Fort McMurray, AB (June 15, 2022) — Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Bouchier are excited to announce the co-lead of Queens in Code and Advocate2Educate as the first Woman of Inspiration of the 2022-2023 Women of Inspiration series.
The Women of Inspiration committee has selected Saakshi Arvikar for her passion and initiatives in creating greater diversity and inclusion for women and girls in the community and beyond.
Arvikar volunteers countless hours in the theatrical arts, with non-profit organizations, as well as her own change-making initiatives to make the world a better place, namely Queens in Code and Advocate2Educate.
After attending a few coding workshops and noticing she was one of the only girls in the class, she heard of similar experiences from others and decided this needed to change. Along with friends, she formed Queens in Code. She leads this all-girls team as co-founder and co-president to create a supportive and encouraging environment for younger girls to explore science, technology engineering, arts and math (STEAM) based fields. Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta is proud to partner with Queens in Code for its Operation SMART program.
Arvikar took her experience visiting a school in rural India and established Advocate2Educate, which collects school supplies that would otherwise be wasted and passes them on to students who may not have access to such resources. Her team gathered 200kg of supplies from 8 elementary schools in Fort McMurray and donated a large portion to Father R. Perin School in Janvier.
Arvikar says she was a shy child growing up but chose to push her own boundaries by doing performing arts. Now, over a decade later, she has attended the Parr Academy of Vocal Arts and performed in local and provincial music festivals. As a senior student, she volunteered her time helping younger and less experienced students to build their performances and prepare for exams. She has also volunteered with organizations, such as the Northern Lights Health Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters and many more.
“It’s just that belief in yourself that you can achieve it. Even if, starting out, you don’t have that belief in yourself, you fake it and eventually you kind of start believing in yourself and good things will start coming your way […] If you accomplish something, you need to say that you did because you did. Don’t lie, brag, or be over confident, just have that firm belief in yourself.” – Saakshi Arvikar, first Woman of Inspiration 2022-2023.
Arvikar just finished her first year of Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences
at McMaster University. She says her time spent at Stollery Children’s Hospital as a child sparked her interest in medicine. She hopes to work in pediatrics while also assisting with medical research.
“I was just so curious about it all the time. As I grew up and did all these biology classes and stuff in high school, it was always very interesting. I did a lot of extracurriculars that weren’t exactly medical related, but still working in the community and helping people and that kind of stuff. So, I think what I want to do brings in all of those aspects.”
This summer, she will spend roughly six weeks volunteering at hospitals in India and hopes to work with her classmates when she returns to create a product to help the children she will have spent her time with.
She is the youngest Women of Inspiration since Shreeya Patel in the 2020-2021 series.
Arvikar will join four other Women of Inspiration to be honoured in March 2023.
The application deadline for the second Woman of Inspiration of 2022-2023 is June 30, 2022. The nomination form can be found on our website.