SHRUB OAK, N.Y. – Lakeland High School senior Jothi Ramaswamy grew up in Mohegan Lake and has an older brother, Akshay, who graduated Lakeland in 2015.
Her biggest interests include running her 501(c)(3) non-profit, ThinkSTEAM, which aims to bridge the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by teaching girls how they can integrate their creativity, as in STEM + Arts = STEAM.
Through ThinkSTEAM, she has partnered with several companies like IBM, Facebook, Google and Amazon to conduct 45 hands-on technology workshops for about 1,000 K-12 girls in different ThinkSTEAM chapters across the nation.
Due to ThinkSTEAM’s success, Ramaswamy recently flew to Charlotte, N.C., as a national winner of National Center for Women & Information Technology’s Aspirations in Computing award. She also enjoys developing iOS apps for the Apple App Store and has received a full scholarship to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2017 and 2018 in California.
At WWDC17, Ramaswamy was one of 10 scholars selected to meet Michelle Obama and was in a Women in Tech panel at the Women@WWDC breakfast.
For WWDC18, Ramaswamy had the opportunity to interview Karlie Kloss for TeenVogue, do a Snapchat Takeover at WWDC18 on TeenVogue’s account, talk with Apple CEO Tim Cook about her STEM projects, and do a podcast with tech YouTuber Sara Dietschy.
Through Lakeland High School’s Science Research Program, she has conducted biocomputation research at IBM and Columbia University that led her to being honored this year as one of 300 scholars for Regeneron’s Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition.
Additionally, she has been a part of Lakeland’s debate team and Girls Inc.’s Girls Leadership Council since her freshman year and had the opportunity to interview Erica Hill, a CNN News anchor who covered the scene of 9/11 live, for Girls Inc.
Ramaswamy has also been named Lakeland High School’s Class of 2019 Valedictorian, a 2019 National Merit Semifinalist, a 2018 SWENext Global Innovator, a 2018 Global Teen Leader, a 2017 HERlead Fellow, a 2017 SHE++ Fellow and a 2017 Distinguished Finalist of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.
What is your favorite subject in school and why?
Definitely math because I really like how there is always a clear-cut answer. No matter how I solve a problem, I know that I can still end up at the right answer, which I really like.
Who inspires you the most and why?
My mom is definitely my greatest inspiration. She is always there to motivate me, no matter what I am doing. And being a software engineer, she is definitely my role model, embodying what I want to do when I grow up. For sure, my mom is my biggest cheerleader.
What is a typical week for you at Lakeland High School?
After school, I usually spend about 1-2 hours every day working on my nonprofit ThinkSTEAM, whether it’s planning workshops to teach girls about coding and STEAM or reaching out to different potential partners through LinkedIn to hold workshops. I also spend some time researching different current events as a part of Lakeland’s debate team, through which I have traveled to tournaments around the country to compete.
In addition to getting my homework done and hanging out with friends, I like to spend time everyday coding iOS apps to release in the app store or watching YouTube tutorials on new coding concepts. My favorite app that I have released to the App Store is called Still Okay. It helps people keep track of their anxiety attacks over the course of one year. I also am a part of Columbia’s Science Honors Program, which allows me to take semester classes at Columbia University every week. Through this program, I have taken classes like stem-cell biology and its applications, data analysis with neuroscience, graph theory and electrical engineering, where I wired up laser pointers and radios. I also work part-time for Alma, a “College LinkedIn” startup launched by my brother, Akshay, in Silicon Valley.
What do you enjoy most about the Lakeland schools and community?
I love how everyone, including all the teachers and administration, is so supportive of what I want to do. Last year, Lakeland even helped me organize ThinkSTEAM’s all-day STEAM-A-THON at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School, where 75 girls from around the tri-state area got to learn about STEAM through activities like coding games and creating their own sodas!
What is your most memorable high school experience?
Sophomore year, I got to meet Michelle Obama at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which I attended in California as one of 350 scholars named by Apple.
What are your plans after you graduate from Lakeland?
In college, I hope to major in computer science and learn more about how I can use artificial intelligence in fields like medicine. I would eventually like to work at a tech company, and I aspire to create my own startup one day that uses technology to solve the problems around me.
What are some of your favorite hobbies/extracurricular activities?
My favorite activity is definitely ThinkSTEAM, which I have worked on since freshman year. Being a woman in STEM, the gender gap is definitely something I care about and I hope that I can teach and encourage the girls around me to learn about coding and STEM. Plus, I love coding and creating apps and have been coding since I was in sixth grade. App development gives me an outlet to design whatever I want and turn it into something—an app—that everyone can easily download and use on their phones. I also have been a part of Lakeland’s debate team for the past four years, and it has been incredible traveling to different tournaments across the country where I get to learn a lot about current events and meet new people.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Yorktown?
Salsa Fresca, for sure.
Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.
I love to try new food wherever I go, whether it is a new country or even New York City. Some of my favorite foods to get in the city include bubble tea and bingsu (Korean shaved ice) in Koreatown.
Is there a place you’d most like to visit?
I have never been to Europe, so I would love to visit Rome in Italy or the Eiffel Tower in France.
Who are some of your favorite musicians?
Drake, Travis Scott, Halsey and Panic! at the Disco
What is your favorite show to binge?
“Friends”! I’ve watched the entire series multiple times.
What is the go-to app on your phone?
I love listening to music, so probably Spotify. I actually share an account with my brother, so Spotify allows me to mess with him by switching the songs he’s streaming :)
Student Spotlight was launched in collaboration with Yorktown and Lakeland schools to highlight students who excel in the classroom or on the stage, are leaders in the school community or have a passion for community service. Do you know a teen who qualifies? Email email@example.com for consideration.