RIDHI CHORAGUDI

Choragudi

Ridhi was one of eight students in the country selected for the Tomodachi Toshiba Academy, an exclusive STEM leadership trip to Tokyo.

Here, she used her STEM skills to create a presentation on how to build a sustainable city. She suggested many different ideas such as ergonomic civil engineering, carbon nanotubes, and efficient traffic control such as HOT and HOV lanes. Ridhi presented her plans to Japanese government officials, the President of Toshiba Japan, members of the U.S. Japan Council, and even Bill Nye!

Ridhi also created the club "STEMinism" at her school which encourages young women in her local community to join the STEM field. Her club invited women who had successful careers in STEM to local elementary schools where their stories were shared along with a Q&A period. Ridhi also worked with the local fire station and held fun science experiments for girls where they learned how to build cars and make Rube Goldberg machines.

This year STEMinism is being converted to Project STEAM and Ridhi has applied for nonprofit tax-exempt status. With Project STEAM, there are many sub-projects including bringing STEAM to international communities.

This Thanksgiving break, Project STEAM and FEVI Ecuador have joined forces to create a STEAM week for 7th graders in Colegio Tecnico Latinoamericano in Lumbisi, Ecuador. Here they will learn about STEAM, apply it to real STEAM supplies, and actually group write and draw a book about STEAM that will be published!

Speaking about Project STEAM's intiatives, Ridhi stated, "With our help and commitment to FEVI Ecuador and this school, we hope to encourage them and prove to these girls they can do whatever they want with their life, as long as they work hard."

In addition, Project STEAM is fundraising for art supplies, scientific lab equipment, and engineering kits as well as raising money for tablets to teach students how to code.

In January 2018, Project STEAM will be working with DEFAN Udayapur in Nepal to hold a local fundraiser for STEAM supplies for schools in their community.

Working with and volunteering for these organizations will not only propel Ridhi towards her goal of earning The Congressional Award Gold Medal, but it will also help her build life-long relationships with those whose lives she has truly touched.

In the last two years, Ridhi has traveled to Honduras and Peru while on medical and public health mission trips. In the communities she worked with and volunteered in, Ridhi realized how much STEM could change their lives.

As she took a look around the communities she saw poor sustainable measure and thought, "If they just had better engineering or some sort of technology in place, their entire lives could be flipped around." Just redesigning their community to be more STEM-based could give more jobs and make the community more independent and successful. She participated in many engineering-related projects, such as designing houses to build and building staircases up mountains to remote communities.

Ridhi hopes her service efforts truly make a lasting effect on STEM awareness around the globe.