PROUD SPONSORS OF THE 18 UNDER 18 JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Meet the 2021 18 Under 18 Recipients

The 2021 Junior Achievement of Arizona 18 Under 18 all have something in common: this impressive group of teen leaders has shown how to adapt, focus and stay dedicated to a life of purpose. They are selfless and committed to using their knowledge and prowess to better their community and the world. They’ve gone virtual, started charities, developed websites, raised money, sewn masks, lobbied the legislature, stood up for human rights and started small businesses.

Arizona’s students have missed milestones like homecomings and graduations while also postponing campus visits, internships and summer jobs. But Arizona’s kids are resilient and creative, and this year’s Junior Achievement 18 Under 18 prove that time and again.

These young people recognize the difference an individual can make, especially in the hard times. 

Read on to learn their stories of determination, ingenuity and creativity. 


Nominations for the 2022 Awards will open in November

Entrepreneurial Spirit  |  Leadership  |  Making the Community Better | Extraordinary Skillset

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Ximena Camacho
Vail,
University of Arizona

Buoyed by her aptitude for computer science, Ximena Camacho has discovered that computer science can also have a positive effect on social justice issues. Her work in website development helps to not just connect but also educate... 

Arin  Khanna
Scottsdale,
Chaparral High School


A single conversation changed Arin Khanna’s life. Now, he works to install sustainable drinking water service in villages in India... 

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Arin Khanna
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Aryan Mathur
Gilbert,
Chandler High School

If the prospect of folding a load of laundry kicks your personality into avoidance mode, Aryan Mathur has developed a solution for you: The FoldTron, his AI-assisted invention, will do the folding for you and send a text message once the chore’s done... 

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Viraj Mehta 
Scottsdale,
BASIS Scottsdale

Inspired to fight glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, Viraj Mehta has developed a platform to analyze MRIs, assess a patient’s genetic makeup and recommend treatment plans... 

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Audrey Wood  
Chandler,
Seton Catholic Preparatory High School

Armed with a laptop and a ton of creativity, Audrey Wood has found her knack for moviemaking can benefit nonprofits across the Valley. By donating her time and skill, she’s helping groups get their message out and attract new members... 

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T. J. Borowski
Phoenix,
Canyon Springs STEM Academy

T.J. Borowski realized one of life’s most important lessons at an early age: A simple act of gratitude can change someone’s life... 

ARIZONA'S 18 UNDER 18 AWARDS PROGRAM IS PRESENTED BY JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT OF ARIZONA AND REPUBLIC MEDIA 

For nearly 65 years, Junior Achievement of Arizona (JA) has been preparing millions of Arizona students to succeed in work and life. We’re empowering their futures by giving them the knowledge and skills they need to manage their money, make smart academic, career and economic choices. At the foundation of all our programs is teaching students the ability to think critically. Despite massive disruptions in education and life during the pandemic, JA has continued to reach more than 60,000 students in the 20-21 school year, meeting them wherever and however they are learning today. Junior Achievement is giving these students the tools and confidence to break poverty cycles and achieve new heights. Check out JA’s free online resources for students, K-12.

Republic Media is Arizona’s largest media company and part of The USA TODAY NETWORK. Home to azcentral and The Arizona Republic, the company helps the community connect, understand, act and thrive by keeping people informed and giving back. From raising funds that help at-risk children and families, to sponsoring local events and so much more, Republic Media identifies problems, supports solutions and fulfills its mission to enlighten, education and empower.

Alyssa Diaz

Ashley Nevison

Catherine Ross

Chloe Lyons

Diego Marquez

Diya Nath

Eden Sapien

Grace Brinker

Hurshneet Chadha

Kessa Hancock

Kevin Crispin

Madison Koetz



Michaela Melara

Neeley Dopp

Nicole Spencer-Walters

Sahitha Vuddagiri

Sam Bregman

Shaun Karakkattu

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FINALISTS

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Riti Singh
Peoria,
BASIS Peoria

Riti Singh has found her voice, and she’s using it to advocate for teens who have suffered dating violence and abuse. Through her efforts with bloom365 and Teen Lifeline, she’s helping make sure teens know they have an ally... 

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Ayden Schure
Phoenix
ASU Prep Digital,

It’s often said that creativity can be born of adversity. Ayden Schure took her food sensitivity issue and developed an absolutely delicious way to give back... 

Steven Ugol
Scottsdale,
University of Arizona

A trailblazer for the autism community in Arizona, Steven Ugol now looks to the future as an entrepreneur and student at the University of Arizona... 

Clara Moffitt
Tempe,
Tempe Preparatory Academy

When Clara Moffitt began volunteering with Girl Up, she didn’t realize she’d found her life’s purpose. Now a vocal advocate for girls’ and women’s rights, Moffitt is poised for a career focused on positive change... 

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Reva Chaudhry
Phoenix,
BASIS Ahwatukee

Even at age 15, Reva Chaudhry has developed a knack for marketing. She’s run a T-shirt company with her sister, built a blog dedicated to a hobby and runs a charity to provide healthcare essentials to impoverished people in India... 

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Ella Hamer
Scottsdale,
BASIS Scottsdale

When some of the most-anticipated moments of Ella Hamer’s internship had to be canceled during COVID, she found a creative solution. Now, she has a YouTube series to show for it... 

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Mostafa Afr
Phoenix,
BASIS Phoenix

Imagine fleeing your home country and moving to a new land of opportunity where you didn’t know anyone, didn’t speak the language and had to start life over from scratch. Mostafa Afr works to make sure refugees have a way to bridge the communication gap... 

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Josephine Taylor
Tucson,
Canyon Del Oro

Josephine Taylor is living proof that one person can make a huge impact. She lobbied the Arizona state legislature on behalf of students with celiac disease, and made masks by the thousands to help raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network... 

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Katelyn Cai
Scottsdale,
BASIS Scottsdale

While the pandemic slowed most, if not all, activities in 2020, Katelyn Cai didn’t slow down. If anything, Cai used it as motivation. She put her nonprofit, Invest in Her, into action to help needy kids... 

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Joshua Fink
Scottsdale,
Chaparral High School
 
Joshua Fink believes age shouldn’t be a barrier to financial literacy. That’s why he started FLIP, the Financial Literacy Instruction Project. Through his classes and curriculum, Fink sees the potential to use FLIP to educate an estimated population of 15 million American teens... 

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Loralei Cook
Chandler,
Arizona Connections Academy

Loralei Cook has taken a personal interest in social justice advocacy and turned it into a growing organization. Queer On Campus works to give LGBTQ+ students safe and supportive learning environments... 

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Bhavya Makkar
Scotssdale,
BASIS Scottsdale

When Bhavya Makkar realized how fortunate she was to receive such an excellent education, she decided to give back. The nonprofit she created, A Dream and a Pencil, helps needy Valley schools with grants of supplies or funds. She also is a leading advocate for mental health awareness...

Karen Fletcher  |  Katherine Cecala | Karen Quick 

Karen Fletcher  |  Katherine Cecala | Karen Quick

Nomination Form

Free Online Awards Event – May 15 at 4 p.m.

REGISTER

For questions or more information contact 18Under18@jaaz.org   or phone 480.377.8500.

azcentral and The Arizona Republic
Junior Achievement

Katherine Cecala

Al & Char Augenstein

Terry & Darren Hurst

Alban & Grayce Schuele

Chuck Warshaver

Meenakshi Pruthi Makkar