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Innovation Generation: 2 South Asian Americans, 1 Canadian Among Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21

Innovation Generation: 2 South Asian Americans, 1 Canadian Among Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21

  • Alishba Imran, Shiva Rajbhandari, and Sridevi Krothapalli are on the annual list of changemakers, influencers, activists and artists who have made a substantial impact in both their communities and the world.

Two South Asian Americans and one Canadian of South Asian origin are among Teen Vogue’s ’21 Under 21,’ an annual list of “changemakers, influencers, activists, and artists who have made a substantial impact in both their communities and the world.” Included in the lineup are tech wizard Alishba Imran, 18; political activist Shiva Rajbhandari, 18; and multi-hyphenate Sridevi Krothapalli, 17.

Physics pro Sridevi Krothapalli, who’s making major moves in science and arts, was selected to attend the Stanford Program for Inspiring the Next Generation of Women in Physics hosted by the Stanford Physics Department and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. “By applying coding skills to physics-based projects in environmental engineering and tutoring other students in physics-oriented topics in my community, I realized my ambition to break the gender gap in the field of physics and mathematics,” she told Teen Vogue. She hopes to pursue making scientific discoveries “that will better the lives of others all over the world,” she told the magazine. Additionally, her talents in art, literature, and philanthropy have allowed her to realize her devotion to other causes as well, Teen Vogue said. She founded and still serves as the president of her student-led non-profit, Kahani, which distributes literary and art magazines to children’s hospitals around the world so patients can enjoy them. 

Alishba Imran, who grew up in Toronto, Canada, is a student at UC Berkeley. Teen Vogue said she “has carved a space for herself in the competitive (and male-dominated) world of machine learning, robotics, and blockchain.” It all started when she joined her school’s robotics team at 14, where, despite having zero programming experience, she became a lead programmer. Now a student at UC Berkeley, Imran “proudly wears a million hats,” the magazine said — among them being the co-founder of Honestblocks and Voltx. Her goal is clear: Using machine learning as a tool to solve real problems. “The biggest thing you can optimize for in life is people,” she says, offering some advice to fellow coders. “Spend time exploring your interests, what you’re good at, and what brings you energy. I think the best things to work on are at the intersection of what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and are a way for you to create value for the world.”

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This fall, high school senior Shiva Rajbhandari won elected office in Boise, Idaho, defeating an incumbent school board trustee backed by local extremists. He told Teen Vogue, that as he grew in his activism, he “began working for tribal justice, voting rights, and gun violence prevention.” And “after a two-year long campaign to create a clean energy commitment and long-term sustainability plan in our school district, I decided to run for the school board.” The son of a Nepali father who turned 18 days before the election, was elected to a two-year term with 56 percent of the vote, as reported by Idaho News. He was endorsed by Boise’s leading newspaper, the Idaho Statesman.

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