STEM ALL STARS
FOUNDER AND CEO
Sajni Vederey, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Since her childhood Sajni has been noticing gender stereo types such as girls are bad at math, and girls do not fit for engineering. Not only at school, but she started to see how even toy companies and children's TV shows were having a boy and a girl versions. As she got more involved into STEM, she noticed that kids, even at early ages, are developing a sense of gender identity and bias. Then, STEM All Stars was born with the intention of sparking interest in STEM for girls and giving them an opportunity to explore these fields in greater depths. Sajni's target audience is girls who do not have enough self confidence or knowledge about STEM. She is a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and one of 75 people to be selected in the International Stanford Math League Tournament. Sajni has introduced 17 STEM All Stars clubs internationally, and she hopes to create a change in the lives of girls!
Gautham Pillai, Langley High School
Chief Innovation Officer
Gautham is a talented young man who has had a very strong passion for STEM since his childhood. While he was visiting his grandparents in India, he was amazed to see a meticulously designed bridge created by a girl a couple years ago for her science project in school. Sadly, he realized that she was unable to continue getting quality education because of her disadvantaged family’s financial situation. Her younger brother, however, got preference over her to go to a reputed private school since their family could only support one kid’s education. Gautham was immediately able to connect this with a similar situation while he was attending Colvin Run elementary school. Though he was a very active member of STEM related clubs such as MATHCOUNTS and Science Olympiad, he noticed that the number of boys participating significantly outnumbered the number of girls participating. This was when Gautham realized that gender bias stereotypes and lack of encouragement was everywhere. Ever since then, he joined STEM all stars and has been a proud supporter of helping young girls pursue their interests in STEM.
Jonathan Gleason, Columbia University
Johnny graduated from Strongsville High School in 2009 and went to Unversity of Chicago for undergrad from 2008. When Johnny was 15, he took his first science course in physics and from that time on, STEM started to spark the natural world around him. He started to explore more about this intriguing universe by reading books, attending courses, asking questions, and doing everything he can to dig the real meaning of STEM, and its wonders behind it. Johnny double-majored in mathematics and physics. He has an Honors B.S. in Mathematics, Honors B.A. in physics and went to University of Cambridge from 2012-2013. He came to University of California, Berekeley in 2013 to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics. Johnny says that if you take any scientific fact and you ask "Why is that true?", your answer will be just another scientific fact. As he kept on pondering, he started to ask the questions he is asking today. Biology gets reduces to chemistry;chemistry gets reduced to physics;physics gets reduced to fundamental physics, and so on because the models of physics are themselves mathematics. Johnny is working on pure mathematics now, and he strives to find the answer to many questions he was asking himself since his childhood. His questions far exceed the rate at which he can answer them. At the present juncture, he is interested in looking at schemes based on topological rings and creating a difference in our gender biased world!
Jennifer Swanson, US Naval Academy
Jennifer Swanson's favorite saying to her students is to encourage them to notice the science all around them. Curious about the world at an early age, she started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. She used to gather leaves and flowers and look at them under a microscope. Her love of science continued into college when she studied chemistry at the U.S. Naval Academy and eventually earned her M.S.Ed in K-8 science. Now as a middle school science instructor for Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTYOnline) and nonfiction children's author, Jennifer is always on the hunt to learn something new. How do submarines stay submerged? How do satellites work? Why do bedbugs live in beds? She has learned it all in the courses she teaches and the many nonfiction books she has authored. Like any good scientist and award-winning author, Jennifer is rarely without a notebook and she writes down her observations throughout the day. Her books in the How Things Work series by The Childs World were named to the 2012 Booklists Top 10 Books for Youth: Series Nonfiction. She has received awards from the Pennsylvania TriState Young Adult Review Committee, The Moms Choice Awards, and The Dove Foundation. Top reviews include a starred review in Booklist, and recommended reviews from School Librarians Workshop, Library Media Connection, and the National Science Teacher Association.It is a practice she encourages all of her students. You can visit Jennifer at her website www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com, her special place to explore the world around her.
Michele Joseph, Georgetown University
Michele Joseph is the founder and executive director of the Student Global Ambassador Program (SGAP). SGAP is a 501(C) 3 charitable organization. SGAP designs customized out-of- the classroom experiences for youth, 7 th grade and up. All SGAP themes and program activities inspire, engage and empower youth to become global leaders. Past themes included the plight of the child soldier, human trafficking, renewable energy, fair trade and the clean water crisis. SGAP has teamed with the following Universities and Colleges: Fairleigh Dickinson University’s - Office of Global Learning, Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship, and the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise; Columbia University’s Child Rights Working Group; Drew University, Princeton University Keller Center, and Chestnut Hill College’s Global Educator Motivators. Furthermore, Joseph fostered partnerships with like-minded corporations and organizations such as the Urban League of Morris County, and Covanta Energy. Moreover, Joseph and her partners have secured funding for SGAP-related programs through the generosity of FirstEnergy Foundation, Constellation Energy, and TD Bank Charitable Foundation. Over the past few years, SGAP has inspired, engaged, and empowered upwards of 1400 students from 61 private, public, charter, independent and religious middle and high schools within 6 states. Ms. Joseph attained her MBA in strategy and marketing from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and her BSc in Biology/Environmental Sciences from Catholic University of America. She was the team lead for Net Impact, formally the Students for Social Responsibility while attending Georgetown University. She also earned a certificate in Sustainable Practices for the Workplace and has several CEU in Internal Branding and Marketing Campaign ROI. She has over 10 years of strategy, marketing and branding experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Ms. Joseph resides with her son and husband in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Dr. Kamaljeet Sanghera
Dr. Kamaljeet Sanghera is the Executive Director of STEM Outreach and the Associate Professor in the Information Sciences and Technology (IST) department, Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University. Dr. Sanghera has served as the Aspirations project Co-Lead in Executive Committee of National Center of Women in Information Technology (NCWIT). She received the NCWIT Extension Services to implement systemic change to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation of women in technology and engineering undergraduate programs. Dr. Sanghera is also an active member of Students and Technology in Academia, Research and Service (STARS) program. Her focus is on developing opportunities for K-12 teachers’ professional development, offering engineering and technology related camps for K-12 students while creating a community of practice for like-minded people who wish to participate in and contribute to STEM initiatives.
Catherine Blake, Harvard University
Catherine Blake, founder of Sales Protocol International, has a passion for sales, marketing, business, development, and a heart for encouraging others to be their personal best. her professional expertise helps companies grow through strategic initiatives, execution, and hard work. Catherine has a over 20 years of high tech experience with FORTUNE 500 companies plus start-ups and private ventures. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pine Manor College and a Certificate of Special Studies (graduate level) in Administration from Harvard University Extension School. Catherine has served as an adjunct professor in Marketing fro six years at the University of New Hampshire’s Paul College of Busniness and Economics where she founded The Center for Sales Excellence and UNH Sales Club, sales leadership program for undergraduate students. Related to serving her community, Catherine has carried the brand flame as Communications Chair for Harvard university’s Extension School Alumni Association Board and as an appointed Director for the Harvard Alumni Association. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the New Hampshire High Technology Council as the Tech Woman | Tech Girls founding chair, a group focused on STEM education, community and opportunity for women ad girls. In previous years, Catherine has served on the Board of Directors of several nonprofits including The Boys and Girls Club and Girls Inc.
Holly Davis, Washington State University
Holly Davis is a full-time graduate student of Psychology in New Mexico, where she recently settled. Her background is in biology and nursing, and for the past twenty-five years, she has worked with the dying, specializing in palliative care and hospice, at Bailey-Boushay House in Seattle, the Shanti Project in San Francisco, various other organizations, and with private clients. Holly believes that death is among the most significant rites of passage for the dying and the living and should be honored as such. Her intention is to foster an holistic approach to dying through a practice of conscious living, integration of the mind, body and spirit, and mindfulness of the beginnings and endings of all transitions. When not in school, Holly volunteers for hospice in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She also has two big dogs that keep her active in the Ponderosa forest, and a wonderful marriage that inspires personal exploration and growth.
Beau Borrero, Yale University
Beau Borrero is an online educator who specializes in writing, and adolescent cognitive psychology and neuroscience.Beau is constantly revamping, revising, and reinvigorating his writing. He is a firm believer in the power of MOOCs, online tutoring, and other online educational resources to transform the nature of education from pre-K through post-doc. Beau was a Classics major at Yale College and was a member of the national championship 1992 Yale Lightweight Crew Team. He is also an avid musician and fly fisherman. You can hear his music at beauborrero.com.
Irene Sakson, Harvard University
Irene Sakson’s favorite question is “Why?” ,which she hopes she will never stop asking. Irene’s curiosity and love of science began before she knew what “curiosity” or “learning” were. She delighted in pouring streams of water between plastic cups of different sizes, discovering how varying volumes interacted with water. To this day, Irene finds herself perpetually curious about everything from the most minute details of individuals’ everyday lives to the immense number of yet unanswered questions about the universe in which we reside. At present, Irene is a student at Harvard College. Pursuing her love of science and mathematics, she is considering concentrating (majoring) in computer science or engineering. Irene was invited to intern at Seattle Children’s Research Institute in the department concerning developmental and regenerative biology, where she had the opportunity to investigate her love for the sciences through genotyping and genetic analysis. As a teacher-elected member of her high school’s STEM tutoring center, she worked with peers on subjects ranging from multivariable calculus to basic Python code. Discovering she loved teaching and excited to embrace her joy in helping fellow students, she became a regular tutor for a younger student struggling in math class. At the end of her senior year, Irene was asked to serve on a panel about women in STEM. Alongside faculty and STEM professionals, she shared her love of technical subjects with nervous and excited middle schoolers. However, her favorite part was getting to speak to girls individually after the panel to share her experiences and help them embrace a love for STEM not as something to be ashamed of, but rather unabashedly proud of. Irene is excited to join Harvard’s Women In Computer Science club in the fall to continue advocating for women in STEM.
Raja Selvakumar, MIT
Raja Selvakumar, a junior at MIT majoring in Chemical Engineering. His passion for STEM started with assembling his first LEGO set; he was fascinated by how individual components can come together to create an impressive whole. In high school, he came up with the idea of taking electricity from stomach bacteria, and he found that there was enough to power small medical devices! He had the opportunity to participate in numerous science fair competitions for his project, along with being heavily involved with his robotics team. He is known for being a finalist at the 2013 Intel Science Talent Search for his project, "Gastro Midrobial Fuel Cell." He had worked everywhere from NASA to Shell, and many different chemical engineering labs at MIT. He thoroughly enjoys learning about all sciences, and this enthusiasm led him to create his own science blog- where everything from quantum physics to psychology is discussed. In his copious free time, he enjoys playing ice hockey, volunteering, playing his guitar, and pondering the meaning of life.
Ms. Outland has over a decade of teaching experience at all levels including elementary, secondary, and at the collegiate level. She has also taught various subjects over the course of her career including a world renown STEM program for 4th-6th graders that focused on science, math, and technology as it related to space and aviation. She is a passionate and dedicated educator who strives to ensure that all of her students receive an exceptional education that will prepare them for success in life.
Devi Bhupathyraju, Attorney
Mrs. Bhupathyraju is our coordinator in India. Mrs. Bhupathyraju is a commerce graduate and law graduate from Osmania University. From the time she was a child, she was always interested in women and children rights. She has a post graduate diploma in law of ethics from Central University. Served interacts with various children on different social causes. She believes that technology should reach common man globally and simple thinking is the way to success. "One small difference can change the whole world," she says. Mrs. Bhupathyraju proved service to others as a lawyer by standing on the side of justice, helping girls in STEM, and adopting children to educate them. She hopes to help the maximum possible with her greatest efforts.
Gita Karan, Founder of Gitanjali
Mrs. Gita Karan has been an educator for over 40 years and is a recipient of the Best Teacher award by India's past President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Mrs. Karan even now provides personal attention to oversee the progress of each child enrolled in a Gitanjali School. In 2005, Ms. Gita received the national award instituted by the HR Ministry Government of India. Under her leadership, the school has continued to innovate in teaching methodology and cultivate life long learning within our student and teacher community. She has a desire to combine the latest quality of education system available in India to suit the school’s needs and developed a school board based on these concepts. Ms.Karan has collaborated with STEM All Stars to help girls’ STEM education in undeserved areas.
Maya Sukumaran holds a degree in education and a post graduate in mathematics. She did a course in vedic mathematics and from then, her love for STEM began. Maya has 29 years of teaching experience in schools of repute. She conducts workshops and seminars, authored mathematics text books, and presented her papers in an international conference at IIT Madras. She was also the head of the department of mathematics in the Ivy League Academy. Ms. Sukumaran now wants to change the lives of many students by her teaching experience and her love for various topics in STEM.
Mr. Dayanand Konda
Holds bachelor of engineering graduate degree and master of engineering (embedded systems) post graduate degree from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad. He is an ambitious researcher and a visionary having a concern for society and women empowerment. Dayanand is an eminent scholar who is working on several social causes and developing distinct social models for a safe and secure world for a girl child. Since his childhood he developed vivid images of equally competent women sustaining in a male dominant society paving a path for a glorious world. He Strongly believes in a philosophy "The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.".