Senior Kartik Sawhney recognized by Queen Elizabeth
Senior KARTIK SAWHNEY was one of 60 people recently recognized by Queen Elizabeth II with the Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The award celebrates and honors young adults from commonwealth nations for their achievements and work in transforming lives in their communities. The award was presented at Buckingham Palace in June.
Sawhney works to increase universal access to education for blind students in India. He knows first hand the challenges the students face because he is blind himself. Sawhney excelled in math and science in school. However, in India, blind students are prevented from pursuing science after grade 10. He appealed the policy and became the first grade-11 blind student.
Sawhney tried to enter engineering colleges, but found that he faced similar difficulties. In 2013, he enrolled at Stanford and is now a senior studying computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence and human computer interaction.
He founded Project STEMAccess in India, which offers hands-on science workshops, virtual training sessions and mentoring to blind students. Sawhney also co-founded NextBillion.org , a portal that connects people with disabilities to mentors to achieve their professional goals. He has advocated for the rights of people with disabilities at various national and international forums and is working on ways to convert textbooks into accessible formats.