It’s not often one finds an inspiring story of resilience and character like the story of 16 year old Edison NJ native, Shivam Syal. Edison residents at communities at Edison Woods, Edison Woods Senior 55+, Edison Village, Blueberry Village, & Rivendell Heights can now celebrate one of their own native sons.

Shivam, a junior at the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies in Edison, created the non-profit 501c3 organization STEMninjas in order to facilitate one-on-one remote tutoring.

Shivam felt his strong background in the STEM disciplines could be put to use to help other students. “I personally felt that the one-on-one attention you get in the classroom is something you can’t get anywhere else,” he said.

Drafting classmates, friends, mom, dad, principal & school staff, Shivam launched STEMninjas, a tutoring program that now has chapters in three states, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and Ethiopia. With 80 volunteer tutors found on social media, the organization is offering one-on-one online sessions to more than 300 K-12 students, delivering more than 1,000 hours of academic assistance since May.

Shivam has begun his college search with virtual campus visits. He hopes he can pass the STEMninjas torch to a younger Edison Academy student once he leaves for college. Shivam is a competitive programmer who has won multiple “hackathon” events. He has presented research projects in such subjects as artificial intelligence and neurotechnology at Rutgers University. He is an avid public speaker and debater, competing at the Harvard National Speech and Debate Tournament the past two years.

I’m so inspired by people like Shivam and his team whose ingenuity is being put to use at the most vital level at the most uncertain of times. “I was always told to make a difference,” he said. “I felt that this would be a great way to help my community and respond to the rapid changes that students and their families have made to accommodate virtual learning.”

Thank you, Shivam – you have made a difference and you inspire so many!

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