Inclusive Stem (I-Stem) is a group of young persons who are blind or visually impaired from India pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. Inspired by the challenges that many of us faced as STEM students in India, our goal is to make math and science education more accessible and inclusive in the country. We do this through hands-on activities such as technical training, hackathons, advocacy and outreach initiatives, technical R&D and a strong community.
Our vision is a society where people with disabilities are no longer consumers of technology, but actively contribute to its advancement.
Meet Our Team
The core I-Stem team consists of nine members with a mix of backgrounds, including current engineering students, alumni working in the tech industry and professionals working in disability and inclusion space for a long time. We study at institutions including Indian Institute of Technology, national Institute of Technology and international universities such as Stanford University and University of Washington, besides working at companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Uber.
Abhisar Waghmare is currently pursuing Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering at National Institute of Technology, Surat. Despite being late blind, Abhisar, through the support from his family, teachers/mentors and colleagues has been quick to learn assistive technology and is now determined to serve the world in every way possible. He is highly passionate about the Universe(COSMOS) and the Technology and wants to expand his passion all over so as to lead and enable each and every person to grow in life thus allowing inclusion to flourish everywhere. This summer, from May to July 2018, Abhisar contributed as a Research Intern for the Wi-Fi/Indoor Positioning System,Data Wrangling project(using WiFi fingerprinting method), at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.
Akashdeep Bansal is currently pursuing PhD in computer science from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, focusing on reading accessibility for the visually impaired with the objective of making STEM eBooks accessible for the visually impaired. Prior to this, he completed M.Tech in Optoelectronics and Optical Communication from IIT Delhi and B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Lucknow. He is passionate about research that has social impact.
Kartik Sawhney is a software engineer at Microsoft on the Cortana team. He graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science, focusing on artificial intelligence and human computer interaction. His interests lie in the intersection of technology and business, and he enjoys machine learning, natural language processing, data mining, universal design, accessibility and assistive technologies. His past experience includes internships at IBM Research, Microsoft and Uber, as well as research experience with Stanford HCI group.
Kartik is passionate about using technology to bring about positive change, and has worked on several projects and initiatives over the years to empower people with disabilities. He is one of the first blind students in India to pursue math and science in the 11th grade, and worked with the CBSE and IITs to make their exams more accessible for the blind. In 2016, he also co-founded an award-winning social venture NextBillion.org, a mentorship program for students with disabilities interested in tech, which has completed over 100 mentorships across 10 countries so far.
Neha Trivedi is currently the only woman, non-vi member of the I Stem Core team. She feels strongly about diversity and problem solving! A psychology graduate (St. Xavier's College, Mumbai) with masters in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Science, Neha has over a decade of experience in the disability sector. Her primary engagement has been with the Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (xrcvc.org) where she has worked on projects relating to changing legal frameworks in the country, facilitating inclusion programs in various organisations, conducting awareness events, R&D on accessibility solutions, inclusive school and higher education and guidance and support services for individuals with disabilities and their families.
Neha feels passionate about travelling, religion & spirituality and the need for humans to be able to celebrate differences without being threatened by them! She strongly believes in the power of simple logic and humanness to bring about change that benefits all.
Paras Jain is currently in the final year of his B.E in information technology at Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT). His experience includes internship at organizations such as Ernst & Young (EY) and Adobe. He is extremely passionate about technology and has been involved in social advocacy for the visually impaired for a long time now. His areas of interest include accessibility, software asset management, among others.
Rishabh jain is currently a third year student studying Applied Mathematics at Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. He is a data science enthusiast and has worked on several research projects in the area of machine learning and computer vision. He will be working at Microsoft as a summer intern this summer.
Shakul Raj Sonker
Shakul Raj Sonker is a third year undergraduate student of Mathematics and Computer Science at Ashoka University. Prior to this, he completed his high school from DPS R.K.Puram. His areas of interest include data science, data analytics, abstract algebra, combinatorics and graph theory. His experience includes internships at DRONAH Foundation and TARALife Sustainability Solutions pvt. ltd.
Shakul believes that everyone should have access to a quality education irrespective of their disability, and thinks that technology is a great leveller. The goal of his life is to help make this world a better place to live with equal treatment and opportunity for everyone.
Sunil Choudhary is currently working at Morgan Stanley. He has keen interest in finance, machine learning, computer networking and building new technological solutions for making things accessible. Before this, he completed B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Jodhpur. Sunil enjoys listening to music, learning keyboard and watching comedy movies.
Venkatesh Potluri is a first year Ph.D student at the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering at University of Washington. His broad research goals are to upgrade accessibility to the ever-changing ways of our interactions with technology, and, improve the independence and quality of life of people with disabilities. These goals stem from his personal experience as a visually impaired researcher. His current focus is to enable developers with visual impairments to perform a variety of programming tasks.
Previously, he was a Research Fellow at Microsoft Research India, where his team was responsible for building CodeTalk, an accessibility framework and a plugin for better IDE accessibility. You can find more information about him here.