Ranjana (Jaanu), a 12th grade student from Massachusetts, is returning for her second year on the YPC. She combines her love for biology and policy with her passion for service by exploring the human health, climate, and equity-based aspects of preparedness. She became involved in preparedness after observing the impact of events like the 2015 floods in South India, the recent North American wildfires, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of her work on the national YPC last year, Jaanu helped design and build a website that makes preparedness resources more widely accessible to a variety of audiences. She also serves on the FEMA Region 1 YPC, where she designed and co-led a psychological first aid for all 10 FEMA regions. This train-the-trainer style program equipped participants with the knowledge and skills to both administer and teach skills ways to respond to the mental health implications of disaster. As part of this work, Jaanu also led an independent research study on psychological first aid and its impact on various demographics.
Jaanu believes deeply in the American Red Cross’s mission to “turn compassion into action” and serves as an active member and lead volunteer on the organization’s biomedical and disaster relief services teams. Additionally, she is a Red Cross blood donor ambassador and a member of the national scheduling team. Jaanu also enjoys volunteering as a Medical Reserve Corps youth member at community clinics and preparedness events like the Bike Safety Rodeo, where she works to promote equity through voluntary biomedical service. Through the Medical Reserve Corps, Jaanu is CPR, first aid, and AED certified.
Jaanu is a youth lead member in the U.S. Office of the Sudanese American Medical Association (SAMA), where she works with the association’s executive board to support humanitarian efforts, medical training, and partnerships with UNICEF in Sudan. She also serves as a Young Reviewer for Frontiers for Young Minds, a scientific journal based in Geneva, Switzerland. At school, Jaanu, is president of the class of 2023 and advocates for “Stop the Bleed” first aid training to reach more of her peers. She also graduated as a top cadet of the Lowell Student Police Academy.
Beyond preparedness, Jaanu enjoys creating balloon animals and has an interest in organic farming.