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Awesome CTYers

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CTYer works to empower girls

Picture of Sejal Hathi.When she was 15 years old, Sejal Hathi was diagnosed with anorexia. During her treatment, she learned a lot about herself, but she also realized something larger about the culture she grew up in: “Through the conversations I had with other young women with depression, eating disorders, and other psychosocial problems, I realized that so many of us were suffering from a lack of self-love and this crazy desire to be perfect,” she says.  “That realization and empathy—the realization that I wasn’t alone—pushed me to do something about it.”

The result? Sejal founded Girls Helping Girls, a nonprofit organization that partners girls in the United States with girls in developing countries so they can help each other solve problems in their communities....Read more about this Awesome CTYer.

CTY Scholar makes an impression at Microsoft event

Kameron NelsonCTY Scholar Kameron Nelson brought his A-game to a recent Minority Day event hosted by Microsoft. In one productive afternoon, the 15-year-old ninth grader from Alexandria, Va., wowed judges with a charismatic sales pitch, won an essay competition, and possibly landed a summer internship.

Microsoft hosts Minority Day events around the country to inspire students from diverse backgrounds to explore careers in STEM, and Kameron was one of 100 students invited to the Washington, D.C. event this year. Invitees were asked to submit an essay exploring what technology will look like in 2050. ...Read more about this Awesome CTYer.

CTYer Luz Mercado named Gates Millennium Scholar

Luz MercadoCTY Scholar Luz Mercado first set her sights on college in sixth grade, when she and her parents went on a class field trip to Pomona College. 
Her parents are from Guadalajara, Mexico, and speak little English. No one in her family had ever gone to college, but the campus tour suddenly made it seem possible. 
“That was a turning point, when my family said, ‘Yes, we think you could do this,’” Luz said. 
She’s been working to prove them right ever since. ...Read more about this Awesome CTYer.

Q&A with Anil Dash, CTYer-turned tech pioneer

Picture of Avil Dash.“Just got a push notification that the bully who broke my nose in the 7th grade is turning 40 today, so the Internet is working as designed.”

That’s just one of many tweets that give Anil Dash the air of someone you’d like to hang out and drink coffee with. Trouble is, he doesn’t drink coffee—or have a lot of free time. The former CTYer-turned tech pioneer is CEO of ThinkUp, an app that helps subscribers mindfully manage their presence on social media, and partner at a consulting firm. He’s also a husband, father, and prolific blogger and social-media user with more than half a million followers on Twitter. Dash recently took a break from it all to share his thoughts on the passing of Prince and making technology more humane....Read more about this Awesome CTYer.

This CTYer Is Working to Feed the World – with a Surprising Source

Picture of William Tarpeh.William Tarpeh is a doctoral candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering program at UC Berkeley, where he spends several hours per day in a lab working with urine.

“Urine is pretty special because a lot of the nutrients found in it are the same nutrients found in fertilizers,” he said.

William is researching ways to extract those nutrients and repurpose them. He’s already developed an electrochemical cell that can extract nitrogen from urine, turn it into a gas, and combine it with water to make fertilizer. Next, he wants to develop a large-scale system for urine collection in sub-Saharan African countries. This could help grow crops to feed the hungry, while selling the fertilizer could fund more toilets in countries where sanitation systems are lacking....Read more about this Awesome CTYer.