Ishita Kopparapu '24 wins the ThinkBIG! Business Challenge

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Ishita Kopparapu '24 wins the ThinkBIG! Business Challenge

Business and Finance fellow and HB Junior Ishita Kopparapu won first place in the ThinkBIG! Business Challenge sponsored by The Veale Foundation for the presentation of her business venture stEMPOWERher.

The ThinkBIG! Business Challenge consists of three rounds of judging and a monetary prize. In the first round of the competition participants submit an Executive Summary exploring ideas for business ventures. As a Semifinalist Ishita was invited to attend an executive coaching day and received guidance from entrepreneurial professionals in the Cleveland business community. After advancing to the third and final round Ishita presented in front of a live audience and a panel of judges. 

stEMPOWERher is a free STEM workshop for middle school girls that models the concept of a professional poster session. Participants follow a five day program that exposes them to STEM in a meaningful and experiential way.

Ishita was inspired to create stEMPOWERher because of her own experiences with the gender gap in STEM. As a fellow in the Science Research and Engineering Fellowship, Ishita worked in a lab doing graduate-level research where she was only one of two girls. She connected the gender gap in STEM to lack of exposure for young girls. To Ishita the solution was clear: create a summer camp to introduce young girls to STEM in a fun and impactful way.

In the Summer of 2022 stEMPOWERher partnered with Aspire to host a panel featuring women of color in STEM with the goal of bringing more women, of all ethnicities and backgrounds into the STEM field. With help from the stEMPOWERher executive team –HB students, Nysha Gupta ‘24, Abby Gemechu ‘24, and Kate Klein ‘24– Ishita is currently focusing on developing a three day program along with a virtual program and has goals to grow nationwide.

Visit stEMPOWER's website to learn more.

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