Two Notre Dame seniors were recognized over the summer for the work they have done in the community through non-profits they founded. The Jefferson Awards Foundation was created in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service. The Jefferson Awards are given at both national and local levels. Local winners are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition.
Shruti Sridhar, nominated by counselor Heather Valentine, received a Jefferson Award for the work she has done in bringing opportunities to learn engineering concepts to underserved students. Founded in 2016, her non-profit Makers of Tomorrow, uses city grant funds to help pay for materials for projects ranging from circuitry to coding. Shruti developed the curriculum herself, ensuring that the hands-on activities teach perseverance through trial and error in addition to valuable science and engineering concepts. “Being that in Silicon Valley engineering is so critical to getting future jobs and careers, I really wanted to make an impact on these students by introducing them to engineering,” Sridhar explained. To date her program has taught more than 150 students in a dozen South Bay Area schools and libraries. Makers of Tomorrow was recognized earlier this year with a letter of commendation from the mayor.
Maya Nayak also received the Jefferson Award. Maya founded FunMath4Kids, a free math tutoring program for their local community, with childhood friend Monjish Bhattacharyya in 2015. Since then, the organization has expanded into a half a dozen libraries, with 40 plus volunteers teaching math to nearly 1500 students. Nayak and Bhattacharyya spend about 5 hours weekly prepping and teaching the free, drop-in classes. They fund the program themselves, using library workspace and affordable basics like paper and pencils. But it’s the personal connection with the kids they teach that the duo says keeps them committed to FunMath4Kids. “It warms my heart,” shares Maya.
You can view the CBS SF BayArea news segment about Shruti here: https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/09/11/bay-area-high-school-senior-develops-stem-curriculum-for-young-girls/
You can view the CBS SF BayArea news segment about Maya here: https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/08/05/free-fun-math-tutoring-brainchild-bay-area-teens/