[AI] Making it to MIT against odds

Kartik Sawhney sawhney.kartik at gmail.com
Mon Jun 21 00:24:02 EDT 2010


You may contact him at the E-mail ID Bolla at MIT.EDU.

On 6/21/10, Taha Haaziq <tahahaaziq at gmail.com> wrote:
> hey this is excellent!
> this really shows that WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IS SURELY A WAY!!!!
> hats off to Shrikanth!
> pls pass me his contact details too..
> i will be greatful.
> regards.
>
>
> On 6/21/10, aisha sahani <mailtoaishasahani at gmail.com> wrote:
>> very interesting, and inspiring too.
>>
>> yes, i too would like to have the contact number or e-mail ID of this man.
>>
>> do any of you having the same?
>>
>> aisha sahani.
>>
>>
>> On 6/21/10, Amar Jain <amarjain2006 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> head soft to everybody involved in this story. no words..
>>> Do anyone of you know the contact information of this man?
>>> Although I have nothing to do with science but its worth making contact
>>> with
>>> such intelligent people.
>>> I openly say shame on indian institutes.
>>> He has slapped these people.
>>> Regards
>>> Amar Jain.
>>> --------------------------------------------------
>>> From: "Renuka Warrier" <erenuka at gmail.com>
>>> Sent: Monday, June 21, 2010 6:21 AM
>>> To: "access india" <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
>>> Subject: [AI] Making it to MIT against odds
>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Date:21/06/2010 URL:
>>>> http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/edu/2010/06/21/stories/2010062150460400.htm
>>>>
>>>> _________________________________________________________________________________
>>>> Link: Education Plus
>>>> Making it to MIT against odds
>>>>
>>>> YOGENDRA KALAVALAPALLI
>>>>
>>>> Bolla Srikanth, a visually-challenged boy, is currently pursuing his
>>>> Bachelor of Sciences at the university
>>>> PHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL
>>>> 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 in Andhra Pradesh, 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
>>>> university.
>>>>
>>>> "Though they are illiterate, both of them had a 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 X Board Examinations and was a two-time recipient of Pratibha
>>>> Awards given by the Andhra Pradesh 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 the Maths, Physics,
>>>> Chemistry stream to be eligible to study engineering. But a disinclined
>>>> officialdom was not encouraging. "When I visited the offices for the
>>>> first
>>>>
>>>> time, they asked me to get away. 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
>>>> the 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 U.S., Srikanth realised
>>>> his ambition of studying at MIT. "Only 120 seats are open to
>>>> international
>>>>
>>>> students for which students from 70 countries in the world compete," 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.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Voice your thoughts in the blog to discuss the Rights of persons with
>>>> disability bill at:
>>>> http://www.accessindia.org.in/harish/blog.htm
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>>>
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>>
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>
>
> --
> Taha Haaziq
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