Youth Advisory Board Members

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Candid Mack

Candid Mack

YAB Chair & Program 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.

Amanda K, youth advisory board member

Amanda K.

Summer STEM Institute Participant and Founder of Pop for a Cause

Ever since middle school, when an exceptional science teacher taught and inspired her, Amanda has been extremely passionate about STEM and plans to continue on this path in the future. She first discovered the gender gap in STEM when she showed up to a biology club meeting and was the only girl! She didn’t let this stop her, and this year, Amanda was one of the few underclassmen in her AP Biology class full of upperclassmen, and Amanda is now the president of the Biology Club at her school. Amanda is also captain of her school’s Ethics Bowl Team, where she regularly incorporates bioethics. STEM-wise, Amanda had the fantastic opportunity to intern at Novavax, Inc. last summer and worked in the Clinical Immunology Department, reinforcing her interest in biotech. Amanda is a social entrepreneur and founder of two impactful nonprofit organizations.

Amanda founded a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization Pop for a Cause, which donates 100% of its profits towards charitable causes and conducts monthly community events. Pop for a Cause has raised $23,000 for charitable organizations thus far, engaged 150 volunteers in community events, and was featured on 20+ news outlets. Amanda also founded iDream of Dance to close the opportunity gap of elementary school-aged children by offering free dance lessons and confidence-building workshops. iDream of Dance currently has 12 active chapters worldwide and 50+ free online course lessons. The organization has donated 1,250+ costumes and accessories and impacted 400+ children. Amanda is also a pre-professional competitive hip hop dancer and earned First Place and the Award of Excellence for her choreography, performance, and direction in the National PTA Reflections Art Contest from the Montgomery Council of PTA.

Alexandra Sandra Y - YAB

Alexandra (Sandra) Y

Alexandra is a junior from Carmel, IN! From competing in the USACO Platinum division to conducting research on high performance computing to being a National Finalist in the Air Force Association-sponsored Cyberpatriot competition, she has pursued her passion for computer science in a myriad of ways. However, she believes that the field of computer science is limited by its lack of diversity, which is why she works to bring CS education to those around her in her community. Partnering with Techbridge Girls to found Indiana's very first chapter, she teaches young girls to code, build, and engineer, and ignites their passion for the STEM field. Alexandra also loves to share her passion for competitive coding with those around her. This spring, she'll be leading and organizing the very first INDIGO Informatics Competition, a competitive programming contest for high schoolers in Indiana! Working with both local and national tech companies, she hopes to spark a love for computer science in high school students across the state.  

Alexandra has had the opportunity to participate in many amazing STEM summer programs, including Canada/USA Math camp and the Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)! She will be attending the Research Science Institute (RSI) this summer, a six-week long research program at MIT. In her free time, she loves to debate (public forum), listen to music, and spend time with her cat and dog! 

Anika C - YAB

Anika C.

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! 

Charlotte D - YAB

Charlotte D.

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.

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. 

Erika VK

Erika VK

Girls in STEM Advocate

Erika is a sophomore at her high school in Libertyville, Illinois. She is passionate about the STEM fields, especially science and math, where she plans to focus her future. Erika is part of her school’s Mu Alpha Theta Club as well as Girl Scouts, where she is currently leading a project focused on introducing young girls to STEM. She is also committed to her academics and will be taking college courses including language, calculus, history, and physics in the near future. In her free time, Erika plays lacrosse, enjoys cooking, and likes creating art. She also loves to travel and visit countries with particularly unique cultures. Finally, Erika is excited to be a part of the Girls Advisory Board to help the National Girls Collaborative Project inspire young girls to pursue their STEM futures!

Grace S - YAB

Grace S.

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.

Isabella  S - YAB

Isabella S.

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. 

Jana D - YAB

Jana D.

Jana is a senior in high school from Libertyville, IL. She plans to study aerospace engineering in college to pursue a career in aviation and possibly space exploration. Despite how challenging it is, Jana’s favorite subject in school is physics and she loves collaborating with her lab group. Additionally, she is part of Mu Alpha Theta and Cre8 which are math and engineering clubs at her school. Aside from school, dance is a big part of Jana’s life as well. She dances in a variety of styles including contemporary, jazz, and ballet. In her free time, she also likes to travel, draw, paint, and go out with friends. Lastly, Jana is excited to be part of NGCP to inform and inspire young women who are interested in STEM.

Lindsey H

Lindsey H.

Girls in STEAM Advocate

Lindsey H. is a sophomore in high school and has always had a strong interest in the STEM field. She has always loved science and hopes to pursue a career in genetics. In school, she is involved in her school’s HOSA-Future Health Professionals chapter. She has competed in HOSA events and continues to be very involved. She is also a part of her school’s Math Team and STEAM Girls Club. She loves to get hands-on experiences with the STEM field and has participated in summer camps at Michigan Technological University that offered courses based on science and technology. In her free time, she likes to read, play board games and card games, play tennis, and compete in archery tournaments. She is very excited to be involved with other girls in STEM and can’t wait to explore new opportunities!

Madeleine Maddy N - YAB

Madeleine N.

Maddy is a junior in high school who has developed a passion for STEM through exploring the ways technology and art 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 also 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.  

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 that cross her interests in design and writing with computer science, such as Human-Computer Interaction, UI Design, and Technical Writing. 

Maria S - YAB

Maria S.

Maria is a senior in high school from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is particularly passionate about medicine and how STEM can be used to help others. She also has a desire to encourage girls to explore their interests in STEM, as she knows firsthand how important mentorship can be! Over the summer, Maria had the incredible opportunity to receive mentorship from a primary investigator at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, where she worked to conduct research on bone and soft tissue cancers. This experience has inspired her not only to explore her own passions in oncology but also to share her experiences in hopes that she may help girls find the confidence to become more active in STEM. 

Outside of the STEM world, Maria is an avid tennis player who has played on her high school’s team all four years of high school. She is also passionate about volunteering and giving back to her community. She loves traveling and meeting new people! 

Mary A - YAB

Mary A.

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! 

Melissa L - YAB

Melissa L.

STEM has always been important to 15 year old freshman 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 and 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.

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

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

Nicole X.

Nicole X.

Girls in STEM Advocate

Nicole is a junior in high school, and her long-held passion for STEM mainly lies in the area of computer science and technology. She loves to program in several languages and solve algorithmic problems, and she currently competes within the Gold Division of the United States of America Computing Olympiad. She is also currently working on several outreach projects as the president of her school’s computer science team, as well as her city’s Girls Who Code organization, which is working to bridge the gender gap in computer science.

Outside of her academic career, Nicole enjoys working on various art and music projects. She plays the 1st violin in her high school’s varsity string orchestra. Furthermore, her artwork has earned several Scholastic Art Competition Gold Keys and placed in Blick’s Celebrating Art Contest National Top 10. Nicole is super excited to be on the Youth Advisory Board and continue supporting girls who are looking into the field of STEM!

Nikhita P - YAB

Nikhita P.

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.

Reeti R - YAB

Reeti R.

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. 

Regina A - YAB

Regina A.

Regina is a homeschooled senior from Pittsburgh, PA. Her favorite area of STEM is undoubtedly science. Since elementary school, Regina has conducted a science project each academic year. The topics she has studied range from research on glow-in-the-dark algae to research on insulin resistance. She has successfully competed in the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science for over five years. Regina has organized a science fair for the past three years for other homeschool students in the Pittsburgh area to encourage students to pursue STEM. Intertwining her love of science and her desire to care for others, Regina is pursuing a career as a women’s healthcare physician. An experience which helped solidify her career choice was working at Magee Women’s Hospital on the national study “The Glycemic Observation of Metabolic Outcomes in Mothers and Offspring.” For seven years, Regina actively participated in the Tour Your Future program through the Carnegie Science Center. Some of her most memorable experiences from Tour Your Future included viewing open-heart surgeries and operating a multi-million dollar Da Vinci surgical robot. In her free time, Regina loves to bake, spend time outside, and to read.

Sophia B - YAB

Sophia B

Sophia is a senior attending High-Tech High School in Secaucus New Jersey, majoring in computer science. A first-generation Latina-Asian American, a woman in STEM, and an avid feminist, the multiple lenses through which she views the world shapes the projects to which she is dedicated today. Sophia has committed herself to create opportunities for underrepresented young women in her community and surrounding neighborhoods. Throughout her academic career, she has placed emphasis on uplifting the stories of others, in order to create spaces where diverse young individuals may grow and feel valued for their voices and skill set. Sophia views STEM as a tool for social change, as evidenced by her multiple undertakings. She is an Engineer Girl Ambassador Alumni of the National Academy of Engineering, where she was given 6-months of training to implement a series of classes in her community with the intention of removing any intimidation from the STEM disciplines for curious young women. Sophia founded and is president of her high school’s United Nations’ Girl Up Chapter, as well as her school’s Junior State of America – where she also served as their regional Director of Activism. She’s an active volunteer in her town’s People to People International, and Students in Action, of which she serves as the President. Sophia has published several STEM research projects that have received accolades such as the Broadcom MASTERS Nomination, U.S. Navy and Marine Office of Naval Research Dept. of Defense Naval Science Award for STEM Excellence, and silver and gold medals at the Hudson County STEM Showcase. Recently, Sophia has been invited to be a guest speaker at several conferences, including the Intrepid Museum Virtual Youth Summit. When she’s not working on any of these projects, you can find her working at her public library! 

Subha V - YAB

Subha V.

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." 

Yumi P - YAB

Yumi P.

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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