Model G20 Student Spotlight Interview: Shrey G.
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If the idea of taking a gap year had a publicist, it would be Shrey. Gap years are becoming increasingly popular among the younger generation, and Shrey is a great spokesperson for exactly why. 

During his gap year so far, Shrey has been working full-time on his nonprofit organization, Akansha. “I started it because I am very privileged to have the educational background and opportunities I have. I think everyone deserves a platform to attain a quality, accessible, and affordable education.” 

Akansha started as a distributor of educational materials, but has since grown into ‘the Uber or Lyft of volunteering.’ Since launching, Akansha has gotten over 200 students involved in the mission from across India, the UK, USA, and Hong Kong. “I not only wanted to help distressed people around me but also help the people who work in Akansha to make their communities better, inspiring our motto, ‘Every Fingerprint Matters!’”

Shrey joined Model G20 in July 2021 for the A Healthier Earth and Beyond Summit. He worked on the Space and Global Health Committee representing Brazil. “At Model G20, I met people from Boston, China, Europe, South America, Brazil, lots of places. For me, I wanted interaction with people from around the world, and that’s why I participated… MG20 fulfilled that for me.”

The idea of global citizenship is one that came up a lot during our conversation, a common thread that weaves many of Shrey’s experiences together. His contributions to the world don’t begin or end at Model G20, and that’s what makes Shrey so impressive. He’s someone who takes action on the ideas fostered in Model G20. Read our interview for more insight into this impressive young man.

Model G20 Student Spotlight Interview - Shrey Gupta

What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to go to college?

Right now I’m taking a gap year and working on my organization, Akansha. I want to attend college in the States and study something in the STEM fields, specifically mathematics and computations. Also during my gap year, I started a blog called MyBrainChild. I write about what I watch, what I did that day, what I read. I like to write and reflect but didn’t always have time to do that in high school. 

What kinds of things do you write about?

I write about things like Game of Thrones, and then connect the pieces I’ve read and watched to my life experiences. I add my own touch to it because I believe it makes everything more relatable and interesting. Really, I’m getting back to things I didn’t have a chance to do in college, like traveling because everything was shut down. Also, this summer I will be attending a summer program at Princeton and Oxford.

How do you stay motivated to keep up with everything you have going on during your gap year?

There are days when you feel quite lazy and don’t feel like doing anything, and sit on the couch and binge Netflix all day. But then there are days when you feel productive. I think life after college is like this. So I want to be prepared for not only college, but also life after college when my days will be less structured.

Looking ahead, how do you hope to use the skills and experiences that you’ve gained at the MG20 Summit in your career? Or in your schooling?

The number one thing is networking. Even the work I do in my organization is primarily about networking. There are a lot of virtual opportunities (like conferences and webinars) out there, but they don’t always get you super involved with it. Because Model G20 was spread across five days with different forms of committee, different sessions, workshops, and different people who were part of your team, that diversity really helped me to connect with the conference.

What is the single feature of the Summit that exceeded your expectations?  

It was everyone in attendance – I didn’t expect the turnout to be what it was because it was virtual. People don’t usually like virtual things as much, but there were a lot of people there. Sometimes, that emotional dialogue that you can have with people in person is missing when it’s virtual. But at Model G20, over the course of five days, you did form that emotional connection with everyone. And we’re still connected to this day, we all shared our social media and we text once a month or once a week to see how everyone is doing.

What about Model G20 do you think would benefit any person, if they were to attend?  

I would recommend it to someone who is quite older than me or quite younger than me. Either they have not had the exposure yet or they’re too busy with their lives. The skills you might learn in any sector or any job are very applicable. Seeing people lead their lives in different places around the world gives you a broader global perspective.

How do you feel about the quality of the conversations and response from your colleagues and instructors during the summit?

The quality was great overall. The level of experience there on each of the teams was great – some people highly experienced, some moderately experienced and others not experienced at all. This made it so that everyone had an equal experience throughout the conference. 

For example, on my team there were five of us. Two of the people on our team had no experience, and three of us were moderately experienced. So the three of us who had done Model UN or similar conferences were able to serve as mentors to those who were less experienced, which made it so that those two had a great time. They learned a lot, and the three of us were able to learn better too, because we were learning by teaching.

Do you have a favorite class at school?

I really like STEM, which is what I want to study in college. But I also want a liberal arts education, too, so that I can infuse the things I learn in STEM with things that are applicable with the world. I’m interested in how STEM fits into the social sciences, sociology, and psychology, for example.

What is your favorite book?

I recently read a book that I really liked, it was called A Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart. Paul Lockhart is a mathematician himself, and he writes about why people despise high school math. It’s simply because of the structure of it. The people who set the curriculum don’t have a good understanding of how people our age can learn math. They make it too confusing and boring and focus too much on the theories instead of the practical application. 

His idea is that if you show kids how math can be creative and fun, it will be easier for them to learn. I liked the book because of his perspective on mathematics and how it’s applicable to the youth of today. Because mathematics is really important, and it is relevant in so many different fields.

Favorite food?

It’s so hard to choose just one, but if I had to, I would say pizza.

Favorite color?

Probably… blue.

Favorite quote?

“Tough times create strong people. Strong people create easy times. Easy times create weak people. Weak people create tough times.” I don’t know who said it. I think it was anonymous.

Favorite TV show?

The Office, which I like even better than Game of Thrones.

We had a great time interviewing Shrey, and are so happy he joined us at our Model G20 summit this summer. We wish Shrey all the best as he continues his gap year, grows his organization, Akansha, and goes on to college next year. Amazing students like Shrey are the reason Model G20 is so successful, and we are grateful for his contributions to the program!

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