Melissa, 21 and Lavanya, 19; Instructor, Rita Jawaharlal - Kumon

Melissa, 21 and Lavanya, 19; Instructor, Rita Jawaharlal

21-year-old Melissa Jawaharlal and 19-year-old Lavanya Jawaharlal are remarkable sisters who completed the Kumon Math and Reading Programs as high school students, and are currently on the fast track to becoming entrepreneurs in their first business venture.

Melissa, who was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Southern California, recently obtained her mechanical engineering degree. Lavanya is currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of California Berkeley. Both sisters share a passion for technology education and have been actively involved in school robotics programs for the past two years.

Together they founded STEM Center USA and were recently featured in Business Insider for inventing Pi-Bot,  an affordable, robot kit aimed at upper middle school, high school, college students, and hobbyists who want to build and program their own robots. To help with the production costs, these resourceful sisters launched their first Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $86,000. Their goal is to raise enough funds over the next few days to cover the manufacturing costs of 1,000 Pi-Bot kits to sell to the public.

Their mom, Rita Jawaharlal is also the Instructor of the Kumon Math and Reading Center they both attended in Pomona, Calif. Melissa (who joined as a 9th grader) and Lavanya (who joined as a 6thgrader) both completed the Kumon Math Program within five years and simultaneously completed the Kumon Reading Program in about two and a half years. These highly motivated sisters also opted to complete the elective advanced Kumon Math level X after completing the general math program.

“Kumon has helped me do things quickly and increased my speed significantly,” says Melissa. “I became more confident and fast [at problem solving].” Lavanya says she liked “the discipline and the method which helped me develop good study habits, developing my confidence, independent working [skills] and speed.”

Rita wanted her children to experience Kumon so that she can share the benefits from a parent’s perspective.  “Kumon played an important role in the lives of my daughters,” Rita said. “Kumon Students learn to work independently and [develop] a life-long passion for learning.”

Rita wants her current students to complete the Kumon Program so that one day they will have the confidence to follow their passion and live their dreams. Melissa, now an engineer and entrepreneur says, “Thank you Kumon! You have helped me realize my full potential.” Lavanya, equally grateful for her Kumon experience, says she would like to bring more women into engineering and do public service.

For more student success stories like Melissa and Lavanya’s, please visit