SAGE’s 2016 Senior Scholarship awarded to Sindhu Reddy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Supporting and Advocating for Gifted Education is pleased to announce the inaugural recipient of the SAGE Senior Scholarship for $1,000. SAGE is a support group in Grapevine-Colleyville that collaborates with parents and educators to ensure that gifted children in our community reach their fullest potential.

Sindhu Reddy of Colleyville, class of 2016 of the School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, will receive $1,000 from SAGE as she enrolls in the University of Texas at Austin Turing Honors Program to study computer science.

Sindhu attended O.C. Taylor Elementary School and Colleyville Middle in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. In 9th grade, she enrolled at the School for the Talented and Gifted. While at TAG, Sindhu was captain of the Academic Decathlon team which won the district competition three years in a row and placed silver at the regional competition for three years. Sindhu coordinated contests for the school’s Computer Science Club and participated in UIL computer science coding competition and Hewlett-Packard’s Code Wars. Sindhu also volunteered for Country Day of Arlington’s preschool and for DFW International Airport’s airport navigators.

SAGE’s scholarship application essay was: “Describe a situation where you had to decide between taking a risk and playing it safe. Which choice did you make? What was the outcome? Would you make the same decision if you had to do it over?” Here is Sindhu’s compelling essay:
“I am the only one,” I immediately thought as I walked into the room. However, this did not hold true for very long. My apprehension turned to relief when, in a couple of minutes, four others like me trickled into the room bringing our total to five in a room of thirty-six people. We were the only five girls there for a cyber-defense camp.
 
I knew that entering a male-dominated summer camp was a risk. I had previously read several articles on the lack of females in computer science. Many of those articles stated that girls are likely to feel left out and would not want to continue studying computer science after participating in dominantly male classes but I decided to take the risk and enter the cyber defense camp. During lunch break, the males started talking about video games, comic books, or Boy Scouts – none of which I have experienced. Also, most of them had prior experience with cyber defense. I did not. This left me feeling inadequate and incompetent. Additionally, I was the only girl who decided to stay in the dorms so I had a three-room dorm to myself.
 
For the entire month, I felt lonely and isolated. More and more, I started identifying with the women in the articles. These feelings prompted me to complain that the camp had few girls to a camp leader. He then proceeded to tell me the camp admits any girl that fills out the application. The reason for the lack of girls in the camp is that many girls had not shown interest. This raised the question, was I in the camp because I was proficient at computer science or simply because I was a girl?
 
Even before this information was divulged, my insecurities prompted me to feel I had to prove I belonged. I would work harder than my five other male teammates to complete the labs and the presentations on time, sometimes even staying up past midnight which was well past the time my teammates would stop working.
 
By the time the month ended, I was acknowledged as the hardest worker on my team by all the camp participants and leaders. I am glad that I took the risk and entered this summer camp because I learned that I really enjoy computer science. As a woman who wants to have a career in computer science, I will have to take the risk and enter this male-dominated field and most likely will have to deal with similar situations for the rest of my life. However, I love learning about computer science and technology and I am willing to take the risk so that I pursue my dream.
Sindhu is the daughter of Sweta and Maryada Reddy of Colleyville.

SAGE’s mission is to ensure gifted children in the Grapevine/Colleyville area reach their fullest potential by advocating on their behalf; connecting parents to valuable resources and to each other; and by educating and supporting their teachers and administrators. Learn more about SAGE at http://gc-sage.org. For further information, contact SAGE President Kim Farbisz, info.gcsage@gmail.com.