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Future of Sustainability,
Youth Advocate

They say that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life. Meet Gayathri Mungi, a passionate advocate for the sustainable development of her community. From leading a county-wide association for South Asia American students to researching and solving pressing challenges, Gayathri is dedicated to making a lasting and sustainable impact. Her unwavering passion drives her mission of empowering others and fostering positive change.

In 2022, Gayathri was chosen as 1 of 13 students from the US and Canada for a service trip in rural India. Witnessing the profound impact of 15 volunteers’ sustainable efforts of thousands of villagers, she was moved. Notably, they established women empowerment groups called Mahila Mandals in each village, recognizing the mother’s central role in the family. Through these self-sustaining organizations, families were taught various crafts for additional income, informed about government aid, and empowered to advocate for local change. This small chapter of a global organization uplifted thousands from persistent poverty by sharing knowledge. Inspired by her experience, Gayathri now values sustainable development and is committed to embodying these principles in her future endeavors, continuing her community service in India and the US.

Gayathri is a Troy Tech and IB first decile student at one of the best public high schools in the US. She has achieved remarkable academic success, earning awards from the California Scholarship Federation and being part of the Science National Honors Society for three years. Moreover, she has completed courses at prestigious institutions like Columbia University and Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Currently, she is actively involved in geospatial research on organ transplant disparities, focusing on rural California residents and using ArcGIS to create a story map detailing her research on Esri. Outside of her academic pursuits, Gayathri is a leader in various clubs, such as the Orange County South Asian Student Association and Operation Smile, where she helps fundraise for cleft palate surgeries. In her free time, she indulges in her passion for baking and developing recipes for her website, especially those involving chocolate. Additionally, she practices yoga to connect with her cultural roots and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

In the future, Gayathri aspires to attend Stanford University and collaborate with the Doerr School of Sustainability on their diverse interdisciplinary projects. She is particularly interested in contributing to geospatially-informed research and co-creating innovative solutions for the pressing challenges our society faces today. One of her goals is to participate in the Wrigley Field Program in Hawaii to deepen her understanding on interdisciplinary research and impact on those in need. 

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