Forbes Magazine's recent list of notable social entrepreneurs under the age of 30 included Neil Buddy Shah, a graduate of Wyoming Seminary and a former recipient of The Times Leader's Best & Brightest and 40 Under 40 honors.
Shah is a co-founder of IDinsight, a global company that helps governments and non-governmental organizations design and test interventions to ensure money goes toward programs that work.
Forbes, in its list of 30 social entrepreneurs under the age of 30, noted that Whether testing how best to reduce corruption in India, improve sanitation in Cambodia, or enhance HIV testing in Zambia, IDinsight tailors rigorous impact measurement to the needs – and budgets – of decision-makers.
Shah, 29, said that while he is humbled by his recognition by Forbes, he hopes the magazine's highlighting of some of the best young minds reminds people that despite the myriad problems that exist in the U.S. and around the world – whether global health challenges such as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, lack of employment opportunities in the U.S. or an absence of freedom of the press in many countries – there are countless individuals doing tremendously impactful work every day, and we all have a role to play in addressing these issues. Remembering this fact inspires me when I wake up every morning.
At Wyoming Seminary, Shah was on the tennis team and in the National Honor Society; he served as co-editor of the student newspaper, played in the jazz band and participated in many other clubs.
After graduating in 2001, Shah went on to receive his undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard University; a medical degree with special distinction in global health policy from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York; and a master in public administration degree in international development from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
He was recognized by The Times Leader as a Best & Brightest recipient in high school and later, post-college, he was listed among the newspaper's 40 under 40 as the region's up-and-coming professionals.
Receiving The Times Leader ‘Best & Brightest' and ‘40 under 40' certainly impacted me in important ways, though perhaps subconsciously at the time. The first was that, as a young person, receiving such recognition motivated me to continue to try to excel in whatever I did, said Shah via email as he was traveling from Uganda to India this week. This desire for continual self-improvement was greatly supported by my parents and my wonderful teachers at Wyoming Seminary. But second, and more importantly, reading in The Times Leader about the incredible people doing great work in our area humbled me and inspired me to strive higher and channel the opportunities I have been lucky to have in order to leave this world a better place.
While the accolades and honors played a role, Shah said it was something more ingrained in him from a young age that is really at the root of who he has become.
On a deeper level, my desire to devote my career to improving the lives of those who have had a less lucky draw in the lottery of life stems directly from the emphasis my parents placed on service for myself and my siblings at a very early age, he wrote. Emigrating from India to Northeast PA over 30 years ago, my parents, Dr. Naresh and Mrudula Shah, were always grateful for the tremendous opportunities America afforded them through their hard work and were able to provide my siblings and me with all the opportunities we could ask.
Yet my mother always stressed that with the incredible opportunities we were given came a responsibility and obligation to positively contribute to the world and improve the lives of those who were less well off, Shan noted. My parents' example and emphasis on service motivated me to devote my life to this line of work and continue to motivate me in my everyday work.