Now in her sixth year in the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute (SLI), Nithila plans on continuing to pursue her passion for computer science. During her time in SLI, she developed her interest in computer science by leading and mentoring software teams in FIRST robotics, working as the only high school intern at a robotics start up and connecting with professors in assistive robotic surgery. Upon auditing several college-level courses and delving into lab research, Nithila discovered her interest in robotic assistive technology and hopes to research increasing efficiency of exoskeletons and social robots for those with disabilities.
She also plays an active role as a friend, an advocate and a leader in the Santa Clara Special Needs community. Along with serving on the board of her school district’s initiative aimed at promoting inclusion and working closely with many Santa Clara Unified School District’s Special Education teachers, Nithila has connected and gotten to know every student in Santa Clara Special Education as a peer, picking up ASL to communicate with a few.
She is also passionate about providing others with access to STEM resources similar to those that made her fall in love with STEM learning in the first place. From starting a successful nonprofit that introduces STEM to those with special needs to teaching refugees about data science, Nithila has spent over 1000 hours giving back to different communities and spreading her knowledge in STEM. In her free time, she loves to watch stand up comedy and spend time with her family.