Class of 2021

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Neha Balamurugan, Phoenix, AZ

With a passion for cutting-edge technology and innovation, Neha Balamurugan will be pursuing a degree in Computer Science in hopes of designing groundbreaking technology that is powerful, yet affordable to all. During her high school career, she founded the institute at Sierra Verde Academy, aiming to induce a positive attitude toward math, where she was not only able to recruit 7 tutors, but also improve the performance of 40 students by over 30% in under 3 months. When not leading these efforts, she spent her time on the court, coaching autistic children in Tennis to positively reinforce sociability and balance off the court. Additionally, she spent the bulk of her time conducting a comprehensive and computational study of Leigh Syndrome under Dr. Sampath Rangasamy.

Mountain Ridge High School 

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Maya Greaves, Scottsdale, AZ

Maya’s desire and commitment to helping others could not be more evident than in her creation of Junior Hero’s. Junior Hero’s is a nonprofit she founded and now runs in 18 elementary schools. Outside of this, she has dedicated her time to cooking and serving meals to acutely homeless families through Family Promise, as well as organizing projects that bring supplies, technology, and personal items to orphanages around the world through Orphan Outreach. She plans to bring her passion for helping others into a Pharmaceutical sciences or biology major as she continues to grow Junior Hero’s and volunteer her time.

Paradise Valley High School

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Madeline Hall

Tucson, AZ

Madeline Hall is a Tucson native, publicly recognized with the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System "150 Hour Youth Award" in 2020 for her work transporting Veterans to medical appointments, tests, and hospital rooms, transporting equipment and lab specimens, and her work with her Women's Clinic assignment. She was also a student ambassador for When We All Vote - My School Votes helping to lessen the voting age and race gaps by encouraging young people to vote. Outside of volunteering she remained active in extracurricular activities such as Salpointe’s High School Golf Team, Chess Club, and Glee Club.

Salpointe Catholic High School

Jernei 2021

Jernei Johnson

Sahuarita, AZ

Jernei held high honor roll all 4 years of high school and won the Arizona Interscholastic Association Scholar-Athlete Award sophomore, junior, and senior year. While working part-time jobs, Jernei has devoted additional time to volunteering with Casas Alitas - assisting with immigrant services at the shelter in central Tucson, Harvest Fellowship - preparing for dining and resources for homeless citizens, and Workship – prepping the food and medical clinic for homeless citizens in downtown Tucson on Sunday mornings. Jernei also spends time assisting the Tucson chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Youth Division to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights for people and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

Salpointe Catholic High School

Jevon 2021

Jevon McKinney

Colorado Springs, CO

Jevon has been committed to finding ways to educate, inform, inspire, and create great projects for his community ever since he was a child. Whether it is giving back to his community through volunteer work as part of African American Youth Leadership Conference or Educating Children of Color, where he took on leadership positions as ambassadors or serving as the media specialist, sound engineer, musician, and youth leader for King Solomon Baptist Church Youth Group, he prides himself on giving it his all. Looking into the future, Jevon plans to major in Journalism & Media Communications and a double minor in Media Studies & Music. He plans to continue to foster his connections with the American Youth Leadership Conference and Educating Children of Color by spreading awareness about the programs through his position as a youth writer for My Black Colorado Magazine.

Widefield High School

Suhani Patel

Peoria, AZ

Suhani Patel is the 75th scholarship recipient and the memorial scholarship recipient. In the Fall, she plans on attending Cornell University where she will pursue further education in computer science and economics with a focus on technology for social good and inequality studies. She has devoted countless hours to volunteering with the National Charity League – where she led service initiatives in partnership organizations like St. Mary's Food Bank and the Ronald McDonald Foundation for over 600 mother/daughter duos, and LITAS For Girls – serving as the Director of Curriculum Development where she developed coding curriculums, present workshops to +1000 students worldwide, oversee global chapters, host fundraisers for electronics for underprivileged youth. She has also started Tech for Tails where she was able to combine her love for computer science and animals to collect donations for anti-cruelty shelters and societies.

Mountain Ridge High School

Jack 2021

Jack Swenson

Scottsdale, AZ 

Jack is a top 100 National Chess player who has taken his love and passion for the sport and devoted over 300 hours to creating Chess Peace. Chess Peace is a nonprofit organization that raises funds through chess tournaments to provide free chess education and supplies to underfunded local and global communities. He is also a National junior tennis player and has spent time over the last 5 years volunteering for Special Olympics Arizona serving as an on-court Tennis Companion teaching Olympians 1-on-1. During the pandemic, Jack has remained committed to teaching chess for free through Chess Peace and is looking forward to continuing to grow his nonprofit as he studies business economics in college.

Scottsdale Preparatory Academy

Atharva Vispute

Colorado Springs, CO

Atharva has spent years of his life devoted to giving back to his community whether it be through tutoring efforts, raising money for charity, helping hospital patients with caretaking activities, or creating his own 501(c)(3) non-profit – Sea of Actions (SoA). In the Fall of 2021, with a goal of one day becoming a physician, or more specifically, an immunologist, Atharva plans to major in chemistry. Combining his passion for teaching and empowerment with his desire to be an immunologist, he plans to use his degree to educate individuals about their health treatments and launch a series of free, informative talks and lectures for individuals across all communities to help improve mental and social health through nutritional and activity plans.

Rampart High School