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Stony Brook University student to speak at Forbes women's summit

Sachem High School North senior Ruchi Shah, 18,

Sachem High School North senior Ruchi Shah, 18, with the mosquito chamber that she used to test her all-natural mosquito repellent. (May 31, 2012) Credit: Linda Rosier

Stony Brook University freshman Ruchi Shah will take the stage at the Forbes Women Summit in Manhattan Thursday afternoon as its youngest participant and representative of a younger generation passionate about topics on STEM, which is short for science, technology, engineering and math.

The Shah, 19, who has previously been in the spotlight for her discovery while in high school of a low-cost, all natural mosquito repellent, will be one of 200 women attending the event.

"I’m just really excited and really humbled to be a part of these two days," Shah said. "And to have the opportunity to collaborate and talk about issues and ways we can make change .?.?. everyone here is a trailblazer in their field."

The summit, a two-day affair that begins Wednesday evening, will feature women business leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, politicians, head of nonprofits and NGOs.

Shah, a Ronkonkoma native, said she plans to speak about her journey toward discovering the repellent, which was inspired when she saw the lines of people outside a clinic in India as she was visiting her uncle, who had dengue fever -- an ailment transmitted by mosquitoes more common in tropical climates.

Her speech will be a prelude to a panel discussion on how to continue engaging youth to pursue a STEM education and STEM careers. Prominent figures on the panel will include Ellen Kullman, the chief executive of DuPont, and Susan Hockfield, the president emerita of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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