Youth Leadership Summit

Leading the Way:

2016 Youth Leadership Summit for Math & Science
Student Co-Chairs

Each year 3-4 students are selected to be Student Co-Chairs for the Youth Leadership Summit. These student leaders play a pivotal role in the structure & learning outcomes of the summit. Our Co-Chairs are responsible for synthesizing research from the Orange County Business Council on current and recent trends in Orange County demographics and business practices, and then conveying that information in a creative and unique way to over 200 of your student peers, summit volunteers, summit speakers, OC industry leaders, Project Tomorrow staff, and others.

2016 Student Co-Chairs

Haaris Hameed
As a senior at Arnold O. Beckman High School, Haaris has attended the Youth Leadership Summit for three years. Growing up, he was fortunate enough to try many new things. From soccer and basketball camps to playing the viola and coding with Legos, he has had many exciting experiences. Yet out of all of his many experiences, the areas that stood out to him were STEM. His experiences excelling in multiple STEM classes in middle school and having a lot of fun at STEM weekend programs led him to the decision that he would try to get as many STEM experiences as he could to make sure that he wanted to pursue a career in a STEM field. In the eleventh grade, his teacher informed him about the CubeSat program, and after Haaris learned more and more about it, he knew that developing a satellite would be the deciding experience for him as a future college student. Aside from the STEM field, Haaris has always had many hobbies and interests. Art, basketball, and philosophy are his most prominent hobbies outside of STEM. Haaris is also currently the treasurer of a charity club at his school.

Sona Karun
As a junior attending Tustin High School, Sona is actively involved in STEM activities as well as various clubs and extracurricular activities within her community. She is currently a 2nd degree junior black belt, an assistant karate instructor, an Indian classical dancer, and an avid cross country runner. Her passion for STEM began in junior high school when she won a scholarship to Tech Trek, a girls' science and math camp in at the University of California, Irvine, provided by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Currently, she is a part of Science Olympiad, Orange County’s Medical Explorers Program, and a STEM class in her school - Product Design & Engineering, in which she is working to obtain Solidworks Certification, a professional 3D modeling degree that can be used in the workforce. In addition to her involvement in the STEM field, Sona is part of Model United Nations where she has won several awards including Best Delegate and Outstanding Delegate. She has traveled internationally to a MUN conference in Prague and is planning on traveling to a conference in Netherlands this year. Furthermore, Sona is president of the Tustin High School Ted Ed Club in which she submitted a video called “The Power of Dance” to an international competition and is currently nominated to have her video put on the official Ted Ed website. She is also president of the SOW (Saving Orphans Worldwide) Club, a charity designed to raise money to provide education for orphans and the underprivileged in third world countries.

Dan Ma
As a senior at Westminster High School, Dan both effectuates and advocates opportunities in STEM. Dan has been involved with his school’s MERITS Magnet Program as the advisor for its auxiliary club, which introduces opportunities in STEM to the school's many students who come from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds. As a student from a low-income household himself, Dan has continually pushed to realize and make his own opportunities. As a freshman, Dan was involved with Senator Lou Correa’s Young Senators Program and was appointed to the Westminster City Council’s Youth Committee. As a sophomore, Dan attended his first Youth Leadership Summit, where he connected with a graduate student speaker of from UCI Prescher Lab named Joanna Laird. From that connection, Dan was able to reach out to Professor Jennifer Prescher and become a volunteer lab assistant for her lab. Last summer, Dan took part in the prestigious UCI Cancer Research Institute Youth Science Fellows Program where he helped develop mutant luciferase enzymes for use in bioluminescence imaging, which has the potential to help scientists better understand processes such as cancer metastasis. These days, Dan is working on his applications for college and plans to continue his involvement with science and government with the goal of eventually becoming a policymaker.