Keerthana Ramanathan from Minnesota and Sharanya Swaminathan from Troy are among the state representatives competing for the ‘Distinguished Young Women’ 2022 title.
Distinguished Young Women is a national scholarship programme for students who are studying in high school at present. Besides cash, it provides college-granted scholarships and life skills workshops to young female students across America. There are competitions at the local, state and national levels.
Evaluation of students is done on scholastics (25 percent); interview (25 percent); talent (20 percent); fitness (15 percent); and self-expression (15 percent).
“Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. It has provided life-changing experiences for more than 775,000 young women across the country and more than $112 million in cash scholarships at the local, state and national levels,” the Distinguished Young Women’s website says.
“In addition to cash scholarships, Distinguished Young Women participants are eligible for college-granted scholarships from over 100 colleges and universities. More than $1 billion in college scholarship opportunities were provided last year, some of which included full tuition, room, and board to first-class institutions,” it adds.
The 2022 finals will be held in Mobile, Alabama, in June next year. The finals will be held after the participants complete their high school graduation.
During the two weeks in Alabama, participants practice for the showcase for the finals, besides participating in various events, workshops, and volunteering.
Both Keerthana and Sharanya, now in their senior year of High School, have chosen dance as their preferred talent.
While Sharanya aims to study Business Administration and Public Policy, Keerthana’s inclination is towards Surgical Oncology.
Keerthana, who lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, will represent Minnesota at the competitions. She aspires to study at Northwestern University.
Keerthana, born to Tamil parents, is a student at Eden Prairie Senior High School. She has studied Oncology and Cancer Biology from Harvard Extension School, and at present, she is also involved in cancer research at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
At the talent selection, Keerthana presented an Indian Classical dance Alarippu.
Sharanya has been selected as the Representative for the State of Michigan. She aspires to study at Michigan State University after completing High School next year.
Sharanya is a student at Troy High School. She has been active in Model UN, Forensics Speech and Debate and International Youth Politics forum.
As per the website, “Many participants leave the program with scholarships to help them with their college educations, but all of them walk away with friendships, life skills and increased self-confidence. Distinguished Young Women strives to give every young woman the opportunity to further her education and prepare for a successful future.”