How Kartik Sawhney Made STEM Accessible for Blind Students

Kartik Sawhney went to Stanford and used the opportunity to advocate for change, using tech to help visually-challenged students pursue STEM in India.
Breaking all odds and choosing to pursue the sciences, Kartik Sawhney fought all odds to prove that his disability would not serve as an impediment in the pursuit of his personal and professional goals. Being the first blind student to pursue a Science education in high school in India, he advocated for a change in the rules that now allow all blind students across the country to pursue the subject. And his fight did not stop there. After several months, he convinced the top technical universities in India to open their doors to blind students, leading to at least fifteen students in India pursuing engineering today.
While IIT rejected him due to the entrance examination not allowing blind candidates to appear, he looked for admissions abroad. He tried to find ways to incorporate blind students into the gates of IIT, but he realized that his struggle was barely scratching the surface. He then went on to become a Computer Science graduate from Stanford University, co-founding Project StemAccess (now I-Stem) to provide technical training, mentorship and hands-on opportunities to blind math and science students across the country. I-Stem also works closely with the government, technical universities, and corporations  to make their campuses and culture more inclusive. 
Before this, he co-founded NextBillion.org, an award-winning global mentorship program for students with disabilities interested in technology. The initiative has worked with over 180 mentees and mentors in 10 countries. Kartik has also developed technical solutions and conventions for accessible STEM, which are being used by blind students across the world. He feels that technology holds immense potential to be a great leveler for disabled people. 
In recognition of his leadership potential and work, Kartik received the Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2016 from Her Majesty The Queen. In addition, he was included in the Limca Book of Records and has been recognized by several other organizations, including Google and the Government of India.