SILVER SPRING, Md. (WDVM) — We’re taking the time to highlight students across the DMV who have made the extra effort to create change right in their backyard. A senior at Montgomery Blair high school in Maryland find ways to merge science and community impact.
“What really strikes me as different from other 18-year-olds is the fact he is so earnest, and he is so genuine. And he is so interested in curious,” said mentor Mia Kim.
Those are just some of the few ways friends and loved ones describe Dhruv Pai. Pai’s love research started in just the fourth grade, since then, he’s received several awards, including the highest youth U.S. Congressional Award, Regeneron Science Talent Search Top 300 Scholar, Center for Excellence Education MIT Research Science Institute (RSI) Scholar, Coca-Cola Regional Finalist, Coolidge Senator, Bryan Cameron Impact Scholar Finalist, Disney Magicmaker, Invisalign Changemaker, Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Medal, Carson Scholar, and Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
“I created a targeting system for a depression treatment based on neurostimulator. And so the goal is that it can be used to treat patients with major, major depressive disorder,” said Pai.
Not only does he have a love for science, but he’s also passionate about giving back. After years of doing community service, Pai says he created his own non-profit, Teens Helping Seniors (THS), where high school students deliver groceries, prescriptions, and more to the elderly, disabled, and veterans.
“I remember her telling me like one day that if there wasn’t a delivery service like she doesn’t know what she would do. Like they need something like this and that’s really what inspired me to start expanding,” Pai said.
He’s also a part of Arts-n-Stem, Equity in Civics, and chorus. During his downtime, he plays the guitar, sings, and plays with his cats.
Pai says his goal is to focus his research on finding ways to help everyday people.
“That’s where I found my real passion of like, like, using science and using all this leveraging it for social good and like making sure it hits the ground where the people need it,” he said.
It all stems from a lesson his grandfather taught him.
“Take care of that stranger that you see on the street, even if you don’t know who they are because you don’t know what they’re going through. And you don’t know how you could improve their day,” he said.
Despite being so involved in all of his activities, he still maintains a 4.0 GPA.
“You can only have two of the three asleep social life and study and let’s just say I don’t get much sleep,” he said.
“I think whatever he chooses to do, he’s going to be happy and he will do what he wants to do. I just wish him the best,” said his mother, Priya Pai.
Dhruv graduates high school in May, and he plans to major in bioengineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.