Interview with Archika Dogra
Archika Dogra is a Computer Science student at Princeton University. She is founder and advisor of Innoverge, a non-profit that is providing greater opportunities in STEM education for the traditionally underserved and underrepresented.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself (your background, your hometown, your school)?
Of course! My name is Archika, I am originally from the Greater Seattle Area and I currently am a sophomore studying computer science at Princeton, with interests in technology, education, public policy, and social impact.
How did you gain an interest in STEM? What were your first experiences with CS?
I was not always STEM-leaning growing up, at first thinking that I was more interested in the social sciences and often shying away from STEM as a subject. My first positive experience in CS, however, was attending Stanford AI4ALL in 2017 under the leadership of Professor Fei-Fei Li and Olga Russakovsky. At AI4ALL, I had the opportunity to explore machine learning intersected with social good in very tangible ways, meet a community of dedicated and brilliant woman, and grow under the mentorship of phenomenal faculty and researchers.
Can you briefly share a few projects which your organization Innoverge has worked on?
Innoverge has impacted 8,000+ students from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds across 14 countries and 56 regions and counting. We’ve spent the past 5 years running various initiatives in-person and virtually, primarily built around our STEMxHumanities model. At Innoverge, we combine the STEM fields with empathy, storytelling, leadership, ethics and humanity by intentionally emphasizing the crossroads of STEM education with the humanities and social sciences. For example, our programming and workshops range from CSxPolitics to NeurosciencexEthics.
The crux of our programming is establishing long-term workshop programming in partnership with community centers, schools, and libraries catering to students from underserved backgrounds. We’ve run over 300+ workshops, events, and camps completely for free for these students.
However, we’ve being running a diverse multitude of programming outside of our in-person community education as well. During the pandemic and virtual learning, we shipped free STEM kits to families across the United States for multiple iterations of a 3-week Remote Learning program.
We also launched an online incubator mentorship program where high school students across the country mentor younger students to pitch an interdisciplinary STEM project for social good.
In addition, we currently run a fireside chat series with speakers building and innovating for good, a newsletter for high school opportunities sent out every month, and collaborate with other organizations to run virtual STEMxHumanities events.
What advice would you give to female students concerned about the gender disparities in STEM?
Find a strong community of women! There are many women out there who are actively working to support and uplift each other, and I’ve found some of my best resources and opportunities through these communities.
What are your interests, other than STEM?
Other than STEM, I’m very interested in community education and social impact, especially from a nonprofit and policy perspective. I also am the Co-President of Entrepreneurship Club on campus, a Campus Tour Guide, and a member of Princeton South Asian Theatrics. When I’m at home, I love to go on adventures with friends, play with my dog, and listen and read to true crime podcasts and stories.