Alumni Spotlight – Swathi Narayan

Alumni Spotlight is where you get to meet our wonderful Astra S.T.E.A.M. Alumni. In the past three years, we were lucky to have influenced over 80 young girls who are aspired to become young entrepreneurs in the STEAM fields. Each year, these young girls would work in teams to come up with New Venture App ideas during a two-day Astra S.T.E.A.M. Summit. At the end of the Summit, they would pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges.

Through this experience, we want to encourage young girls to develop their interests in STEAM subjects as well as entrepreneurship, and to empower them to become the next generation of female scientists and women entrepreneurs.

In today’s Alumni Spotlight, we would like to introduce you to our 2016 STEAMer – Swathi Narayan!


Tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Swathi Narayan.  I am an eighth grader at Evergreen Middle School, in Redmond, WA.  I have attended multiple robotics programs and competitions.  I have also participated in a STEM Reach program, designed by Tesla STEM school students for girls in technology. I grasp ideas very quickly and absorb the abstract concepts in complex designs; I strive to be a good team player and have been consistently recognized as one, especially by my peers; and I love designing things using technology.  One of my biggest hobbies and passions is dance.  I have been learning Indian Classical dance for 8 years.  I also enjoy reading, watching football, photography, and spending time with friends and family.

How did you first hear about the Astra STEAM Program?

I first heard about the Astra STEAM Program through a newsletter sent from my school.  Every month, our principal sends out a newsletter to all the students’ parents.  When my mom was looking through the newsletter for October, she found a link to Astra STEAM.  She shared it with me, and when I first heard about Astra STEAM, my first response was “wow”.  I thought that it was super cool that a program like this was set up for girls to be involved in technology!  When applying, I did not expect to make it in.  I thought that I wouldn’t have a chance, since Astra was such a big program.  Nevertheless, I spent a lot of time writing my application, and I think that was what got me in.

Which year did you attend the Astra STEAM Summit?

I attended the Astra STEAM Summit in the November of 2016.  The Summit lasted for only two days, but those two days were two of the most memorable days in my life!  I learned a so much in that short time!  Before coming to the Summit, I wasn’t aware of the potential I had.  I didn’t know that I could step up and be a leader, and that my peers would follow me.  The Summit helped me grow internally and become much more confident in myself.  I absolutely loved attending the Summit, and I strongly encourage all girls to apply!

What was your team’s business and App idea? 

My team’s business and App idea was the SnapFoodie.  The SnapFoodie is an app that uses an API scanner to analyze the composition of food, and gives users a breakdown of the number of calories and the basic ingredients used in the meal.  All that users have to do, is take a picture of each meal, and they’re done.  Our app will analyze the picture, log in calories into a healthy lifestyle calendar, and give health tips.  We came up with our final idea and pitch with a lot of communication.  We started by setting a theme for our idea: we wanted it to be something that people used every day.  We began throwing out ideas, and the concept of analyzing food came up.  Originally, we wanted to target people that were facing poverty, but we realized that that wouldn’t be reasonable.  We then researched about healthy lifestyle and dieting programs, such as FitBit, Jawbone, and Weight Watchers.  Our team’s best tool was communication – we understood each other and worked together very well.

What was your best memory from the Astra STEAM Summit? 

My best memory from the Astra STEAM Summit was presenting our pitch.  During the presentation, I was able to stand up and talk about something that I loved.  The experience was one that I will never forget, since it was a new step in my life. I learned to present confidently, which has helped me numerous times already. Whether at a presentation at school or just a friendly chat with a friend, I have learned to talk confidently and be sure in what I am saying.  The other big takeaway that I got from attending the Astra STEAM Summit was learning how to communicate well.  I learned how to communicate with my mentors and teachers, which I use every day when talking to all the teachers in my life.  I also learned how to communicate in a team, as well as how to effectively lead a team.  This has helped me many times in teams and group projects that I do at school and in extracurricular activities.

What is your dream career? 

As of now, my dream career is to start a business that is involved in the technology field.  I am still figuring out what I want to do in the future, and trying out new things every day is what is helping me get towards my dream career.  

Do you have a role model?

I have two huge role models in my life, and lucky for me, they live with me!  My parents are the two people that I look up to the most in my world.  My dad is a role model to me because he’s always so poised and helpful.  He’s someone that I can always rely on to help me and understand what I feel, academically.  My mom is a role model to me because she’s so kind to everyone and always so sweet.  I can always talk to her like a friend.  Each and every day, I learn from my parents; whether it’s a better way to word something; looking at things with different perspective; or how I can maintain good relationships and practices, I can never fail to find inspiration and motivation from them.

If you have one advice for the new STEAMers, what would it be and why?

My only advice for the new STEAMers is to not be stressed or afraid, and to just be themselves.  When I first came to the Summit, I was scared and didn’t know what to expect.  However, everybody at the Summit was so friendly and kind, and I relaxed quickly.  My only advice is to just be yourself and have fun!