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GATS Coordinates in-demand Seminar on Education

October 2007
GATS Coordinates in-demand Seminar on Education

The Greater Atlanta Tamil Sangam (GATS) coordinated an in-demand seminar on education titled, ‘Taking it to the next level,' at the Roswell regional public library on September 16th. Around 75 members of the Indian American community listened to the distinguished panel which included veteran community members with many years of practical experience coaching and guiding students from high school on to college. The speakers were Dr. Venu Dasigi, Dr. Farrokh Mistree, Ms. Jennifer Codemo-Thomas and Mr. Rajesh Kurup. Mrs. Sherry Unwalla helped coordinate speakers.

Dr. Dasigi, professor and department chair of computer science and software engineering at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, GA, opened up with preparing for SAT and how to do better at it. According to Dr. Dasigi, "Doing well in SAT depends as much on attitude as on aptitude. To realize the full potential in a student, both good attitude and good aptitude is needed and it is necessary to cultivate this attitude all the way to college." The main point that Dr. Dasigi stressed on was "Practice," along with good reasoning.

Dr. Farookh Mistree, professor and associate chair, Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, and associate director, Georgia Tech, Savannah Campus, gave an interactive presentation. He recommended taking the maximum number of AP courses in high school. He also reiterated the point made by Dr. Dasigi regarding practice and said that SAT should be taken a number of times for success and for an entry way to the National Merit Scholarship Program.

"It's what sets you apart from other people. Rather than being one person in twenty different clubs, doing nothing very special in each, being a leader in two or three is considered better," he said while talking about leadership roles.

Regarding preparing for college, Dr. Mistree recommended selecting a group of colleges to apply which would include a combination of dream schools, good schools and backup schools. The next speaker was Ms. Jennifer Codemo-Thomas, currently a Regional Account Manager for Regions Education Lending. She covered the financial aspect of raising money for college. She stated that a place to start was filing for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). She said that application forms can be found at their web site which is www.fafsa.ed.gov

The final speaker was Mr. Rajesh Kurup on behalf of the Indian American Scholarship Fund (IASF). IASF gives scholarships from $1,500-2,500. They have two types of scholarships based on merit and financial need for which forms are available on www.iasf.org

Mr. Muralidhar, who has an 8th grader stated, "Excellent seminar to get an overview on SAT preparations, college admissions, scholarships and financial aid." Anirudh Sundararaghavan, a 10th grader from Alpharetta High, summed it up with, "It helped me figure out how to get into a good college."

Priya Vaithi, a 9th grader from Northview High School, said, "It opened up a lot of doors that I didn't know were there for college." In all, this seminar cleared up myths about college admissions and opportunities available for deserving students.

~Anjali Kumar and Latha Panchap

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