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Youth 4R^3,

Ananya Anand is an ambitious 15-year old student, avid writer, and aspiring podcaster. As an individual who calls three different countries home, her native language has always been the language of science - something that has the power to unite people across the globe regardless of their creed, religion, nationality, or citizenship.  

At the mere age of 5, she could be found burying herself in all kinds of books at any and every part of the day, pleading with her parents for just a few more minutes before she would go to sleep. It was from a young age that her curiosity manifested itself as a powerful form of wanderlust; a desire to explore beyond the surface that she channeled and honed during the pandemic. With her passion to share her musings with the rest of the world, she began pursuing it through what she does best; writing and research. Her writing abilities flourished with her time as her school’s youngest chief editor and writer, as she increasingly found creative and critical writing to be an amusing form of introspection. 

In her pursuit of interdisciplinary learning, Ananya is dedicated to intertwining her writing abilities with her innate curiosity towards the STEM fields through scientific research, focused in the health sciences. More specifically, with her fascination with the brain and its physiology, she is committed to tackling neurodegenerative disease research. Currently, she is undertaking a 400-hour Parkinson’s Disease Research project using a highly advanced gene-set enrichment data analysis technique that will allow her to identify specific genes associated with this global epidemic. This project’s findings provide critical insight into this relatively poorly understood disease’s genomics, paving the way for more specialized treatments and improved recognition of Parkinson’s Disease during gene sequencing. Other examples of such interdisciplinary ventures include her now-streaming podcast, STEMed: exploration beyond the surface, and her blog, Ingenious through which she demonstrates her writing abilities and traverses unique subject matter such as the gut-brain axis, mental health, greed as a phenomenon, the gender gap in STEM (i.e. the importance of diversity), engineering against climate change, etc.

Ananya’s current focus beyond the classroom, with her ventures, is to integrate the STEM fields with the universe of social justice; with the belief that their worldly pertinence extends far beyond bland logic. With this, Ananya intends to address reproductive injustice with the lens of science and the power of education. Her project, Youth 4R^3  (Reproductive Rights, Representation and Resources), intends to build conscientization of reproductive justice, its current limitations across the world, and provide related resources. In addition, by recognizing the root of reproductive injustice to lie within cultural stigmas and underlying gender disparities in different worldly forums, this project serves to advocate against these causes in real-world scenarios; such as fatal nature of current abortion laws in the US, the consequences of women’s political underrepresentation, the economic repercussions inflicted by such injustice, debunking the cultural stigma, among other issues across the world. 

Ananya intends to harness her passion for science into a career in medicine. Though being a medical professional is in itself dedication to a life of service, Ananya hopes to first approach her higher education and training with a social justice lens and then integrate those progressive values into her professional practice. As such, Ananya is eager to be an active participant in and contributor to her future university community and to challenge herself and expand her horizons both within and beyond the classroom. 

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