Amazing Teens

Akshaj Mehta, 13, has self-published six books.


Math Masters

Three Bay Area math whizzes are among just 45 students worldwide named World Science Scholars for the 2018-2019 school year.

The three – Espen Slettnes of Castro Valley, 13; and Alicia Yang of Fremont and Nathan Lee of Foster City, both 16 – were selected for the new program based on their exceptional math records and teacher recommendations. 

World Science Scholars, made possible through the John Templeton Foundation, is meant to expand the students’ horizons beyond traditional math and push them  toward scientific breakthroughs advancing the greater good. 

As scholars, Slettnes, Yang and Lee get to participate in live lectures at the annual World Science Festival in New York this summer, as well as interactive digital courses taught by leading scientists such as string theorist Brian Greene and astronomer Andrea Ghez. The teens will experience scientific and cultural fields ranging from neuroscience and physics to agriculture and finance. They’ll create professional networks and meet potential mentors during the year-long program. 

To apply for next year’s program, see



Akshaj Mehta is so keen on writing that the 13-year-old self-published author has launched a website to let other kids tell their stories.

As an author of six books – four which are available on Amazon and Googleplay – Mehta relished the experience of publishing his tales.

"My goal is to have budding young authors get their work published on (the website) and feel the same confidence and pride that I have or had when I am writing," he says. "I want to encourage …rising story tellers, movie critics and article writers."

The free site,, lets kids ages 8 to 16 share creative writing or essays. So far, the new site offers the first chapter of a thriller on lost dinosaurs and several articles on technology, all by Mehta, and he’s eager to see more material on his site.  

His personal favorite genre is science fiction. After his first book, Super Mouse, which he wrote at age 8, Mehta has gone on to write E-Tron and E-Tron 2, about a young man who is transformed into a powerful robot/human hybrid. Most recently, the eighth-grader penned The Make Shifts, in which his protagonist has to survive in apocalyptic world where a virus has turned most humans into bloodthirsty mutants.

Starting is not the first time Mehta has turned his passion into a means to help others. He also reads to young children in libraries and schools and has always donated the proceeds of his book sales to charities, including a home for abused children, a teen center and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.


Angela Geiser is the editor of Teen Focus.