STANFORD NEURODIVERSITY SUMMIT 2023
Day 3 Program and Speakers
Please note that times shown below are in Pacific Time Zone.
DAY 3 - Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Stanford NNEA and SNP-REACH
Group members: Ashley Lin, Gabriela Bravo, Clark Wang, Jevon Mao, Nitya Jhamb, Safina Syed, Yesun Lee
Q&A with Clark Wang and Safina Syed:
Safina Syed is a senior at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California who worked with her team over the summer at SNP-REACH to create a website to provide information and resources for accessing accommodations for neurodiverse high school students. In creating their website, NEAT (neurodiversity education accommodation tools), she has worked on UI/UX design, researching information on accessing accommodations and high schools, and outreach to schools and through social media.
Hello! My name is Clark. I am a rising sophomore at Chadwick High School in Rolling Hills, California. I first became interested in neurodiversity through my involvement in my school’s robotics program. A year ago, I was lucky enough to collaborate with a teammate, who though neurodiverse, is amazing at solving design problems with our robot. Building on this, I am currently developing a web app to enhance collaboration in virtual STEM projects. I hope to ensure inclusion in my app, making sure every individual can be heard, seen, and valued in STEM.
Group members: Rohith Kompella, Grace Ko, Wenwen Jia, Davidoula George, Anya Chopra, Rama Ketabchi, William Wallace, Mia Zavala, Akmaral Atalova
Q&A with Grace Ko and Mia Zavala:
I’m Grace Ko and I’m from El Dorado Hills, California and am currently a junior at Folsom High School. My passion for neurodiversity first began when my grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Discovering the incurability and ineffectiveness of treatments for a degenerative disease he was diagnosed with, compelled me to dedicate my studies to neurodiversity as a whole. However, I was not yet exposed to the science behind neurodiverse diseases which I was able to divulge more into when preparing for my AP Research class. This further drove my passion for neurodiversity, as this led me to realize that neurodiversity is essential and beneficial regarding building a more inclusive and equitable society for these people, especially in our world where mental disorder is the most prevalent health issue today. Specifically at SNP, I learned what aspects of life are obstacles and are challenges to neurodiverse individuals, how to help them overcome/adapt to these challenges, while also making them feel accepted in their communities. While neuro disorders and neurodiversity are different, I wish to better understand how they connect and differ with one other to implement solutions within my own community as well.
My name is Mia Zavala, I'm from Torrance, California. I am a rising senior at West High. My interest in Neurodiversity sparked when I learned my younger sisters were both diagnosed with ADHD. At the time I never understood what it was and the challenges they would have faced. Due to this I began learning about neurodiversity and I was stunned by the stigma and challenges many of this spectrum have gone through. I want to make sure that everyone, including those a part of the neurodiverse spectrum, knows they can accomplish great things.
Group members: Megan Lee, Anay Gupta, Amicie Koslow, Braden Conte, Donya Vandersteen, Ahilan Hatti, Delaney Halloran, Victoria Richardson
Q&A with Amicie Koslow and Donya Vandersteen:
Amicie Koslow is a 12th grader at the Lycée Français de San Francisco. She attended SNP-REACH this past summer where she worked with her group members to create and code a video game simulating ADHD experiences for neurotypicals. She hopes to one day provide the game to teachers and other educators so that they may be better able to understand and empathize with their neurodiverse students. She has been a member of the Neurodiversity Committee at the Lycée for 3 years and proactively participated in school-sponsored events and discussions surrounding neurodiversity and self-empowerment. Amicie hopes to study cognitive science in college and join the growing numbers of neurodivergent researchers who are dismantling norms about cognition.
Hi, I’m Donya Vandersteen and I attended SNP-REACH 2023. I started taking interest in neurodiversity due to my dad being diagnosed with a stage IV glioblastoma (brain tumor) in his temporal lobe when I was 5 years old. Unfortunately, when it was removed it left him with some challenges such as aphasia and short term memory loss. Although he is not considered neurodivergent, he still struggles with neurologic challenges. Since I was so young, I never truly understood what was happening. Over the many years I’ve grown more curious about the brains functions and neuroscience as a whole. This has inspired me to want to learn more about how the brain functions and how it works differently in people who have neurological challenges.
Group members: Zhuoyi Guo, Claire Wang, Amisha Reddy, Ella Guan, Eiffel Vuong, James Chen, Mauli Karapurka
Q&A with Claire Wang and Amisha Reddy:
Claire Wang is a high school junior from San Diego, California. She is interested in neuroscience and psychology and believes that studying neurodiversity is important to understanding more about the human brain. As part of SNP-REACH 2023, she helped develop a website that provides information about college neurodiversity accommodations and resources. Aside from neurodiversity advocacy, Claire loves music and enjoys playing the violin in youth orchestras.
My name is Amisha Reddy and I am a junior in The Quarry Lane School. I am interested in biology, psychology, and art, and am planning to go down the pre-med path. I have a younger cousin with Down Syndrome who greatly influenced my interest in neurodiversity. During the past summer, I attended the Stanford Neurodiversity Program and in the program, my team and I were inspired to create Collegable, a college search platform for neurodiverse individuals. The Stanford Neurodiversity Program inspired me to learn more about neurodiversity and to try and make the world a more neurodiverse inclusive place. As such, we are continuing our work on turning Collegable into an accessible, informational product that we can share with neurodiverse students and college counselors.
Group members: Kalima Iqbal, Neil Chandran, Ria Sudhir, Haena Suk, Jason Guo, Annabelle Chang, Navya Bansal, Ethan Chiang
Q&A with Neil Chandran and Ria Sudhir:
Neil Chandran is a junior at Monte Vista High School in Danville, California. His interest in neurodiversity stemmed from teaching tennis to children with autism. Through coaching tennis, he saw first hand the improvement in the kids hand eye coordination, social skills and confidence level and what a difference it made to the parents to have one-on-one support for their children. Seeing the limited number of athletic programs available for neurodiverse kids, he was inspired to start a tennis program in the East Bay mentoring children with ASD. Neil has worked on various neurodiverse research programs including a project on the development of an independent living and self-care based virtual reality game for adults with ASD. He found it fascinating to learn more about virtual environments to treat neurological disorders and understand human behavior. He is currently working with SNP-REACH to help create a prototype website that allows students with autism to easily manage their tasks at school. Neil would like to continue working on research to develop assistive technologies for neurodiverse people to have a better quality of life. In his free time, Neil enjoys playing the classical Spanish guitar.
Hi! I'm Ria Sudhir, a highscool senior passionate about education inclusivity. I work extensively in the social emotional learning and neurodivergence space. In my free time, I love to read, write poetry, and practice calligraphy. I'm also a lover of cheese, Kung Fu Panda, and donuts.
The Neurodiverse Lens
Group members: Reese Langdon, Chloe Xia, Pravin Balasingam, Zachary Leblang, Cindy Olguin, Natasha George, Graham Stuart, Aria Kapoor
Q&A with Natasha George and Pravin Balasingam:
Natasha George is a junior at Foothill High School in the bay area. Her recent interests in neurodiversity and neurodiversity advocacy were amplified by SNP-Reach this summer, where she met a talented and ambitious group of students who she collaborated with to create a photojournal named Through the Neurodiverse Lens. She is hoping to get more involved with this advocacy as she grows older. Natasha enjoys playing with her dog Max, reading and writing poetry, and watching cheesy rom-coms in her free time.
Hi! My name is Pravin Balasingam; I am 15 years old and a sophomore at Los Gatos High School. Outside of my active involvement in special needs advocacy, I enjoy soccer, piano, and hanging out with friends. I have been playing piano for the last 10 years and mostly perform in the classical arts. Similarly, I have been playing soccer for the last 9 years and enjoy competing on the field with my friends and teammates. I am currently on the LGHS JV soccer team. My favorite subject is science and it is a field I hope to continue studying as a profession. Outside of school, I am on my town’s youth commission where I serve as a student leader and advocate. I also love partaking in outdoor activities and will always be the first to volunteer for a hiking, fishing, or boating adventure!
Autism Tools for Education (A.T.E.)
Group members: Sharvesh Prabhakar, Hamza Modan, Emily Hong, Michelle Valencia, Viviana Rodrigues, Ellie Wapner, Elizabeth Hang, Jaelyn Jackson
Q&A with Hamza Modan and Viviana Rodrigues:
Hi everyone, my name is Hamza Modan. I am a rising junior in the Central Valley, and I have always asked myself the question: what can I do as someone who has the opportunity to lobby for tangible change in my community, and especially my state? The unique thing I have been most passionate about before asking myself this question was an interest in the neurodiverse community. My interest began two years ago!
In the summer of my first year in high school, I challenged myself to socialize with as many people as possible. One day, I came across the head secretary of a clinic while on a doctor's appointment. She began telling me about her grandson, and how he was one of the smartest people she had ever met, despite only being 7! He was fascinated with calculus and astrophysics, and had vocabulary his grandmother could never understand! However, he was distant from his peers in school as they shared separate interests from him. His responses to somewhat normal questions seemed to catch an eye from his parents. Regardless, the secretary knew that he was never doing what he was not “supposed” to do; in fact, he was just different. Just like all of us. This definition stuck with me into my second year of high school, where I joined my school’s NAMI club and learned more about different neurodiverse topics! In my pastime, I enjoy playing soccer, toying around with a rubix cube, riding my bike, and watching Netflix.
My name is Viviana Rodrigues, and I’m currently a junior in high school in California. I create the animations for the A.T.E. website. I have an interest in neuroscience, neurodiversity, and multi-medium art. Some of my hobbies include doing art projects of different forms, like sculpting and sewing, and playing the piano. With this project, I’m excited to inform people about neurodiversity and help others to become advocates themselves to foster a more inclusive and empathetic community.