"Ria Bawiskar is a Junior at Naperville North Highschool, what an amazing young lady. Ria is a confident young leader paving the way for girls’ empowerment in STEM education and providing support to students who needs help through her virtual pandemic pods.
Since the age of nine, Ria has been attending 'Girls Who Code' at University of Illinois at Chicago, a program that teaches computer programming to girls. In high school, she noticed a gender gap in STEM related fields, and that’s when she decided to do something about it, inspired by Girls Who Code. She personally went to every elementary schools in district 203 and presented her idea and asked the principals to give her an opportunity to teach basic computer programming to elementary school girls. She formed a team of likeminded high school girls and guided them for the weekly teaching sessions. That is the birth of her 'Empower' club that teaches STEM to elementary school girls in ten district 203 schools. Unfazed by the pandemic, she took her club virtual, and now the girls look forward to these interesting sessions every week. She started virtual pandemic pods this year to help elementary school kids.
Her goal is to implement her idea in underprivileged Chicago areas and eventually nationwide, a positive engagement for young girls and for high school students. Way to go Ria!"
Nominated by Mahsa Alborzi