Spelling Bee Coaching Program Leads
Nihar Janga’s interest in spelling started at the tender age of 6, when he was a kindergartener and first participated in spelling bees and vocabulary bees through North South Foundation. After winning the 2014 NSF Junior National Spelling Bee and NSF Junior National Vocabulary Bee, he achieved his goal of becoming the youngest Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion in 2016 The love for the world and its cultures that was discovered by Nihar during his spelling bee preparation motivated him to participate in the National Geographic GeoBee. With the same determination and hard work that carried him to victory at the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee, Nihar became the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee Champion. He has been volunteering by sharing his knowledge of languages and the world, mainly through NSF competitions and programs. Beyond spelling and geography, He is involved in rowing, serving in his local community and neuroscience.
Naysa Modi is from Dallas, TX and she is excited to be a coach for NSF! She is the runner-up of the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee, 7th place finisher of the 2017 National Spelling Bee and a 5-time qualifier. She has helped in the organization of three successful virtual spelling bees. She started spelling bees in 4th grade when she saw her friend win her own school spelling bee and was inspired to pursue it as well. She was able to stay interested in spelling because of the diversity and beauty of the English language and endless possibilities. She is interested in guiding young spellers through their journey of delving into the dictionary. When Naysa isn't working, she loves to do Tae Kwon Do, play board games, read books and play soccer. She wants to explore the study of medicine in the future. Naysa is looking forward to helping North South Foundation as a volunteer coach!
After winning her very first spelling bee competition in second grade, Akshra was motivated to seek the ultimate prize: competing at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. During her first experience in 2015, she not only made it to the SNSB, but also tied for 39th place and made it into the semifinals. In the 2017 SNSB, she surpassed her previous placement and placed 23rd. In addition to this, she placed 9th in the highly competitive North South Foundation Spelling Bee. With the skills and knowledge she gained from spelling, Akshra is currently pursuing her passion of STEM research and is a two-time International Science and Engineering Fair finalist.
Ananya Vinay is one of the youngest Scripps National champions (2017) and a four-times California State Spelling bee champion (2014-2018). She has a deep understanding of roots, language rules. She loves to share the techniques and tips for a sound understanding of etymology and Vocabulary that can go beyond the spelling bee! Ananya is a science enthusiast and an avid debater and has participated in National Science Bowl two times and a two-time Broadcom Masters Top 300 for her science fair project. In addition to the school spelling team, she mentors the middle school science bowl team. She loves to write and read and watch movies.
I am a freshman at Hinsdale Central High School near Chicago, Illinois. From a young age, I have been inspired by my father, Balu Natarajan, to compete in spelling bees. I competed in my first spelling bee as a 3rd grader at The Lane Elementary School. I started competing in NorthSouth bees at the regional level in 4th grade. In 5th grade, I made it to the NSF National Senior Spelling Bee. In 6th grade, I made it to the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee, as well as continuing to improve in the NorthSouth Senior Spelling Bee. In 2019, I earned a 41st place finish at Finals in the Scripps National Spelling bee, as well as a 5th place finish in the NSF Senior Spelling Bee in the National Finals. Outside of spelling, I have many other hobbies. I play the viola in my school orchestra and the piano outside of school. I sing Carnatic Music with my brother, Advaith and my mother, Meenakshi. I also love to play soccer and basketball with my brother. At NorthSouth, I help write the newsletters.
Jashun Paluru has been involved with spelling since the first grade, when he first started with NSF. He was looking for something academic to do and settled on spelling and eventually grew to love it. He feels that spelling is a great way to learn pattern recognition, proper memorization techniques, performing on stage and several other skills. Jashun went to Scripps three times, finishing third in 2018. He continues to be active in spelling circles coaching aspiring spellers with a focus on teaching language patterns and its applications. Beyond spelling, he is involved in quiz bowl, chess, academic super bowl and robotics. He is also pursuing research in biochemistry.
Karthik Nemmani’s strong passion for words and languages led him to be the champion of the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee. He wants to continue being a part of the spelling community by helping aspiring spellers through NSF coaching program. Outside of spelling, he enjoys both playing and watching sports. He plays on the varsity tennis team for his school. In his free time, he likes to cook, play piano and spend time with his friends and family.
Navin is a freshman at Central Catholic High School. He is a three time Scripps National Spelling Bee contestant and has years of experience from attending regional and national NSF competitions. He runs cross country and plays ice hockey and tennis. He loves to volunteer and has co-hosted multiple book and supply drives for schools in India with his sister Ranjana. He is the 2019 champion of the Upper Valley Brain Bee at Dartmouth College. He has also won his school science fair 9 times. In his spare time, Navin enjoys boating and woodworking.
Navneeth Murali started his spelling journey in fourth grade. He has been a two-time Championship Finalist at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, placing 5th and 11th in 2018 and 2019. He won the 2019 South Asian Spelling Bee, the 2019 NSF Senior Spelling Bee, the 2018 NSF Intermediate Vocabulary Bee and the 2019 North America Spelling Championship Challenge. He has also participated in NSF math and science competitions. He runs a weekly vocabulary club at his school sharing his love for words with his schoolmates. He is excited to be part of NSF’s coaching program and likes to give back to the spelling community by sharing his knowledge and experience.
Navya Murugesan is a rising freshman at Tulane University, majoring in neuroscience and cognitive science She has a passion for coaching and conducting research. She has always been interested in linguistic intricacies and words. Spelling bees have been an integral component of her life. She has won the 2016 National Beta Club Spelling Bee and stood among the top ranks at North South Foundation national spelling bee and SNSB. Navya enjoys sharing her techniques and strategies with more spellers as coaching is her way of staying involved and giving back to the spelling community. She hopes to inspire young spellers and instill a genuine passion in their minds. Happy Spelling as always!
Ojas Vatsyayan is a freshman at Irvington High School in California. He has participated in spelling bees since he was in 4th grade, eventually earning a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where he tied for 42nd of the 519 contestants that year. He qualified for the 2nd round of the KPIX spelling bee and has placed in NSF spelling bees as well. Aside from his love for spelling, he is a fan of math and science. He has achieved honor roll for the AMC 8, has placed 3rd nationally in the Math Kangaroo Competition and has achieved a perfect score in the Math Olympiad Competition. He also has gotten 4th place in the State Science Olympiad Competition. He loves volunteering and helping others achieve their goals and gain a love for their favorite subjects. In his free time, he is a voracious reader and loves playing tennis. He hopes to help students have their best experiences in spelling and is very excited to coach.
Hello! My name is Pavani Chittemsetty. I am a freshman at Bentonville West High School in Bentonville Arkansas. I grew fond of spelling at a young age and have competed at the Scripps National Spelling Bee three times, tying for 30th place in 2019. I also have many years of experience competing in NSF competitions. In my first year of high school I am taking AP Psychology, AP Human Geography and AP Computer Science. Besides spelling, my other interest is in Taekwondo. I am a 2nd degree Martial Artist. Although this is my first year of volunteering as a coach for NSF, I am excited to take part in this new journey!
Pranathi Jammula is a current high school freshman at Liberal Arts & Science Academy in Austin, Texas. She has 6 years of experience with spelling bees, starting off as a 1st grader. Later, she went on to compete in the 2018 and 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee's, placing as a finalist both years. Pranathi has learned a lot from spelling, whether it be language, roots, vocabulary, or the invaluable life lessons it has taught. She continues to stay involved with the spelling community through NSF coaching and other programs. She is excited to share her knowledge with aspiring spellers.
Pranav is a passionate speller who has been studying for the spelling bee since 3rd grade. His journey started from winning the classroom bee to attending many different national finals such as the Scripps National Spelling Bee, North South Foundation, South Asian Spelling Bee, etc. Pranav has attended the NSF Senior Spelling Bee for 3 years and placed 4th in the National Finals. He has placed 19th in The Scripps national spelling bee and was the runner up in South Asian Spelling Bee. In addition to spelling, he enjoys playing cricket and intends to play professionally.
Raksheet Kota’s passion for spelling began in first grade when he participated in a neighborhood spelling bee. He is a five-time district spelling bee champion and a participant in the Scripps National Spelling bee where he ranked fifth place. He is a repeat NSF national spelling medalist in the junior and senior categories and a SASB national finalist. In addition to spelling he is a three time AIME qualifier, a Science Olympiad champion and a MATHCOUNTS chapter perfect scorer. He has been coaching NSF online Mathcounts classes for the last two years. He has been running a math and science club in an elementary school for the last four years.
Ranjana is a high school sophomore at Central Catholic High School in Massachusetts. She is a devoted student of humanities, but her true bent lies in science. Ranjana was the youngest student at her school to take an AP class (AP Bio, which she enjoyed very much). She was the 2019 runner up of the Dartmouth College Upper Valley Brain Bee and has won the NSF Regional Science Bee and Brain Bee (along with spelling, vocab, math and geography) a handful of times over the years. Ranjana is deeply passionate about healthcare and service and combines the two by volunteering at her local senior center, hospital and a handful of other medical causes. She loves languages and speaks Tamil, English and tourist-French, with plans to move on to either Italian or Korean in the future - this helped her place in the top 100 at the 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee and 7th nationally for NSF vocab. Ranjana was the valedictorian of her graduating class in 2019 and received the Presidential Award for Educational Excellence. She is a writer, an avid reader and an outdoorswoman. She loves photography and travel, is an impressionist painter and plans to study in France one day.
Rishik competed in spelling bees from 1st to 7th grade and his 7 years of spelling culminated with winning the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Rishik believes that to succeed in the spelling bee, one needs to thoroughly enjoy the entire journey. Since winning, he has been coaching spellers. He enjoys spending time with his brother, playing VR games and reading a variety of books in his free time. His other interests are biology, chemistry and health sciences. His goal is to find a cure for allergies.
Rohan Raja started his spelling journey in 2nd grade when he entered his first spelling competition at NSF. His parents discovered that he had a knack and a passion for spelling as he managed to win 2nd place. Since then, he has been participating in spelling & vocabulary competitions at NSF. Over the years, he has spent a lot of time understanding different words, roots and language patterns. He competed in the Scripps National spelling bee for two years in 2018 and 2019. He finished 10th place in 2018 on his first attempt. With perseverance and God's blessings, he was able to clinch the Scripps championship as one of the 2019 Octochamps. He continues his passion for spelling by coaching and helping other spellers reach their goals.
Rutvik Gandhasri has been involved in spelling bees for most of his life and has won many competitions at the regional level in addition to success at the National Spelling Bee. His best finish was 6th place in the 2016 National Spelling Bee, Rutvik helped mentor his brother, Rishik Gandhasri, one of the 2019 Octochamps. He believes that anyone who perseveres through whatever difficulties they encounter while studying will succeed in the spelling bee. He is a founding member of his school’s robotics team and enjoys helping his classmates succeed in school. In his free time, He likes to go biking, appreciate nature, play racing games, read sci-fi novels and read about abstract math concepts. He hopes to work as a Formula 1 race team engineer in the future.
Sanjana Malla has been participating in various spelling competitions since the age of 6, including North South Foundation Spelling Bees, the South Asian Spelling and the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She was a participant in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2012 and 2014, ranking 22nd and 13th respectively. She has been a member of the North South Foundation community from age six participating in several competitions including the spelling, math and vocabulary competitions. She was a North South national finalist for eight years ranking 5th in the 2013 senior spelling bee. She has also participated in the South Asian Spelling Bee for 7 years, ranking 3rd place in 2012. Sanjana is currently a rising junior at Georgetown University double majoring in mathematics and psychology and minoring in cognitive science while on the premedical track. Besides academics, at Georgetown, she is an undergraduate research assistant, a member of the bhangra team, a university tour guide and a volunteer at the Georgetown University Hospital.
Shiv Devan spelling journey began when he fell in love with languages and spelling while preparing for the 2015 and 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee, where he placed 50th and 11th, respectively. The knowledge he acquired as a speller has been immensely useful in his academic pursuits. While stem and root word knowledge has been invaluable to his study of biological sciences, the vocabulary he learned as a speller enhanced his knowledge of historical terms, cultural artifacts and his writing abilities. Shiv enjoys tutoring local students in reading and writing, playing tennis, practicing the sitar and tabla. He is also an aviation enthusiast. He is excited to meet and share what he has learned with the next generation of spellers!
Shruthika is an avid reader and is very passionate about learning new words. She started her spelling journey when she was five years old at North South Foundation. Since then, she has gone on to participate in a number of spelling bee competitions including the South Asian Spelling Bee and NASCC placing runners up in both the competitions. She has been a four time finalist in the Scripps National Spelling Bee placing 22nd, 7th, 10th in 2016, 2017, 2018 and finally winning the coveted competition in 2019. She was also declared the NSF Intermediate Vocabulary Bee champion in 2017 Nationals. With her experience and knowledge, Shruthika strives to help spellers gain a deeper knowledge of the English language and succeed on the regional, state and national level.
Siyona Mishra participated in her first spelling bee at NSF in second grade. She is a two-time Scripps finalist with a top finish of 9th place and a South Asian Spelling Bee champion in 2016. Spelling has been and continues to be a huge part of her life. She has been a spelling coach for three years. She loves to explore English language and enjoys helping spellers gain a deeper understanding of words and why they are the way that they are. Currently, she is a captain of her school’s Science Olympiad team and Science Honor Society. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking and practicing Taekwondo.
Smrithi Upadhyayula is an incoming Cognitive Science and music student at UT Dallas. Her spelling bee career started at North South Foundation, where she won the national Intermediate Vocabulary Bee and was a runner-up in the national Senior Spelling Bee. She was a two-time Scripps National Spelling Bee finalist and a South Asian Spelling Bee finalist. Smrithi is passionate about teaching and is excited to share her knowledge with all of you!
Snehaa Ganesh Kumar is the runner-up of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee. She’s also the 2016 NASCC Senior Category champion and competed in the 2016 South Asian Spelling Bee National Finals. She developed a curriculum for a spelling summer camp with Dream Enrichment Classes and founded the Queen Bee Project last year – a social enterprise dedicated to reducing competition anxiety & making academic competitions accessible to everyone! She worked as a coach for four years, coaching multiple spellers who have made it to the National Semifinals!
Inspired by his sister, Sravanth - a Davidson Young Scholar, has been participating in various spelling competitions since the age of 4. He placed 6th at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2018, won the South Asian Spelling Bee in 2017 and placed 5th at the North-South Foundation Finals in 2016. He has also participated in the math, science and vocabulary bees. Sravanth believes that learning language rules and roots can be immensely helpful when it comes to the spelling bee. He has written multiple books on the essentials needed to succeed in the Spelling Bee. He has been coaching for the past two years. He is currently an intern at the office of New York Senator Charles E. Schumer. He plans to pursue a career in finance.
Sreeniketh Vogoti is a voracious reader with an acute eye for the intricacies of language. His conversational fluency in four languages (including being self-taught in Esperanto) demonstrates his passion for language in all its complexity. A two-time Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship finalist, Sreeniketh ranked 7th place in 2016 and 12th place in 2017. He achieved 2nd place in NSF Senior Spelling ‘17, 2nd place in NSF Intermediate Vocabulary ‘16 and 2nd place in South Asian Spelling Bee national finals ‘17. While knowledge and interest are foundational to any coach, Sreeniketh believes that being a good coach is contingent on practicing patience and personalized attention for each student. For the past three years, Sreeniketh has coached students on spelling and vocabulary (with a focus on roots and language patterns) and has been a volunteer coach for NSF in Senior Science. Many of his students have gone on to become championship finalists at Scripps (finishing at 2nd, 5th and 11th place in previous years) and a previous NSF Senior Spelling champion. Outside of the spelling world, his achievements include being a three-time NAQT (Quiz Bowl) High School National Finalist, ACT exam full-score achiever, Florida State History Fair 2020 finalist and a Scholastic Writing 2020 Gold Key recipient in Science Fiction.
Sylvie loves words and language. She is fascinated by how words from so many languages from all over the world have become part of the English language. Sylvie competed in the 2015 and 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bees, placing ninth and fourth respectively. She was the champion of the 2016 North America Spelling Champion Challenge and Global Champions Spelling Challenge of China. She loves spelling bees for the thrill of being onstage, meeting people who share her interests and seeing hard work pay off. Sylvie has coached numerous national semi-finalists and finalists. She is excited to volunteer and coach for North South Foundation.