Alumnae Spotlight is where you get to meet our wonderful Astra S.T.E.A.M. Alumnae. 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 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 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 Alumnae Spotlight, we would like to introduce you to our 2016 STEAMer -Pranati Dani!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:
My name is Pranati Dani and I am a proud member of Evergreen Middle School’s eight graders. I was born in New Jersey and soon after moved to India. When I was about to begin fourth grade, my parents decided to move back to Washington State. Due to being young for my grade, I was forced to repeat a grade. Starting from a young age I always enjoyed math and science therefore pushing me towards the STEAM fields. I have taken part in several math and science competitions, which I tremendously enjoy. Other than that, I love playing the piano, badminton, programming and art!
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE ASTRA STEAM PROGRAM?
My parents had found out about the Astra STEAM program through my school. I had read about it and could not believe that there were opportunities for us teen girls like this. I was sure that no matter how many things I miss, I had to attend the summit. When I submitted my form, I was not too sure about getting in. I believed that I didn’t have experience and thought that I could only get in by a slight chance. When I received the acceptance email, I was baking at my friend’s house and almost burnt the cookies due to my excitement!
WHICH YEAR DID YOU ATTEND THE ASTRA STEAM SUMMIT?
I attended the Astra STEAM summit in 2016. The experience I had was much better than I had ever imagined. Planning, building and presenting the app was something that I had always wanted to do. I enjoyed the speeches that we heard and meeting the entrepreneurs was a once in a life time chance. Most importantly, I met some great friends from my group like Daniella, Cecilia, Spring and Ayah!
WHAT WAS YOUR TEAM’S BUSINESS AND APP IDEA?
Our team built MyCityMap. This app would be sort of smart calendar for the user. The calendar would provide the user events, job openings and other opportunities that fit their likings and criteria. The app would be free and therefore our money would come from companies and event holders entering their event/opportunity into the app for viewers to see. At the end, this app would be shown similar as Instagram or Facebook, with a feed for the users to scroll down through to find everything they need to know about the community.
WHAT WAS YOUR BEST MEMORY FROM THE ASTRA STEAM SUMMIT?
My best memory from the summit was planning and presenting our app. While planning the app, each member of my team would pitch in so many ideas which made the experience fun and entertaining. We were all so eager to build the best app we could ever think of! While we worked our hardest in building the app, we also became great friends with each other. When it was time to present our app, we were all nervous that we would mess up and possibly go over time. But at the end, everyone simply became more confident in our selves and I know that whenever we get to present something like this again, none of us will ever get scared or nervous! This experience of Astra STEAM is something I wouldn’t trade in for anything!
My biggest takeaway from this program would be how to work as a group. I always was a person who enjoyed working alone on projects instead of working in a group. It was always easier for me to achieve the goal that way. After working together in my group, I realized that the other members are valuable and necessary in any project. Without other people to equally help and support you in an activity, you will never be as successful as you could have been.
DO YOU HAVE A ROLE MODEL?
My role model is my sister, Poornima Dani. She is 19 and attending her second year in college studying business. She had always advised me on everything from social to educational struggles. While I do not see her very often as she lives in Illinoi, I miss her every day! I strive to become as hardworking and sincere as she is today.
IF YOU HAVE ONE ADVICE FOR THE NEW STEAMERS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
My one advice for the new STEAMers would be to use this opportunity know what you enjoy the most. While working your hardest to create a user-friendly app, make sure that you have a lot of fun!
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