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Akshaya’s passion for science and technology started at an early age, as she loves experimenting, building things and enjoyed the Home Depot DIY kids workshop on many weekends. Her interest grew into the coding side when she joined app camp for girls at the end of 7th grade summer. Akshaya made use of her newly learned app knowledge to put forth her idea to design a mobile app to help the community in some way. Akshaya’s family shares some of their backyard garden harvest with neighbors. Some of the extra fruits and vegetables go to their temple. But she saw how unharvested food produce that grows in every backyard goes to waste, as it is not consumed by anyone. With that in mind, she set out to design an iOS app that can help local food banks gain access to the surplus food produce. She presented her idea and demonstrated the designed app at the school level, local fair, state and regionals. Finally, she was thrilled to find that she got selected as the only finalist to represent AZ for Broadcom MASTERS 2018, the premier National middle school STEM competition. She was one of the top 30 Broadcom MASTERS finalists across the country to compete at Washington DC during Oct 2018. She won the best team award in participating in the rigorous team competition all week on STEM. Her winning project app schedules pickups to help local food banks gain access to the excess food produce by not making it go waste. Family, friends and neighbors agreed to list donations for the initial test. The field test worked well. “By using my app, organizations can send people to harvest and pick up the fruits and veggies to distribute to the needy,” she says. Currently she has communicated with one non-profit food produce rescue group in her area to collect food donations listed on the app. She hopes to scale up the app for more widespread use. Within school, she co-mentors ASPIRE Google CS First coding club that was started by her older sister to make more kids excited about coding and interest the next generation of budding programmers. She also is a key member of her school’s Science Alliance team and serves as a science club mentor for grade 5-8 kids. She is starting a new initiative, app camp for girls at her high school from spring 2019. Outside of school, Akshaya volunteers her time collecting fruits and vegetables from agreeable neighbors’ yards to distribute to the local refugee camps and other people in need. Her experiences in STEM so far have made her aware of the growing gender gap that exists in engineering fields. As a student participant in the 2015-2017 Women of Color STEM conference, Akshaya began to tutor younger kids at the local libraries for grade 4 through 8 on weekends to teach game design using MIT Scratch and simple app design using Xcode. Other interests are, she loves to be with her friends, plays gymnastics, Indian classical dance, and singing. “Learning about the things that make up your body and life has always been fascinating to me,” says Akshaya. After completing high school, she wishes to attend a university with a strong focus on biology and computer science to do research combining both areas.