Our Speaker

Ashrita Gandhari

Ashrita Gandhari, a 17-year-old high school junior, has distinguished herself as a youth inspiration in both academics and social endeavors. A four-time Scripps National Spelling Bee finalist and top-seven national finisher, Ashrita first captured public attention when she was featured in the Netflix documentary “Spelling the Dream” at age 9. She received the distinction of New England’s 20 under 20 for her exceptional talents. Ashrita has transformed her passion for language into a career as a professional spelling and vocabulary coach.

Ashrita’s fascination with language seamlessly extended into the sciences, especially in women’s health. Inspired by her aunt’s battle with infertility, Ashrita has delved into extensive research in this field. Her research led to her becoming a national finalist at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) and winning two first-place titles at the Virginia state science fair. Her impactful contributions have also earned her the prestigious Washington Academy of Sciences Student Achievement Award and she is a two-time recipient of the Mark Licata Biotechnology Award from the Virginia Biotechnology Association.

Beyond academic pursuits, Ashrita is deeply committed to social impact. She founded ‘Sahaya,’ a non-profit organization dedicated to uplifting underprivileged girls in India and the USA by providing access to STEM educational resources. This initiative helps them overcome community barriers and fosters empowerment. Additionally, Ashrita volunteers at local literacy councils, helping non-English speaking immigrants develop English communication skills and literacy, which supports their personal development and societal integration. Her multifaceted achievements underscore her commitment to using her talents for meaningful change.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia. TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily; TED Translators, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established The Audacious Project that takes a collaborative approach to funding ideas with the potential to create change at thrilling scale; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self- organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at  http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/TED.