[AI] Making it to MIT against odds

Swasti Mathur swastimathur at gmail.com
Tue Jun 15 14:39:23 EDT 2010

hats off to The Srikant. he is a source of inspiration to hundreds and 
thousands of future students who want to opt for PCM but step back due 
to pulling by the society and many other  circumstances acting like 
non-avalibility of study material. really this boy is geneous.
may he climb the laddar of success throughout his life. waiting for a 
chance to meet such a brilient guy! and exchange few words.
regards Swasti

yogesh dubey wrote:
> Bolla Srikanth, a visually-challenged boy, is currently pursuing his
> Bachelor of Sciences at the varsity, says YOGENDRA KALAVALAPALLI
> Winner: Bolla Srikanth in conversation with National Trust Chairperson
> Poonam Natarajan during the inaugural function of Abilities Mela 2010
> in Secunderabad.
> Bolla Srikanth was barely few years old when many in his community
> counselled his parents to abandon him. The pressure was heavy on his
> illiterate parents,
> a farmer father and housewife mother, but they never yielded. Had they
> heeded their advice, the world would have been minus one inspiring
> story today.
> >From a small village Sitaramapuram near Machlipatnam town in Krishna
> district, this visually-challenged boy has made it to the portals of
> the prestigious
> Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. The 18-year-old is
> currently pursuing his Bachelor of Sciences in Brain and Cognitive
> Science, Business Management
> and Computer Science at the varsity.
> “Though they are illiterate, both of them, they had strong will to get
> me educated. This inspired me,” he says. Shortly after, about 13 years
> ago, an uncle
> of his enrolled him in Devnar School for the Blind in Hyderabad, and
> life took a different spin for Srikanth.
> “I didn't know anything when I joined school. I was like a rural
> introvert. I learned everything, I picked up English. I joined
> community service. Now,
> I have occupied a place in the society where people are respecting
> me,” he says, “It has been a long journey.”
> >From being a “rural introvert”, Srikanth went on to secure 92 per cent
> in the Class 10 Board Examinations and was a two-time recipient of
> Pratibha Awards
> given by the Andhra Pradesh State government for students who excel in
> public examinations every year.
> He also received a citation for outstanding community service as Youth
> Leader in Lead India 2020 from former President APJ Abdul Kalam and
> was a national
> chess player playing against the likes of Koneru Humpy.
> Intermediate was next and he wanted to take up Maths, Physics,
> Chemistry (MPC) stream to be eligible to study engineering. But a
> disinclined officialdom
> was not encouraging. “When I visited the offices for the first time,
> they said get away from here. Even an IAS officer was not able to
> realise the potential
> of blind persons,” he recollects.
> “After a lot of trouble,” Srikanth finally managed to enrol himself
> for MPC stream at a private college, a good three months after the
> classes began. He
> went on to secure an aggregate percentage of 93 at the end of two years.
> Challenges persisted still. “When I wanted to prepare for IIT, one
> coaching centre told me straightaway I was not fit to join them.”
> Another top institute
> in the country did not even bother to respond to his application. “I
> didn't even get my hall ticket. I was not even allowed to write AIEEE.
> But, I was
> not disturbed because I was focussed on my goal and I wanted to study Sciences.”
> Guided by his mentors Swarnalatha, teacher at Devnar School for the
> Blind and G. Ravishankar, a software consultant in the US, Srikanth
> realised his ambition
> of studying at MIT. “Only 120 seats are open for international
> students for which students from 70 countries in the world fight,” he
> says proudly of his
> admission that came with a US $49,000 scholarship.
> “My mentor Swarnalatha was like a backbone to me in whatever I did so
> far. She has worked harder than me.” She was by his side throughout:
> fighting for
> him, managing his study expenses, recording material for him to study
> easily and even lodging him in her house during initial days of his
> Intermediate.
> Mr. Ravishankar, whom Srikanth met during an international conference
> at Indian School of Business, helped him apply to different
> universities abroad. “Because
> I was a special student, we had to fill up some special forms. He also
> worked really hard with me for six months. Even now he is in contact
> and helps me
> with whatever I want.”
> Persons with disabilities, he says, suffer from lack of exposure and
> lack of opportunities. “You have to see where you stand in the
> society, not as a visually-challenged
> person but as a human being.” He sings paeans about U.S. “The
> University is very helpful. They have so many resources. People don't
> show sympathy there.
> In fact they provide you opportunities.” He has already finished two
> semesters at the university (scoring 5/5 GPA) and currently is
> interning with GE in
> Hyderabad.
> Srikanth is keen on entrepreneurship and plans to launch a software
> firm after his course where he wants to give opportunities to rural
> youth. “My life
> ambition is to become the president of India,” he declares. Given the
> flak he has received so far and the grit with which he has overcome
> them all, don't
> dismiss him. Not yet, not so fast!

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