Astrophysics for kids’ to explain complex concepts to younger audiences. She has also been an active member of many communities focused on empowering girls and closing the gender gap in STEM careers. She also founded an organization called Leadstreams to help girls develop confidence and communication skills. 

She recently moved internationally and is continuing to be an advocate for future female leaders, while she continues on the path to higher education.

Isabella  S - YAB

Isabella S, NY

Isabella is a junior in high school from Queens, New York. She loves STEM, especially the science fields. Additionally, she is very passionate about world history and is fascinated by the progression and treatment of human diseases and their impact on society. She plans to pursue a career as a dermatologist, and she has been wanting to become a doctor since she was a young girl. Isabella hopes to become a doctor not only to help people, but to help bring more diversity to the medical field and to advocate and create a space for those like her who have been left hopeless by their medical providers. She actively volunteers at a nursing home, where she interacts with residents and assists nursing staff with errands. 

Jamora A - teenage girl with short, curly hair wearing yellow top

Jamora A, FL

Jamora is a high school senior from Miami, Florida, who passionately pursues a variety of STEM-related causes and environmental sustainability initiatives through her participation in various local and national organizations and programs as well as speaking engagements throughout the country. As an avid scuba diver and student enrolled in her school’s 2023-24 Marine Field Research course, Jamora has the valuable opportunity to act on her commitment to protecting our global underwater environment through hands-on research and fieldwork, which includes frequent dives throughout Florida to various coral reef locations and other ocean ecosystems.

During her time as a member of the 2022-23 Million Girls Moonshot National Flight Crew program, Jamora dedicated herself to amplifying youth voices in the national conversation around STEM equity and helped in creating a future where every young girl can imagine themselves as a future engineer, builder or inventor. After graduating high school, Jamora hopes to enter a college degree program that combines her love for creative design with her strong interest in the fields of STEM and environmental sustainability in order to prepare her for a future career that positively impacts our global community from her desire to build innovative sustainable habitats here on Earth and - one day - in outer space.

Karsyn A, TX

Karsyn Allen is a freshman regularly competing in district or network-wide STEAM Competitions. She has earned the Innovation Fair: Most Innovative and Meta Award: Engineer of the Week. She is very interested in STEAM and an active member of her community. Karsyn started the Environmental Beautification Club. She plans to attend an Ivy League HBCU and major in biomedical engineering. She has many goals, but one that stands out is always to have and give voice to girls like her. Aspire to Inspire!

Kianna D

Kianna D, CA

Kianna is a junior in high school and has had a profound love for STEM since her early years. While her intrinsic curiosity has always driven her towards science, the influence of passionate women of color in the STEM field truly ignited her passion. Inspired by their dedication and achievements, Kianna embarked on her journey in the world of STEM, driven by a strong desire to make her mark. With a particular focus on material sciences and cosmetic chemistry, Kianna is committed to expanding her knowledge and contributing to advancing these fields. Her active involvement in her school's STEM honors program, where she serves as the Outreach Coordinator, reflects her dedication to STEM education and outreach. In this role, she plans and organizes outreach programs to inspire students in her community to foster a deep-seated passion for STEM, nurturing the next generation of scientists and engineers. Kianna is thrilled to have the honor of being a member of the Youth Advisory Board for the National Girls Collaborative Project. She is eagerly looking forward to inspiring girls worldwide to explore various STEM fields and encouraging their participation in these areas! 

Lulu X - Teenage girl with dark hair wearing gray shirt and sweater in front of brick wall

Lulu X, NY

Lucia (Lulu) X. is a sophomore in high school who presents herself as a result-oriented student who strives to live and a collaborative team player who cares about knitting a community together. Attending an all-girls school for her middle school years and continuing on in her high school career, she has come to realize the innovative ideas that women can bring to the STEM field. She hopes that her connections with teachers, advisors, and mentors alike can help her to inspire young girls in STEM to speak out for what they believe in. In school, she is part of the Medical Science club and outside of school, she pursues a passion in artificial intelligence and mental health.

Some of her achievements include winning second place in the Girls STEAM Institute Virtual Reality Business Challenge – using VR to help deal with mental health issues, and winning first place out of 12 competing teams in Girls Inc. of NYC four-week Girl Boss Entrepreneurship Summer Program, in which she pitched a “COVID Toolkit” to the Health & Wellness Industry panel. She has also published an article on Neuromarketing Ethics and Controversies on STEAM News. Outside of STEM, Lucia does competitive swimming, learns about financial investing, and enjoys creative writing.

Lydia D

Lydia D, NC

Lydia Denton is a sophomore in high school, and her passion for STEM began in the 2nd grade.  She loves inventing as a means to solve real-world problems.  Lydia created her first working prototype, the Beat the Heat Car Seat, in 5th grade and won the Citgo Discovery Fueling Education Grand Prize.  She has been a Samsung Solve for Tomorrow State finalist twice, taken first place in the Paradigm challenge, and won the grand prize for the NHL Everfi Virtual Science Fair.  Lydia also enjoys serving in the Maker Space at her local science museum and serves as Treasurer of the Junior Board. 

In addition to STEM and academics, Lydia enjoys taking tap dance, enjoys public speaking and is active in community theater.  Throughout the past year, Lydia has shared her message of "Problem Seeker, Problem Solver" in more than 30 classrooms, as the Keynote address at the Women in STEM event at Bowling Green University and at the NCSTA conference.  Lydia is excited to join the NGCP Youth Advisory board and hopes to help other girls find a passion for inventing and STEM! 

Mackenzie C - teenage girl with brown hair and classes wearing floral print top

Mackenzie C, TX

Mackenzie is a high school sophomore from Texas who enjoys reading and watching crime shows. This also leads to her childhood passion - forensic science, which is her dream destination. She also states that helping others find their passion is a life goal of hers, as she is fond of sharing her excitement about science. Mackenzie, therefore, is inspired to join the Youth Advisory Board to further share her knowledge and delight of the STEM field.

Madeleine Maddy N - YAB

Madeleine N, PA


Maddy is a senior in high school who has developed a passion for STEM through exploring the ways technology and design are combined to bring innovative ideas to life. She is the image and graphic design lead on Carnegie Mellon University’s FIRST robotics team, Girls of Steel, and enjoys mentoring at Girls of Steel’s FIRST Lego League among other outreach initiatives. She is an alum of Young Women in Bio’s Ambassador Program, where she designed its program flyers for all chapters across the United States and Canada. Young Women in Bio has also inspired her to start a biology club at her school to empower girls to explore STEM careers and become future leaders in STEM. As a Social Justice Documentary intern at Saturday Light Brigade Radio, she hosted interviews with professors and conducted research to gain insight for her three-part audio documentary focused on the impact of resource inequalities in STEM education.

Along with pursuing STEM, Maddy enjoys creating digital art as well as writing poetry. She has won five gold keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and placed top 10 in BLICK’s National Celebrating Art Contest. She continues to explore interdisciplinary majors like Human-Computer Interaction, Game Design, and Data Journalism where she can explore her interests at the intersection of both the humanities and STEM.

Mary A - YAB

Mary A, TX

Jr. Co-Chair

Mary is a rising sophomore in high school who, from a young age has been extremely passionate about the technological aspect of STEM. She was first introduced to computer programming in a middle school computer science elective, where she was one of the only three girls in a class of twenty-plus students. However, thanks to an inspiring teacher that introduced her to the vast world of computer science, she absolutely fell in love with STEM and all things that have to do with coding! Today, Mary is currently proficient in a surplus of programming languages including Python, C, C++, Javascript, HTML, CSS, etc, and is working on various research projects using a few of those languages. In the future, she intends on going into the field of Computer Science (specifically Artificial Intelligence), and would love nothing more than to make an impact on the world we live in! 

 In regards to her extracurriculars, Mary is an active member of her school’s STEM Club, Robotics Team, Speech and Debate Team, and Student Council (where she serves in a delegate position).  She is also an avid writer and has works that have earned a few Scholastic Regional awards. Finally, Mary is extremely honored to be on the Youth Advisory Board of the National Girls Collaborative Project, and can’t wait to encourage more girls around the world to explore various fields in STEM! 

Medha P

Medha P, VA

Medha, a high school freshman from Virginia. She discovered her passion for STEM in the Junior First Lego League. Utilizing her coding skills for good, she founded a Coding Club at her middle school, where she taught over 100 students. Additionally, she developed an AI program to detect cyberbullying, presenting it to Instagram's policy team. Medha is passionate about creativity and artistry, posting animations to her YouTube channel LifeWithRainbow. These animations earned her the Together Against Bullying Award for educational animated videos. Recognized for STEM and bullying prevention, she was honored with a commencement bill resolution from the Virginia House of Delegates (VA-HR107), and became a STEM Ambassador for Virginia. To Medha, STEM is a mindset driving creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. Committed to a STEM career, she aims to inspire others and create a world where technology, science, engineering, and math are embraced.


Melissa L - YAB

Melissa L, LA

Jr. Co-Chair

STEM has always been important to 15-year-old sophomore Melissa. Melissa is a first-generation American, born and raised in Ruston, Louisiana. At school she is involved in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Speech and Debate, Student Council, and Swim Team. She is a classically trained pianist, vocalist, musical theater actress, small business owner, and volunteer. Melissa placed first at her region MathCounts and Science Olympiad competition last year and first in the randomized team MathBee at MathCounts State. As a STEM lover herself, she chose to advocate for STEM when she was selected as the A.E.Phillips (AEP) Laboratory School 5th Grade Student of the Year. Three years later, she chose to focus on it again when she represented AEP as its 8th Grade Student of the Year. She then went on to win the Lincoln Parish, Region 1, and ultimately the Louisiana Middle School Student of the Year title this past April. Melissa has been partnering with the Lincoln Parish STEM Center and the Region 8 SCILS STEM Center at Louisiana Tech University to provide opportunities and resources for community members and empower their engagement in activities. In January 2022, she helped co-found SCILS STEM Leaders: Stand Together to Empower Many, a club that connects middle school girls with women in science, builds their leadership skills, and exposes them to different fields that they could one day go into. Melissa is also a former Miss Louisiana Teen Volunteer (2022). Her platform was “Promoting STEM Programs for Girls' and she took that across the state and to the national competition where she placed 4th Runner Up and People’s Choice. As the current Miss Louisiana Stockshow’s Teen 2023, her community service initiative is “STEM to Bloom: Investing in STEM Education for All”. She tweaked her platform from “STEM for girls” to “STEM for all” because through her work at the SCILS STEM Center she realized that not only girls but also many other groups of people are underrepresented in STEM. With these titles, Melissa has had opportunities to discuss STEM education at conferences and schools across the state of Louisiana. 

Meliyah A - YAB

Meliyah A, NY

Meliyah is a Junior in High School from Far Rockaway, New York. She has a great passion for design in architecture and engineering. She has joined the Cooper Union STEM Saturday classes to engage herself with more parts of the STEM field. She has also worked with RISE to learn more about urban planning and engineering. During the summer Meliyah joined NYU. NYU provided classes on Architecture, to help students understand the history of it as well as all the different jobs that take place behind the scenes, like engineering and design.   

Outside of STEM, Meliyah finds enjoyment in Volleyball. She was on the school Varsity volleyball team for two years and is currently in a Varsity volleyball club for Creole; In Flushing, Queens. Meliyah hopes that joining YAB will help and encourage other women of color to come to love STEM too. She is very excited to be joining other girls who have the same love for STEM as she does. 

Min J - YAB

Min J, NY

Min is a current junior in a public high school in New York City. She grew interested in the STEM field as her father, an exceptional math teacher, taught and inspired her about academic disciplines of mathematics and science. Ever since then, she has been extremely passionate about exploring the STEM career field and particularly fascinated with subcategories such as data analysis and AI, which she plans to pursue in college. 
In school, she is part of the PLTW Biomedical program and enrolled in a College Now class where she learns how to read, write and conduct scientific research for the spring term and work with a local college professor to research. She is also heavily involved in her school organizations such as the Science Olympiad, the Math Team, Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, and Arista Honor Society, in which she has leadership positions for each club. As secretary of her school's Art Club, she initiated club visits of professional illustrators and designers’ studios. 

She decided to be actively involved in NGCP by applying for YAB because of the impact it has made to abridge the gender gap in the STEM field, not only regionally but also globally through programs such as Connected Girls and FabFem. She strongly believes that this could be an opportunity for her to relate to girls in the STEM fields all around the country and provide an extensive variety of programs with them to aid young students in their exploration of STEM, which is truly a valuable experience for me as a young adul

Nahiara M

Nahiara M, CA

Nahiara, a junior at a Southern California public high school, developed a keen interest in using STEM to help people from a young age. Completing a UCR engineering academy and participating in a FIRST robotics team solidified her decision to major in engineering. Despite her dedication,  the challenge of effectively using STEM to make a difference in people's lives still troubled her. To address this, Nahiara assumed leadership roles in her community, serving as vice president of the school's mental health club and as the school chapter president for Friday Night Live, a substance abuse prevention program. These experiences heightened her awareness of advocacy and policy significance. This led her to her Mental Health Screener campaign, which aims to provide struggling students with efficient access to necessary resources. In addition, her involvement in the environmental group of RYC, a youth board for her community, helped her understand the interconnections of policy and STEM.

Nikhita P - YAB

Nikhita P, WA

Nikhita Penugonda is a high school junior in Bellevue, Washington who is passionate about math, astronomy, and physics! She was selected as one of sixteen inaugural Flight Crew members by Million Girls Moonshot to amplify youth voices in the national conversation around STEM equity. She is also the director of GRASS (Girls Rock at STEM Seminars), where she conducts lessons, seminars, and workshops for middle school aged girls. In addition, Nikhita has been a member of the Toastmasters Rising Speakers Gavel Club since 2018, and is the current club President. Nikhita loves thinking outside of the box! She has participated in Destination Imagination for seven years and most recently won first place in the Digital Open 2022. Nikhita has also been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and earned her Silver Award for raising awareness about climate change. She has many hobbies and enjoys camping, hiking, rowing, stargazing, reading, and playing video games! In the future, Nikhita aims to study astrophysics and computer science to make new discoveries about the cosmos.

Rachael O

Rachael O, GA

Rachael is a high school junior in Georgia who has always wanted to break boundaries in the STEM field. Her journey took a significant turn with her acceptance into a local STEM magnet school. This experience deepened her interests and opened doors to numerous opportunities within this impactful domain. Through various endeavors in the STEM field, she is particularly fascinated by the biomedical engineering field due to the lack of diversity in the field, and she aspirations to become a leader in promoting diversity in this vital field, aimed to contribute to improving human health by applying engineering principles to medical challenges. 

Rachael's engagement in various STEM initiatives highlights her dedication to expanding her knowledge and skills. From participating in prestigious events like the Harvard Science Research Conference to active involvement in science fairs and STEM-focused clubs like Bio-Olympiad, Rachael actively seeks avenues to deepen her understanding and impact in the field, beyond her STEM endeavors. Rachael is enthusiastic to be a part of NGCP’s Youth Advisory Board, aiming to close the gender gap in STEM. Her motivation stems from a desire to provide girls nationwide with the same unique opportunities that have propelled her success in the field, and she is excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals.

Reeti R - YAB

Reeti R, NJ

Founder of the STEM 4-Her initiative 
Reeti advocates for equal opportunity in STEM education. She founded STEM 4-Her, to provide free coding, math, and robotics workshops for girls, especially from underserved school districts, to promote more female participants in STEM fields. 
She has been recognized as a 2022 Inaugural Flight Crew member for Million Girls Moonshot, where she promotes and amplifies youth voices in the national conversations around STEM equity. She also serves as a youth advisor for the EDGE (Engage and Development for Girls through Engineering) research project for the STEM Next organization to design an engineering curriculum specifically focused on girls and female-identifying youth in middle schools. 
She enjoys coding, math, robotics, and problem-solving. She is an avid competitor and regularly participates in the USA Computing Olympiad and in USA Math Olympiad. In the future, she intends to research in the field of computational biology and continue to work for STEM equity across the board. Reeti is thrilled to be a part of NGCP’s Youth Advisory Board. 

Renata L - teenage girl with long brown hair wearing plaid shirt

Renata L, TX

Renata is a sophomore who is currently enrolled in a stem-based magnet high school that is centered around engineering and other STEM fields. Her profound love for STEM was due to the inspiring influence of her mother, a female manufacturing engineer. Renata has assisted or participated in STEM-based events held by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) such as “Girl Day”, a program meant to encourage girls to pursue a career in STEM, and Railway Safety, a summer camp that tests your robotics knowledge while teaching you the basics and importance of railways and trains. Furthermore, she is an active member of the “Girls Who Code” club at her school which focuses on coding just for girls. 

Not only is Renata a straight-A student, but she is also an athlete and musician as a member of her school’s varsity volleyball team with piano lessons and recital experience of up to 8 years. Due to her musical background, Renata has opened several ceremonies at UTRGV with the national anthem, including the National Manufacturing Expo, Railway Safety summer camp (2022-2023), and a medal ceremony for the College of engineering and Computer Science. 

Sophie C

Sophie C, LA

Sophie Chen is a senior from Shreveport, LA, whose passion for STEM lies in the intersection of computer science and biology. Growing up in a school district where the majority of students are economically disadvantaged, opportunities to explore STEM beyond school courses are limited, especially for girls. Hoping to bridge this gender gap in her community, Sophie co-founded SHECAN, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing girls in underserved communities with access to CS and engineering-related educational resources. Through SHECAN and her position as a YAB member for organizations like Teens4Teens and TechGirlz, Sophie is an avid advocator for mental health and gender equity in STEM fields.  

In addition to advocacy, Sophie enjoys exploring the field of computational biology. Throughout high school, Sophie worked on developing algorithms to automate important medical processes, such as cancer diagnoses and surgical workflows, as a lab intern at Dartmouth and MIT. With her work, Sophie has competed at ISEF, placed at NJSHS, and was named a Research Science Institute Scholar. In her free time, Sophie enjoys playing the violin, touching grass, and hanging out with friends!" 

Sophie F

Sophie F, KY

Sophie is a sophomore in high school from Louisville, Kentucky. Her interest in STEM sparked when she joined the engineering academy at her school, and this opened her eyes to the realities of being a woman in a male-dominated field when she saw the lack of women in the program. Sophie wanted to join the Youth Advisory Board because this needs to change, and she was inspired by the NGCP’s mission to encourage girls to pursue careers in such intimidating fields. She enjoys using engineering to solve real-world problems. Sophie has been passionate about the environment for as long as she can remember, hoping she can one day work in environmental engineering! Sophie is involved in various extracurricular such as Speech and Debate, Theater, Beta club, and FCCLA. She enjoys watching sitcoms, reading, and hanging out with friends in her free time. 

Subha V - YAB

Subha V, WA

Subha is a junior in high school, founder of Linguistics Justice League, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and a board member of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) and Youth Board Member of Invest in Youth. Subha’s work at the intersection of Data Science, NLP, ML and Community Service led to a Society of Women Engineers Next (SWE) STEM in Action award, National Center for Women and Technology Aspire and Impact award, a publication in the Journal of Student Research, and a renowned TEDx talk. Her work was featured in GeekWire and recognized by Puget Sound Business Journal’s “Seattle Inno Under 25”. As she offered STEM after-school programs at several local nonprofit organizations, she observed that only a fraction of the kids could take advantage of the programs she offered because of a lack of English skills.  

Subha wanted to provide all individuals with bilingual content to preserve their own language and cultural heritage, promoting multilingualism nationwide. Many languages that local Native American tribes and refugees speak are considered “low resource” languages that are underrepresented in the media. Her nonprofit organization’s mission is to build fun and engaging bilingual educational content and apps for language learners who speak low resource languages by leveraging Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and Gamification." 

Willow M - teenage girl with black hair in front of wall of greenery

Willow M, TX

Willow (she/her) is a senior from Houston, Texas. She is passionate about computer science as an MIT BWSI scholar, a national advisory board member at the Society Of Women Engineers, and a global youth leader for Girl Up. Her work has been recognized by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and Women In Tech Global Awards as both a North American Winner and Global Finalist. As a teen advisor for National Girls Collaborative this year, she plans to advocate for gender equity within STEM careers. In her free time, she loves playing volleyball, coding, and baking oatmeal cookies.

Yumi P - YAB

Yumi P, NY

Yumi is a sophomore who attends Special Music School in New York City. When she was young, she discovered her love for animals and science. Science has always been her favorite subject in school aside from music. She loves learning about the general STEM field but is captivated by biology, specifically animal sciences. In middle school Yumi got accepted to a 7-year program called the LANG Science Program at the American Museum of Natural History. In the program she conducts lab investigations and does fieldwork, to answer research questions which she eventually presents. Currently Yumi also works at the New York Hall of Science as a science explainer. At school she participates in the science club.  

Additionally, Yumi is a violinist. She has been playing the violin since she was 5. She’s won various competitions and loves playing in a violin quartet with her friends. She also enjoys performing in hospitals and places where she can spread music with others. Yumi is excited to be a part of the Youth Advisory Board and continue supporting non-binary youth along with girls who are looking into the field of STEM! 

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