SWENext, SWE’s free pre-college program, recently recognized these exceptional future engineers and computer scientists for their pursuits of engineering projects, their understanding of engineering principles, their roles in inspiring young girls to pursue engineering and their contributions to the communities they live in.
Local Innovator Award Recipients
The SWENext Local Innovator Award recognizes outstanding young women shaping the future of SWE who have demonstrated a commitment to bettering the lives of women in STEM.
Paulina is the president and founder of her school’s SWENext Club, where she leads weekly meetings covering and introducing different fields of engineering through activities like Arduino and paper towers. Paulina has volunteered with SWE San Diego at 15+ STEM festivals and events and has held multiple online webinars featuring successful female engineers. In December 2023, Paulina and her SWENext Club organized and led La Jolla’s first high-schooler-run hackathon, KnightHacks, with the support of SWE San Diego. She hopes to pursue computer engineering or computer science in college and build on the research she currently conducts on lithium metal batteries and energy.
Eniola is a student who is interested in computer science. She is a senior in the Science and Technology Program at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. She interns with Science Systems & Applications Inc. (SSAI) and NASA to solve environmental justice issues utilizing data science. She is a part of the Johns Hopkins Stem Academy cybersecurity program, where she learns skills such as ethical hacking. Eniola serves as the current president of the Girls Who Code club at her school, and she hopes to encourage young women to pursue the field of technology. She plans on attending college next fall and majoring in computer science.
Isabela Delgado is a senior at Carrollton Sacred Heart school in Miami, Fla. Next year, she will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, a dual degree program between the Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Thanks to SWENext, Isabela has been able to explore her engineering interests throughout high school and discover her passion for computer science and systems engineering. In college, Isabela looks forward to acquiring the technical and business skills for tomorrow’s high-tech ventures.
Prital Jariwala is the vice president for her school’s Robotics SWENext Club and aspires to work at the intersection of biology and engineering. She has hosted Arduino classes for local middle schoolers, giving them hands-on experience with circuits and robotics by creating projects and lesson plans and regularly volunteers at the physical rehabilitation center of her local hospital to help patients recover and educate herself about the medical field. Along with robotics and volunteering, Prital is a research intern working towards developing a biosensor to detect liver cancer.
Eileen Lin is a senior at the Eastvale STEM Academy and Eleanor Roosevelt High School. She is an aspiring aerospace engineer and hopes to work in exoplanet and habitable planet research. She is the co-founder and co-president of her school’s SWENext Club where she has organized technical workshops, mentorship programs with collegiate chapters and hosted multiple panel events with industry professionals. Outside of SWENext, she is involved in her school’s eSTEM Ambassadors organization, Science Olympiad, and is working on an independent research project.
Alyssa, an aspiring biomedical engineer, was the president of her school’s SWENext Club as a sophomore, and she is currently its outreach director, in addition to being the chief executive officer of the FIRST Robotics Competition team TitanBot. She was her SWENext Club’s marketing director and her robotics team’s mechanical engineering director in her junior year. There, she led a department of 40 members in the design and fabrication of their robot, while being an ambassador for the growing HeForSWE movement, advocating for male allies to support women in engineering. Alyssa regularly mentors other FIRST Robotics Teams and is in the process of developing a nonprofit organization, Sisters in STEM, to help young kids explore STEM activities in an accessible way.
Local Innovator Award Honorable Mentions
Alekhya Buragadda is a senior in South Fayette High School. Alekhya’s dedication to the STEM field is expansive, and she hopes to use it as a platform to better the world. Being part of the advisory board for TechGirlz, she creates workshops to introduce children from underserved areas to opportunities in STEM. Her efforts have earned her the NCWIT Impact Award and others as she continues to use STEM to drive change.
STEM in Action Award Recipients
The SWENext STEM in Action Award emphasizes the impact SWENexters have in their communities through volunteering, SWE and SWENext participation, and events promoting STEM and supporting the SWE mission.
Avni Agarwal is a junior from Mountain House High School, Calif., and she is an aspiring biomedical engineer. She is captain of her FTC Robotics team (BattleBots), and through her experiences with STEM, Avni discovered a large gender discrepancy in STEM in her community. So, Avni started her school’s SWENext Club, through which she has held 10+ free workshops for over 100 elementary and middle school girls in her community. She also founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Guide N Grow HER, which is a mentorship program that aims to help high school girls build self-confidence by connecting them to upstanding female professionals.
Lily, an aspiring STEAM professional from California, is the marketing director for the SWENext Club at her high school and is the media director for her FIRST Robotics Competition team, TitanBot 2543. With over eight years of experience in robotics, Lily decided to co-found the nonprofit organization, Sisters in STEM, which aspires to inspire future STEAM professionals through interactive activities in different areas of San Diego.
Nupur Bhalla is an aspiring engineer from southern California with a passion for solving real-world problems through technology. Along with interning at a computational research lab at UCSD, she founded a San Diego chapter of JuSTEMagine, which focuses on educating young students about STEM through various workshops and activities. Nupur is also an active member of her high school’s SWE and International Genetically Engineered Machine clubs. Some of her hobbies include playing tennis, reading and hanging out with friends.
Sophia has participated in the Birch Aquarium Camps, Gateway Camps, UCSD Girls-in-STEM program and SWENext outreach activities, which developed her interest in going into STEM as a lifelong career. In addition, Sophia was selected to join BE WiSE Fleets Science Museum, a program for girls to engage in learning experiences in collaboration with research and industry institutions. She has participated in other STEM activities over the years including the UCSD Young Physicist Program, USD Girl Science Day and Petco Science Fairs.
Lana, a freshman at Juan Diego High School, has shown a strong passion for STEM, starting her FIRST journey in Junior FLL and transitioning to FTC in 2019. She actively promotes STEM through various outreach activities, such as co-founding Utah SWENext, launching Inspiring Girls in STEM Day and bringing STEM and robotics to four schools in the Navajo Indian Reservation in southern Utah. Outside of STEM, Lana has many academic achievements, including being the national winner of the Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest. Beyond that, Lana is a member of the wrestling team at her school and enjoys hobbies like climbing and cooking.
McKayla is a high school sophomore from Atlanta, Ga. She is passionate about engineering and plans to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. Outside of school, McKayla participates in various organizations, such as Women in Technology, SWENext and the Maker Space. In her free time, you can find her 3D modeling, CNC routing and participating in her local robotics team. McKayla’s ultimate goal is to constantly learn more about engineering and meet other like-minded girls.
Lydia was named one of the “16 Under 16 in STEM” and enjoys doing STEM outreach in her community. Lydia was awarded the Angela Award from the National Science Teaching Association and was one of Carolina Biological’s Young Innovators of the year. Throughout the past year, Lydia has shared her message of “Problem Seeker, Problem Solver” in more than 30 classrooms, and served as the keynote speaker at the Women in STEM event at Bowling Green University and at the NCSTA conference. Lydia is excited to have joined the National Girls Collaborative Project Youth Advisory board and hopes to help other girls find a passion for inventing and STEM!
Addison is a junior in high school who loves engineering. To pursue her interests, Addison is the founder and president of SWENext at her high school and has an engineering internship. Addison also loves working with kids and helping them to discover their love for STEM. Her goal is to become a civil engineer and gain experience in architecture as well. Outside of engineering, Addison likes to bake and cook, read and do art.
Claire, an aspiring aerospace engineer from North Carolina, is a member of the Johnston County STEM Girls SWENext Club. As part of the all-girl FRC team 9008 G-Force Robotics, she not only designs, CADs, prototypes and builds competitive robots, but she also advocates for and encourages girls in STEM. She leads the team’s “Be That Engineer” Literacy Project, through which she asks women STEM professionals to sign books from the SWENext booklist for her team to read and donate to elementary schools. She’s growing the program internationally, collaborating with FIRST teams and organizations across the U.S. and in other countries.
Nicole is a high school junior in California with a passion for engineering, aspiring to become an astronautical engineer. She is actively involved in the robotics team and other various engineering activities, and she loves learning how things work. Outside of academics, Nicole finds joy in listening to music and playing badminton.
Emmie is a junior at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, Calif. Her STEM interests propelled her to pursue a myriad of opportunities, including an internship at the University of San Diego to develop a machine learning model for image analysis denoising. Emmie’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Data Science for Change, encourages students to utilize STEM to affect tangible societal change. As the vice president of her school’s SWENext Club, Emmie helped organize a hackathon, bringing together students from across the county to help marginalized groups. Through SWENext, Emmie hopes to inspire her classmates to use STEM to impact their own communities.
Zinia is a national leader of Scientella, where she empowers the next generation of women leaders in STEM fields through exclusive apprenticeships. She has organized webinars, mentorships and research projects through partnerships with renowned companies, including Illumina, Resmed and Qualcomm. Zinia has helped raise nearly $130,000 for scholarships that her team distributes to bright students around the world. Additionally, Zinia is an enthusiastic learner with an immense interest in biomedical materials science and is an accomplished competitor in international biology competitions. She is an avid researcher and loves using bioinformatics and wet lab techniques to investigate cellular phenomena and nanoformulation.
Deepthi is currently the outreach lead of team 2813 Gear Heads and was the Arduino lead from 2022-2023. She taught middle-schoolers about Arduinos and recently helped organize, create, and teach the team’s first-ever micro:bits class, teaching middle-schoolers about implementing programming into micro:bits hardware. Deepthi also hosted a “Women in STEM” YouTube panel and hopes to continue empowering women in STEM by helping to organize all-girls classes and, hopefully, a SWE event at her school. Deepthi is also participating in SHLA and hopes to use what she learns to further advocate for STEM in communities throughout the Bay Area.
Hailey is a sophomore in Pennsylvania and an aspiring biomedical engineer. By founding the Marple Newtown SWENext Club and hosting several mentoring/outreach events, she raised awareness of women’s empowerment. Currently, Hailey is working on a passion project with professionals to help an eight-year-old child in Nicaragua get a 3D printed below-knee prosthesis. As the Pennsylvania Champion of the Assistive Technology in E-NABLE, she is fervently trying to establish partnerships with large scale 3D printers to create 3D printed adaptive devices kits. Hailey’s ultimate goal is to help people in underprivileged communities by making assistive technologies more accessible.
Robyn, an aspiring computer scientist, is the vice president of her school’s Girls Who Code Club, a Code.org CS Ambassador and member of the La Canada Unified School District Technology Council. She has planned, organized and hosted numerous STEAM programs for elementary school girls to introduce them to the basics of programming and engineering, empowering them to become confident STEM leaders. She advocates for online safety and hopes to close the gender gap in technology.
Ananya is the president of the QLS Society of Women Engineers Chapter. From a young age, Ananya has participated in various STEM activities, ranging from the FIRST Robotics Competitions to building a haptic wearable device as a part of a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam. Now her primary goal is to break the gender barrier surrounding STEM and provide other women with a safe space to develop the traits they need to succeed in STEM careers and develop their confidence.
Medha is a dedicated high school sophomore. In middle school, she established an after-school coding club that impacted over 200 students. Additionally, she developed an AI program for cyberbullying detection and created impactful YouTube animations on topics like bullying prevention under her channel LifeWithRainbow. For her influential work in STEM advocacy, she was recognized by both the Virginia House of Delegates and Vice President Kamala Harris. As the founder of Mission One Smile, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing social issues, and a researcher in data science focused on neuroscience, Medha aspires to shape a world where STEM creates change within communities.
Julia’s passion for engineering stems from three years of projects and competitions on her FIRST Robotics team, Option 16, where Julia studied hardware, software and electrical skills. Beyond these technical roles, she is on the executive board as the treasurer/secretary and manages the operations, communications and fundraisers. This summer, she had the incredible opportunity to study electronics engineering under a supervisor at CERN as part of its high school trainee program. Julia is currently a project engineering intern with Greater Than Tech, where she taught a free three-week robotics and entrepreneurship workshop to the community.
Saanvi is a junior at Bothell High School. She is a part of the science olympiad and started the school’s very own SWENext Club.
Suchitra has a strong passion for science, technology, public health and women in STEM. In her free time, Suchitra loves to listen to music, read books, travel, eat good food and play the violin. Currently, as a junior in high school, she is aspiring to be a biomedical engineer. Suchitra loves to participate in enrichment opportunities through SHLA, GirlCon and other organizations that empower women in STEM. In the future, she hopes to create a nonprofit organization that educates women from rural places in the world about technology and helps them explore new devices.
Breanna, an aspiring computer scientist from California, is the co-president of her high school’s SWENext Club. Passionate about empowering girls and children in STEM, Breanna has organized annual coding camps for underrepresented groups, developed STEM lessons for nearly 100 students at local elementary schools and introduced guest speakers at her SWENext Club meetings, doubling the club membership within a year. Outside of SWENext, Breanna enjoys participating in hackathons and app challenges to pursue her interest in web and app development, earning a Technovation 2023 Quarterfinalist Award and a Special Recognition for the 2023 Congressional App Challenge.
Tasbia is the captain of her high school’s robotics club, which encourages people of all skill levels to get into STEM. She has also started her own youth organization, LoveTech, where gender minorities from around the world participate in coding competitions together and give back to their local communities. She believes that anyone can go into STEM and that it’s never too late to start learning to code.
Hira, an aspiring physician from New Jersey, is the vice president of her school’s Muslim Student Association and Waksman Research Club, as well as tech manager for Girls Who Code. In her free time, she enjoys coding apps, playing badminton and spending time with her family. This summer, she carried out a research project investigating the impact of diabetes management apps on their users, which was inspired by her grandfather’s experiences. In the future, she hopes to combine her passion for computer science and biology to solve the health care challenges her community faces.
Brianna is an aspiring engineer from North Carolina who is passionate about robotics and computer science. She is the co-founder of her school’s coding club, leading others in providing free tech services to her community, and an avid member of her school’s FRC robotics team. As an active member in her community, she has used her skills to help local organizations such as local science museums and schools. She hopes to continue using her knowledge to help pave the way for future engineers.
As treasurer of the Roboctopi SWENext Club, Kate encourages STEM participation through outreach and community events. Kate is a student researcher who dreams of solutions to complex problems; her research on lead purification led her to be recognized by a third place Grand Award at the International Science and Engineering Fair. Kate is interested in environmental engineering, robotics and mathematics. She is also a World Science Scholar and the president of the international youth group KDFYouth, raising awareness and funds for Kawasaki disease. Kate also loves piano, photography and building things.
Congratulations to all of the award recipients. We are so proud of you!