Washington youth recognized by Prudential Emerging Visionaries program

Kirkland and Bellevue students honored with $5,000 award and invitations to the 2023 summit for their work addressing the challenges of a changing world.

NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Austin Picinich, 17, of Kirkland, Washington, and Kosha Upadhyay, 16 of Bellevue, Washington, today were named a 2023 Prudential Emerging Visionary for their inspiring commitment to improving the lives of others.

As two of 25 Prudential Emerging Visionary winners, Austin and Kosha will receive a $5,000 award to help take their innovation to the next level. They are also invited to attend an all-expenses-paid trip with their parent or guardian to Prudential’s Newark, New Jersey, headquarters for a three-day summit in April where they will receive coaching, skills development and networking opportunities with Prudential employees and other young leaders.

Prudential Emerging Visionaries recognizes young people ages 14-18 whose fresh perspectives and innovative solutions address pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities.

“The goals of our Emerging Visionaries program reflect Prudential’s overarching purpose: to make lives better by solving the financial challenges of our changing world,” said Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey. “We applaud all of our honorees for their commitment to improving the lives of others and creating inclusive and thriving communities.”

Washington’s 2023 Prudential Emerging Visionaries:


Austin Picinich created the “Save Our Salmon Through Art” initiative, which stages public art projects that encourage community members to be stewards of local salmon to preserve their once-thriving populations and spawning streams in the greater Seattle area.

Austin, an artist, was inspired to start this project after learning about the decline of Northwestern salmon. “I believe that art, when combined with a community-focused purpose, can have a much larger impact and inspire others to make a difference,” he says. So far, the initiative has engaged more than 370 volunteers and raised $22,500 for restoration efforts.

Kosha Upadhyay started “Buzz Bowl,” a quiz game that aims to elevate the percentage of female STEM graduates by giving fifth- through eighth-grade girls access to an AP-level education in science and math subjects.

“Buzz Bowl” is a buzzer-based competition that challenges young people to answer questions across a variety of STEM topics. Kosha’s goal was to make the process of learning STEM more exciting and increase girls’ participation in competitive STEM activities. So far, more than 200 young people have participated in the initiative.

Emerging Visionaries is a collaboration between Prudential Financial and Ashoka, a leading social impact organization, with support from the Financial Health Network, an authority on financial health and longtime partner of The Prudential Foundation. 

During the summit, to be held April 22-25, 2023, five winners will also have the opportunity to present their solutions in a pitch-off, where a grand prize winner will be awarded an additional $10,000 in funding. What’s more, Prudential employees will again vote to name an Employees’ Choice Award winner, who will receive an additional $5,000.

The program is an evolution of Prudential’s Spirit of Community Awards, which, over 26 years, honored more than 150,000 outstanding youth volunteers.

To read about all this year’s Prudential Emerging Visionaries, visit prudential.com/emergingvisionaries.

About Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial wellness leader and premier active global investment manager, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help to make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people. Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com

About Ashoka
Ashoka is the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs — individuals with new ideas to systemically address the world’s biggest challenges and the entrepreneurial skill to transform those ideas into national, regional and global social impact. Over 40 years, Ashoka has supported more than 3,600 social entrepreneurs in 90 countries with solutions addressing society’s most pressing issues. Ashoka’s vision is a world in which Everyone Is a Changemaker — a society that responds quickly and effectively to challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem. For more information, visit ashoka.org.

SOURCE Prudential Financial, Inc.

Emerging Visionaries logo (PRNewsfoto/Prudential Financial, Inc.)

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/washington-youth-recognized-by-prudential-emerging-visionaries-program-301749948.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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