STEM ALL STARS
Sajni Aims for the Stars
Sajni Vederey is a 9th grader at the top ranked public STEM high school in the US, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Alexandria, Virginia. Sajni is extremely passionate about science and technology and especially about how science and technology can help women in developing countries.
Sajni told Eduzine Global:
"I have won two U.S. Presidential Educational Awards and was one of 75 people in the world to be selected for the International Stanford Math League. I am active in the Girls Up campaign, which advocates for girls’ education and raises money for poor countries. I have also conversed with representative Barbara Comstock about the Girls Count Act as a constituent. I am also writing a blog for the Huffington Post about girls education and a book based on my experiences, knowledge, imagination, and opinions. The book is about a young girl who is getting teased about STEM. I have my own website, sajnivederey.com, where I address issues important to women and STEM and founded my own nonprofit called STEM All Stars."
Sajni continued "Since my childhood I have been noticing gender stereotypes such as girls are bad at math, and girls are not fit for engineering. Not only at school, but I started to see how even toy companies and children's TV shows were having a boy and a girl versions. As I got more involved into STEM, I 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. My target audience is girls who do not have enough self confidence or knowledge about STEM. I have introduced 22 STEM All Stars clubs internationally and I hope to create a change in the lives of girls! STEM All Stars is an international nonprofit organization committed to eliminating gender differences and breaking the barrier of stereotypes by running a STEM competition for girls to help make them our future global leaders."
The approach taken by STEM All Stars in India is to work with girls, giving them the regular financial and social support they will need for a long journey toward gender justice. A STEM competition is run to ignite girls’ interest in STEM. Students from grades 3-8 around the world are eligible to participate. STEM All Stars is an annual challenge that is presented to students, in which students have to innovate something OR build a community which solves a problem. Participants will also have to answer questions based off of their model. STEM All Stars challenges cultural norms by encouraging families to educate their female children and by spreading awareness about STEM, all so women can become agents of change. With all this in mind,this summer, Sajni volunteered at the Swami Vivekananda Public School in Hyderabad, India. It is an underprivileged school, run totally by sponsors. Sajni went to this school and gave a speech about girl’s education and the importance of STEM. She then set up small STEM workshops for children.
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