Growing up in India, rising sophomore Het Joshi saw firsthand the inequality in education for young women. One in five menstruating girls living in poverty in rural India drop out of school when they start their period, and Joshi made it her personal mission to focus on menstrual equity for girls in India without access to sanitary products.
At age 15, Joshi founded a non-profit, the Adira Foundation. Through collaborations, awareness campaigns, and camps, the Adira Foundation distributed over 107,500 sanitary products and conducted 75 camps throughout India. Her efforts assisted over 25,000 women, who were also educated about menstrual health and hygiene. Working extensively in remote villages, urban slums, rural areas, tribal areas, and orphanages, Joshi trained a team of 18 high school and college students to assist in her efforts.
In June, Joshi was one of 189 young people worldwide to receive the Diana Award, set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. Award recipients were selected for their impact in five key areas: Vision, Social Impact, Inspiring Others, Youth Leadership, and Service Journey. Recipients have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilize new generations to serve their communities and create long-lasting change on a global scale.
An economics major with a minor in theatre arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, Joshi serves as a Stony Brook #YouAreWelcomeHere Scholar. #YouAreWelcomeHere is a campaign designed to affirm that our institutions are diverse, friendly, safe and committed to student development. As a participating institution, Stony Brook offers a scholarship to international students who embrace the message of the campaign.
She also worked as a student assistant in the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. As part of her work in the Simons Center, Joshi proofread and edited lectures for the Simons Center director, Luis Álvarez-Gaumé. Álvarez-Gaumé plans to issue an extended version of the lectures as a book in which Joshi’s contributions will be acknowledged. Álvarez-Gaumé credits Joshi’s work for helping the team complete the editing process quickly and efficiently.
But it was her work in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions that was most transformative for Joshi. She credits Heather Davis, office assistant in Undergraduate Admissions, for helping support her personally and professionally, and treating her as a member of her family. “I don’t think I would have survived all the craziness of my first year if it wasn’t for Heather Davis. Everything was possible because of her,” said Joshi.
To incoming Stony Brook students, Joshi recommends that they get involved, whether in clubs or on-campus work and volunteer opportunities. Joshi joined the dance club and hopes to start her own club to work on issues related to women’s rights and equality.
— Beth Squire