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Riya is a rising senior in high school and is an advocate for legislative and community-based change to further gender equality. She created the 501 c3 nonprofit, Light a Lamp, through which she has brought STEM-based education to rural Indian villages, targeting young girls who were being left out. She is passionate about menstrual equity, having testified for HB757/SB0427 to ensure that public middle and high schools provide free menstrual hygiene products in school restrooms. As a wrestler, she has worked to fight sexual harassment in coed sports through local advocacy. She is a council member on the US Center for SafeSport’s Youth Advisory Board and testified in Congress for the Title IX hearings, organized by the Office of Civil Rights. Riya is also a part of Maryland’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, where she runs the Girls/Women in Sports task force and helped organize the 2021 state conference on the intersectionality of reproductive rights.

Aside from activism, Riya loves biology and has performed research into olfactory treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. In the future, she hopes to combine her interests in biology with her passion for advocacy. In this internship, she is excited to work towards expanding resources provided to pregnant/ parenting teens and improving the quality of health education in public schools.

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