Meet the Team!
Aishani Aatresh is a junior at Saint Francis High School. In 2017, she and four other Lancers were lucky enough to each present at a TEDx conference at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, CA, which prompted them to found SF Talks a couple months after to recreate their incredible experience with their fellow Saint Francis students. She was thrilled with how well the inaugural SF Talks went in April 2018 and can’t wait to see what comes next through organizing and working with everyone involved with the event this year. Aishani loves doing anything outdoors or athletics-related (as dictated by her glass ankles), traveling, watching late-night comedy, hanging out with friends & family, and being involved on campus, from LancerHacks and chamber choir to executive rally board, Lancer Productions, and everything in between. She currently aspires to pursue a career at the intersection of genetics, immunology, and computer science, with an emphasis on the power of collaboration and communication and a sprinkle of public policy work.
Arianne Nguyen is a junior at Saint Francis High School. Since joining the founding board members of SF Talks in the summer of 2018, she has worked on editing talks and stage managing SF Talks' inaugural event. On campus, she can usually be found in policy debate practice, in the Mac Lab for newspaper brainstorming sessions and production weeks, or in the library, combining her passions for interdisciplinary studies and accessible knowledge. This year, she's excited to help a new generation of SF Talks speakers and attendees bring a variety of academic disciplines, student experiences, and thoughtful public speaking skills together into one event. She hopes eventually to combine her intersecting passions into a career in communications and policy.
Rithik Jain is a junior at Saint Francis High School. Last year, he helped organize the inaugural SF Talks event as a board member and spoke at the event, challenging common misconceptions about the homeless in the hopes of promoting an attitude of skepticism among the audience. This year, he is excited to help the event evolve and grow even more successful than last year. Rithik is incredibly passionate about computer science, dedicating hours on end to exploring various concepts and languages and crafting creative projects. Outside of school and programming, he loves playing squash, watching horror movies, and hanging out with friends.
Amanda Smith is senior at Saint Francis High School who spoke about dark energy at the inaugural SF Talks event in April 2018. She has been passionate about astronomy and astrophysics since middle school and enjoys bringing science to life through public speaking. Astonished by the incredible power and influence young people possess, she is excited to help organize the event this year and help provide a platform for Saint Francis students to speak about relevant and important issues. In her free time, she grinds and polishes her eight-inch reflector telescope mirror and is involved with the robotics and astronomy club on campus. She hopes to pursue a career in astrophysics or physics with a minor in economics or art history and continue to bridge diverse ideas together.
Navya Pariti is a junior at Saint Francis High School. She is a frequent watcher of TED talks and was more than thrilled for the opportunity to join the SF Talks board in the fall of 2017. She enjoys a variety of activities such as participating in school clubs, including the debate team, service club, and newspaper, volunteering with organizations such the animal shelter and the water district, watching movies, and spending time with friends and family. She is excited to work with speakers in expressing their passion on this platform and can’t wait to see the future success of SF Talks.
Kelly Lu is a sophomore at Saint Francis High School. Last year, she presented at the first SF Talks event with a talk about creativity and is beyond eager to help expand the event this year. Kelly has a passion for STEM and is involved in clubs such as Lancer Science Olympiad, Lancer Robotics, math team. Over the summer, she co-founded CollegeFit through a startup incubator alongside teammates stationed globally. She ran a tech-based entrepreneurship workshop at TeenHacks 2018, a civic hackathon, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience mentoring and connecting with high school students across the Silicon Valley. Furthur, Kelly enjoys immersing herself in the arts, as she has been drawing and playing piano nonstop for as long as she can remember, actively involving herself in events, performances, and competitions. In the future, she looks forward to expanding upon her love for technology, entrepreneurship, and the arts.
Tanshi Jain is a junior at Saint Francis High School. When she's not in class, you can often find her reading an Agatha Christie mystery novel or tutoring fifth graders at Bubb Elementary after school. However, her greatest passion is photography, and she actively pursues her love for design as a senior editor of the school yearbook. A naturally carefree and fun-loving person, Tanshi prides herself on her ability to take risks and never back down from a challenge, which is one of the reasons she feels so comfortable speaking in front of an audience. For the past three years, she has been actively participating in speech and debate, a perfect forum for her to fearlessly voice her opinions on issues relevant to her generation. Last year, she talked about the issue of instant gratification at the first annual SF Talks event, an issue close to her heart as she has witnessed countless teenagers (including herself) fall prey to the addictions of social media in an increasingly fast-paced and technology-driven world. Inspired to bring the potentially disastrous effects of this phenomenon to light, Tanshi hoped to uncover the reason why we all cannot help but take the shortcut to happiness.
Ekta Karkala is a junior at Saint Francis High School. Through her volunteer work as a music teacher for children with special needs, she was inspired to understand how she could break the negative labels surrounding developmentally disabled children and adults. Her initiative to encourage neurodiversity (a term which even autocorrect doesn't yet recognize) increased exponentially after she presented a talk at the inaugural SF Talks event detailing her paradigm-altering experiences with autistic children, which presented her with numerous opportunities in research and service. She now looks forward to helping club members explore their interests and make similar connections. Ekta's other passions include playing competitive golf, reading, cooking, and spending time with her family. She aims to one day apply her aptitude for knowledge and compassionate nature to a career in medicine and humanitarian efforts around the globe.
Eric Eng is a senior at Saint Francis High School. This is his first year participating in the SF Talks club and he is ecstatic to help the club grow. Outside of SF Talks, Eric participates in cross country and track, musical theater, and BRIC Brothers.
Annalisa Federighi is a junior at Saint Francis High School. Having experience in theater tech and being a slight TED fanatic, she worked on crew for the 2018 SF Talks event, the enjoyment of which inspired her to work on the board this year. She’s looking forward to diversifying the experiences at the event and hearing what her fellow Lancers have to say. Annalisa loves music, whether that’s listening, playing guitar or singing in the Saint Francis Chamber choir. She is also a compulsive debater, constantly traveling for tournaments and a captain of the Saint Francis Lincoln Douglas debate team. When she isn’t occupied with those or any number of other clubs and classes at Saint Francis, you’ll find her hanging out with friends and family, devouring the news, laying around, and eating too much sugar (not necessarily in that order). She’s not sure what’s coming after high school yet, but strives to make a positive impact as she figures it out and after.
Justin Shen is a junior at Saint Francis High School. Attending and supporting the event last year, he is incredibly excited to be a new addition working with a great team both on stage and behind the scenes. Justin enjoys a broad range of activities from choir ministry to hanging out with friends, but you will most likely find him at debate practice after school each day. He hopes to pursue a career in political science as he wants to use the oratory and research skills he has sharpened over the years to create meaningful impacts in the community.
Sejal Patel is a junior at Saint Francis High School. In addition to SF Talks, she is a member of varsity field hockey, Girls Who Code, and SF Family Club at school. She looks forward to marketing the event to a wide audience and growing the SF Talks community while working with speakers to bring out their voices this year.
Susan Feng is a sophomore at Saint Francis High School. Her passion for different causes in the world and her desire to give students a platform to speak their minds prompted her involvement in SF Talks. She looks forward to organizing the logistics as well as working with thoughtful students to help them share their stories. Susan loves to play golf, and is on the school varsity team. In addition she loves hiking, and has hiked at many national parks. Her love for nature and its beauty also ignited her strong passion for traveling. She loves to immerse herself into different cultures and hopes to one day visit every continent in the world.
Caroline Smith is a junior at Saint Francis High School. Along with being a member of SF Talks, she is also an editor for Saint Francis’ newspaper, The Lancer. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at the National Center for Equine Therapy as well as riding and showing her horse. She is looking forward to helping plan and organize the event this year and is sure it will be a big success!
Spencer Wood is a junior at Saint Francis High School. He plays lacrosse and is a part of executive rally board and the Fellowship of Saint Francis Athletes and a founding member of Lancer Productions and the Spikeball Club. Spencer enjoys working with kids as a coach for a variety of sports and loves to travel (when the opportunity presents itself in his copious time). He looks forward to expanding SF Talks’ horizons by growing its impact in the community as an actual member of the organizing team this year after helping behind-the-scenes unofficially last year.