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TIPS for Teens

Our Mission

To connect teens across the country, one letter at a time


from interesting, qualified people in the community


to Things, Ideas, People, and Self in a way that reflects on the topic


with others, in a safe and understanding space


with the participants, hosts, and yourself in a deep and meaningful way!

No upcoming events at the moment


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Originating in 2020, TIPS for Teens was created to make a space for teens to connect and grow at UHeights. Local Seattle teen, Anika Tara Rao, pioneered this program with our Program Manager and now facilitates our weekly meetings.

Every TIPS for Teens meeting features guest speakers from our local community. Using Dr. Anu Taranath's letter-writing technique of TIPS (writing to things, ideas, people, and self), teens engage in conversation and reflect on the session by writing a letter at the end of each meeting and talking to each other about what it brought up for them.



Anika Tara Rao is the facilitator for TIPS. She will be starting 11th grade this Fall at Shorecrest High School. She enjoys singing/songwriting, spending time in nature, fashion, and creating vegan food. Anika was inspired by her mom Dr. Anu Taranath to create safe spaces for talking about sometimes uncomfortable topics. She loves leadership and is very excited and thankful to be able to connect with you all!



Special thanks to all our guest speakers

Dr. Anu Taranath
Faculty, University of Washington and Racial Equity Consultant
Topic: Introduction to TIPS

Amy Hirayama
National Board Certified Teacher, Graduate Student
Topic: Social Justice in Education

Sasha Duttchoudhury
Graduate Student, Therapist-in-training
Topic: Family Can Be Chosen

Dr. Bhavna Shamasundar
Professor of Public Health at Occidental College
Topic: The Environmental Injustice of Beauty

Vega Subramaniam
Co-founder and Principal of Vega Mala Consulting
Topic: Finding Your Voice: Leadership For the New Generation

Maurianna Zingarelli
Education Program Manager at Village Theatre
Topic: What Does Belonging Mean to You?

Kendra Azari
Seattle Artist, Activist, and Arts Educator
Topic: Success and Winning, Failure and Losing

Dr. Sahar Romani
Poet and Educator
Topic: What's in a Name: Exploring Self Through Poetry

Shana Bestock
Producing Artistic Director at Penguin Productions
Topic: Growing Outside Your Comfort Zone

Divya Ramachandra
Licensed Certified Genetic Counselor
Topic: Who am I? Exploring Intersectional Identities

Brandon Maust
Pediatrician in Seattle, Washington
Topic: Take Charge of Your Health

Neli Jasuja
Program Manager and Facilitator at Young Women Empowered
Topic: Life Lessons in the Garden

Nat M
Researcher, Educator, Gardener, and Consultant 
Topic: Dr. Flowers: What Plants Can Teach Us 

Samuel Williams
Seattle Educator Specializing in Black History 
Topic: Black History in Seattle

Uma Rao
Founder of Devi Consults
Topic: Using TIPS to Understand Abolition

Monica Cortes Viharo
Actor and Public Speaking Consultant
Topic: Public Speaking and Performance in Everyday Life

Donna Austin
Retired Nurse and Vocalist at Seattle Peace Chorus
Topic: The Power of Your Vote: Exploring Democracy & Politics

Cynthia Anderson 
Director of Learning Communications at CHID UW
Topic: An Attitude for Gratitude

Naveen Valluri
Principal Product Manager, Microsoft AI team
Topic: Finding Grounding Amidst Change

Courtney J Jackson
Program Manager of The Doorway Project
Topic: Forgiveness and Accountability

Evan Fitzgerald and Jasmine Pel
UW Graduates, Previous UHeights Interns
Topic: Looking Ahead: Exploring Non-traditional Career Paths

Meron Weldemariam
Shorecrest High School Student, Youth Activist
Topic: The Tigray Genocide: The Current Crisis in Ethiopia


Interested in being a teen speaker? Fill out this form!



When we write our letters to things, ideas, people, or self, not only do we get an opportunity to reflect on the prior discussion, but we also get a chance to expand further into our own thoughts for the topic.


This space is so unique because it's created by a teen for teens. TIPS for Teens really focuses on having conversations youth would be interested in. TIPS for Teens helped me discover a passion for writing I didn't even know I had!


TIPS, you are glorious! You have opened us up to a world of wonders. The experience of facilitating you has been heart-warming, and it is truly an honor that I can host this program and connect with this community.

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