An award that empowers the next generation of young leaders who are creating positive change, the Top 20 Under 20 program has named six SHAD alumni as extraordinary young people of 2015:
Anjali Katta, SHAD ’13
Clement Cheng, SHAD ’14
Maike van Niekerk, SHAD ’12
Maxwell Tran, SHAD ’12
Nivatha Balendra, SHAD ’13
Xi Yuan (Cecilia) Pang, SHAD ’14
Katta, Cheng, van Niekerk, Tran, Balendra and Pang will join 31 additional SHAD alumni as recipients of the Top 20 Under 20 designation. SHAD proudly counts a total of 37 alumni with this accolade that honours innovation, leadership and achievement.
Here are some small highlights of their many incredible triumphs and pursuits:
Anjali Katta: Anjali founded GirlsCo., a not-for-profit organization that organizes women’s rights summits and workshops, as well as Bombay Pads, a program to deliver sanitary pads and provide sexual education to schools and orphanages in India.
Clement Cheng: Clement co-founded ActOut, a social justice group that brings global issues to the classroom through experiential learning simulations. The aim is to foster understanding, sow empathy, and empower social change.
Maike van Niekerk: Maike raised $35,000 by cycling across Newfoundland to kickstart the only initiative that helps offset travel costs for Newfoundland cancer patients commuting to the only radiation treatment centre in the province.
Maxwell Tran: Maxwell founded Ink Movement, a national non-profit organization that empowers youth through the arts and organizes book-publishing projects featuring young writers, photographers, and visual artists.
"SHAD has definitely played a large role in my personal development. Besides the 49 lifelong friends that I gained, SHAD was the first time that I started to believe in my own leadership ability. I learned that leadership comes in many forms and that I shouldn't doubt myself. More than that, I was able to apply the entrepreneurial mindset and innovative spirit that SHAD encourages to my social venture, Ink Movement."
Nivatha Balendra: Recognizing the lack of environmental solutions for cleaning oil spills, Nivatha’s research involved novel species of bacteria she discovered and their effectiveness in the bioremediation of oil particles.
"SHAD has undoubtedly played a role in my journey so far; I learnt that we all have to ability to make a reality of our dreams and my fellow SHADs helped me in realizing my potential as well."
Xi Yuan (Cecilia) Pang: Cecilia is an accomplished pianist and painter, competing and receiving gold medals in the South Fraser Music Festival and the Explorart Children’s Creative Painting Awards and Exhibition. At 15, she was published in an anthology of creative writing and has since created a website that provides academic resources for high school students.
"SHAD definitely led me to meet amazing individuals and really allowed me to be sure that STEM was something I was going to pursue!"