Introducing the incredible and inspiring 2018 AXA Achievers
The Waterford School
Area of Study: Chemistry
Inspired by her own life-changing experience of using a service dog to assist her in walking, in 2013, Tabitha founded the nonprofit “Pawsitive Pawsibilities” to purchase and train service dogs for disabled individuals who cannot afford them. Since the organization’s founding Tabitha has raised over $80,000 to purchase and train 8 dogs that have been placed with both children and adults afflicted with walking disability, veterans with PTSD, or individuals with health conditions such as epilepsy.
St. Louis, MO
Clayton High School
Area of Study: Chemistry
Recognizing that St. Louis has a large percentage of families struggling with both food insecurity and obesity, Sophie took the initiative to build, plant and harvest 33 organic sustainable vegetable gardens at low income daycares across the city. She also offers workshops on STEM and nutrition to children at the sites. Through her gardens she has donated 35,000 pounds of produce to food banks and recruited 752 at-risk teen volunteers to help plant. These gardens serve as the intersection where public health meets social action.
Methuen High School
Area of Study: Business
In 2007, Talia co-created Debbie's Treasure Chest, a nonprofit collecting and distributing clothing, toys, cosmetics and books for families in her community. She has impacted more than 3,000 families, and launched two satellite programs in grammar schools that are run by middle school students she has trained to distribute school supplies. In 2016, Talia received a $100,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation to continue the great work of Debbie’s Treasure Chest.
Ann Arbor, MI
Huron High School
Area of Study: Ecology/Biology
Megan created a YouTube channel titled Greenversal where she films and edits weekly environmental news reports to raise awareness about environmental issues taking place both in her local community and abroad. More than 200,000 viewers from over 100 countries have watched her reports. Megan’s channel has made an impact for youth and adults and her commitment to teaching others earned her the 2017 EPA U.S. President’s Environmental Youth Award.
Clear Brook High School
Area of Study: Engineering
Inspired by an adult mentor suffering from effects of polio, Syamantak created a leg brace with an electromechanical retrofit that detects and adapts to patients' walking by using an actuator to bend the knee. When tested on a polio patient, his device was able to restore healthy motion in a paralyzed leg. Not only does his invention cost considerably less than traditional braces, it is a device that can increase mobility, safety, and quality of life for many patients.
Essential Church School
Area of Study: Welding
As a young boy, Grayson loved the outdoors and participating in Boy Scout activities, but was challenged trying to manually move his wheelchair in wooded and beach areas. This led Grayson to create the nonprofit Outdoor Ability Foundation which provides adaptive equipment for disabled kids and young adults to help them safely enjoy the outdoors in wheelchairs that maneuver rough land effectively. In just a few years he has provided 7 all-terrain power wheelchairs in 4 states valued at over $84,000 assisting disabled individuals to enjoy the outdoors safely.
New York, NY
Area of Study: Public Service/Social Impact
As Founder & CEO of Vision For and From Children, Lillian is humbled that over 27,000 children have received the gift of sight through the nonprofit’s dedicated efforts to provide eye surgeries and vision services to children who do not have access to sufficient medical care. Additionally, her nonprofit launched a nationwide 50 state mobile clinic program-delivering free eye exams and eyeglasses to children in underserved communities throughout the U.S. More than 3 million lives have been impacted both in the U.S. and around the world.
Longmont High School
Area of Study: Computer Engineering
The high prostate cancer rate among African-American men is often attributed to: (1) the lack of inclusion of black male subjects in relevant research studies; (2) the low number of specific Rare Cancer Biomarkers (RCBs) that correlate with prostate cancer tumors; and (3) inaccurate disease-predicting models. Recognizing these key factors, Brandon developed a Deep Machine Learning (DML) algorithm that increased RCB identification accuracy by 30% over conventional models and renews the hope of a cure. Through his research Brandon hopes to meet preventive health care needs of traditionally vulnerable populations.
Area of Study: Bioengineering
Teagan is the Founder and CEO of Shred Kids' Cancer, a nonprofit organization that allows kids the chance to show their peers battling cancer that they are no alone in their cancer fight. Through the power of music thousands of kids have participated in over 25 Shred Kids' Cancer events and helped raise $475,000 to fund 9 clinical trials for pediatric cancer research. Two years ago, through a research internship, Teagan identified a new way to deliver drugs to treat cancer without harming healthy cells and has been developing this procedure with a mentor at UConn Institute of Regenerative Engineering.
Area of Study: International Studies
Dan founded a financial literacy education club, Penny Wise Club to educate students from multiple high schools in his community on financial literacy techniques and key concepts such as how to trade stocks. His passion to educate has touch more than 1,000 students – many of which participated in 2 stock trading competitions. His efforts have been recognized by California State Treasurer, John Chiang who has participated in his school events and supported this important skill for youth. Additionally, Dan was rewarded with a trip to the White House to meet President Obama.
AXA Achievement changes lives. But don’t take our word for it. Hear first-hand what our winners have to say. AXA US Chairman and CEO Mark Pearson speaks to an AXA Achiever.
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