Sophia Benavente-Sayani is a junior at High Tech High School and is from Secaucus. She’s currently in the Design and Fabrication Academy and is planning to major in computer science. Sophia is the founder and president of High Tech High School’s United Nations Girl Up chapter. She built a platform of over 75 members that inspires girls to be a force of gender equality and advocacy via engaging conversations and service projects. Sophia has published several STEM projects that have received accolades such as the Broadcom MASTERS Nomination, U.S. Navy and Marine Office of Naval Research Dept. of Defense Naval Science Award for STEM Excellence, two silver and bronze medals at the Hudson County STEM Showcase, and five gold medals at local competitions. Recently, Sophia was a guest speaker at the Intrepid Museum Virtual Youth Summit. She was also selected to be the Mid-Atlantic State’s Junior State of America’s Gubernatorial Cabinet’s Director of Activism. She’s also been selected as one of the 2021-2022 Engineer Girl Ambassadors, a program of the National Academy of Engineers. This summer, Sophia studied the Future of The Space Economy at Columbia University. Her non-profit Bright Tech Works provides more than 200 underrepresented children with STEM education, and she founded Secaucus’s Girls Who Code. She’s an active volunteer in People to People International, and Students in Action, of which she serves as the local Education Director and won the National Jefferson Award for Outstanding Leadership and Youth Service to the Community and the President’s Volunteer Service Award by AmeriCorps and Points of Light.