Board of Directors

Kevin Q. Cao, Co-Founder

Kevin Cao is a Global Development Studies major at the University of Virginia, where he is a Jefferson Scholar, Echols Scholar, and Meriwether Lewis Fellow. His passion for social entrepreneurship stems from mentoring underprivileged elementary school students during his time at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. These experiences inspired him to found Growth and Inspiration through Volunteering and Education (GIVE), the largest student-led mentorship program in the Washington, D.C. area. GIVE’s free tutoring program operates at nineteen locations across the Northern Virginia region and involves over one thousand volunteers, students, parents, and administrators.

At the University of Virginia, Kevin is pursuing an education in entrepreneurship. He and his team were named finalists in the New Orleans Future of Schools competition hosted by 4.0 Schools, New Schools for New Orleans, and Khan Academy. Kevin is conducting independent research in Nicaragua this summer, sponsored by Engineering Students Without Borders, Jefferson Public Citizens, and the Center for Global Health. He and his research team were invited to attend the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative University along with top student leaders from around the country. Outside of academics, Kevin serves as the president of the Asian Student Union, volunteers as a University Guide, and leads a small group in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship

Kartik Gupta, Co-Founder

Kartik Gupta is currently a finance and mathematics major at the University of Virginia and co-founded GIVE during his time at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. At TJHSST, Kartik was active in community service and leadership roles and saw GIVE as a chance to expand upon his previous work while building a lasting impact on the community. Kartik has helped shape the path of GIVE and has worked to build the diversity of GIVE’s programs as well as expand the tutoring program. Upon seeing the waste of prep books after testing season ended, Kartik started an AP/SAT book drive to collect unwanted prep books and donate them to high school students in DC who may not be able to afford the materials that they need to succeed. He also created the RecQuest Summer Initiative by sending a proposal to Fairfax County and working in conjunction with their 8 summer centers to provide STEM activities to 400 FCPS students.

Kartik continues his involvement with volunteering and entrepreneurship at UVA through the Boys and Girls Club and a mobile drink-ordering startup he co-founded with another TJHSST alum. He is also actively involved in an investment fund and helps run an incubator on campus.

Samyu Jothishankar

Samyu Jothishankar is a TJHSST alumni. Samyu is a member of the Board of Directors and her work for GIVE mainly consists of taking care of the administrative aspects of the organization such as organizing drives, writing grants, and running tutoring centers. Samyu was in charge of the Southgate Tutoring Center during the 2011-2012 school year and worked to increase attendance and increase awareness of the center in the Herndon and Reston areas. Samyu enjoys volunteering and participating in service projects in her free time. She works for three other non-profit organizations in addition to GIVE. She plays administrative roles in these organizations and is also responsible for leading and coordinating fundraising events. Samyu also tutors and volunteers at hospitals, the Lion’s Club, and soup kitchens all over the county and in DC. In her free time, she enjoys reading, singing, and playing the piano and trombone. Samyu’s interest in social work and the sciences has lead her to look towards careers and activities concerning health care and public policy and has been involved in “green-energy” policy discussions with DC think tanks and organizations since seventh grade.

Sebastian Lerner

A TJHSST alumni, Sebastian has been with GIVE since its early beginnings as a tutor. He received the “Tutor of the Year” award in 2011, and greatly enjoys working with kids. As he starts to take a more administrative role, he hopes to create a lasting relationship between students and tutors and to continue to help and learn from our diverse community. Sebastian is responsible for helping the board of directors continue to grow and expand the organization, specifically, the tutoring program. He is confident that GIVE is one of the best options in the community for helping students achieve their full academic potential.

In addition to being a tutor with GIVE, Sebastian also has other experience working with kids. He was a camp counselor at a technology summer camp in Mclean during the summer of 2012. He taught students programming, and he really enjoyed teaching kids about one of his passions, computer science. Sebastian believes that grassroots organizations such as GIVE are very important for helping improve education all around the world. During the summer of 2011, Sebastian worked as a development intern for Givology, a non-profit organization which partners with grassroots organizations, local communities, and schools to sponsor education grants. He believes that this experience has helped him for the immediate future by using the knowledge he learned with GIVE, and also in his distant future as he hopes to pursue a career with similar aspects to Givology and GIVE. At his high school, Sebastian serves as the Vice President of the school’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter. Business is another passion of Sebastian, and he hopes to pursue this interest in the future in college. After school, Sebastian is a member of the school’s cross country and track teams, as well as a basketball referee and coach for a local youth basketball league.

Abrar Omeish, Co-Founder

Abrar co-founded GIVE because she believes youth should have equal opportunities and aspirations to succeed. She sees GIVE as an opportunity to inspire and create leaders of youth who may otherwise grow to be apathetic and incapable. Abrar has always been passionate about nurturing youth from their young age, having been concerned with the disparity in youth achievement (often influenced by the home) and believing that they all have potential. Abrar is very passionate about public service and hopes to pursue it as a career. Her involvement has led her to be invited to the White House, to speak at numerous events and Press Conferences including a Congressional Summit, the 9/11 Unity Walk, and GSUSA’s 100th Anniversary Interfaith Service at the National Cathedral.

Her service has led to her meeting with countless government officials including Secretary Hillary Clinton, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Justice Sotomayor, Former Secretaries Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, and others. This past summer, upon meeting Abrar, Congresswoman Jackie Speier personally requested that she intern for her. For her work, Abrar has earned the President’s Gold Award for Service, the Virginia Peace Award, the Women Who Mean Business Award by The Washington Business Journal, the Daughters of the American Revolution Award, and others. Abrar has been featured in TIME for Kids (Cover Page), The Washington Post, LIFE Magazine’s Role Models, The Economist, The Associated Press, Bisnow Media, and many others. She has also published several works.

Saniya Suri

A TJHSST alumni, Saniya Suri is a member on the Board of Directors and has worked with GIVE since the beginning. Starting out by organizing various fundraisers as well as the GIVE Kickoff Event, Saniya is driven to spread the goal and mission of GIVE to every part of the county. She took the lead on the book publication project, which led to a successful publication of a children’s book, Being Special is what Makes you Different. This past year, Saniya was instrumental in heading one of the newest tutoring locations and this past summer, she has worked as the head of Administrative Committee, where she oversees social media and local awareness, fundraisers, NGO partnerships, AP/SAT book drive, and more. Saniya is passionate about serving her community and helping others, two interests which GIVE taps into very well.

Although her career interests currently focus on the sciences and medicine, Saniya wishes to continue serving the community, especially after her experiences with GIVE and also the Safe Community Coalition where she informs middle-schoolers on drugs and alcohol and helps them with the transition to high school. In addition, Saniya wishes to be active in the foreign affairs throughout her life, after her work in Model UN. In combination, Saniya brings her enthusiasm and passion to make GIVE efficient, fun, and a great experience for everyone.