Innovation Fellow

Marc Freedman Portrait



Co-founder, Big & Mini
Reducing isolation through unexpected intergenerational friendships
“In five years, I hope that we’ve revolutionized how seniors and youth connect. I want Big & Mini to be in every college and senior living community in America, working to bring generations together.”

Aditi Merchant, 19, is the co-founder of Big & Mini, a nonprofit using technology to create mutually beneficial connections between young people and older adults. She has directly overseen the growth of Big & Mini to over 1,500 users with a presence in 50 states and secured coverage in the TODAY Show and Parade Magazine.

Growing up, Aditi had regular conversations with people from all generations through her experiences volunteering at senior living communities and coaching youth on everything from robotics to financial literacy. As a result, she became a strong advocate for the importance of intergenerational connection, something that she manifests through her constant drive to use technology to create positive change at Big & Mini and beyond.

Aditi is a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Forty Acres and Stamps Scholar, an honor based on her exemplary leadership, communication, and initiative. Additionally, she is an Engineering Honors student who, in her first year, designed a symptom-tracking app for children with chronic diseases and a medical device sterilization tool for low-resource countries. When she’s not brainstorming new ideas for Big & Mini, she can be found in the lab researching therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders and heart disease.

The common thread through all of Aditi’s work is her driving passion to make a difference in the lives of as many people as possible.