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Michelle Obama picks Indian-American talent for education campaign

Swetha Prabakaran selected by Michelle Obama to serve in Student Advisory Board of an education campaign to provide educational opportunities for teenagers in America.

education Updated: Jan 07, 2017 19:48 IST
PTI
Bharatanatyam dancer and founder of an NGO, Swetha Prabhakaran is the only Indian-American among 17 students chosen for a campaign to send youngsters to college.
Bharatanatyam dancer and founder of an NGO, Swetha Prabhakaran is the only Indian-American among 17 students chosen for a campaign to send youngsters to college.(Getty Images)

She’s just 16, CEO of a non-profit organisation and a trained Bharatanatyam dancer. Now, Indian-American Swetha Prabakaran has been selected by US First Lady Michelle Obama to serve in the inaugural Student Advisory Board of an education campaign to provide educational opportunities for teenagers in America.

Prabakaran, whose parents immigrated from Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli in 1998, was chosen for Better Make Room campaign’s Student Advisory Board in recognition of her efforts to educate youth in the field of computer sciences.

The board members will be travelling to the White House today to attend Michelle’s School Counsellor of the Year Ceremony. Born in Indianapolis, Prabakaran is the only Indian-American among the 17 students selected by the White House to serve on the Better Make Room Student Advisory Board. The inaugural Board has 12 high school students and five college students.

A senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia, she is the founder and CEO of Everybody Code Now!, a non-profit body working to empower the next generation of youth to become engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs.

Two-thirds of the Board members are, or will be, the first in their families to attain a postsecondary degree.

“As proven leaders, organisers, changemakers, and innovators, these students will help the country achieve President (Barack) Obama’s North Star goal, that our nation will once again lead the world in college completion rates,” Better Make Room said in a statement.

Founded by the First Lady, the board aims to create a college-going, college-persisting and college-graduating culture at their schools while connecting fellow students for any information and resources they need.

“I am deeply honoured to be able to serve on this board. Creating a college-going and college-graduating culture among youth is something we have worked to encourage through Everybody Code Now!, and I am extremely excited to share this passion with even more students.

“I look forward to working with The First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative and my fellow Better Make Room Student Advisory members to encourage more students to pursue higher education,” Prabakaran said.

She has also been honoured as a 2015 White House Champion of Change and was named in the International Literacy Association’s 2016 ‘30 Under 30’