Farragut High School senior Parin Bhaduri has been selected to be one of two students in Tennessee to take part in the U.S. Senate Youth Program.
Bhaduri is one of 102 students selected for the annual national program, sponsored by Tennessee Department of Education and William Randolph Hearst Foun-dation, Susan Bolinger, FHS college and career counselor, said.
“I was ecstatic,” Bhaduri, son of Budhendra and Arpita Bhaduri, said. “I couldn’t believe it. It’s only two people from the state, and there are a lot of really good candidates I just knew from the interview round, which were top notch.
“I wasn’t expecting to win it, and just to find out I got it, I was really happy that I did,” he added.
Bolinger said Bhaduri had to jump through a number of hoops before he was chosen as a state representative in the program.
Applicants have to be top students and leaders who are either elected or appointed, she said. Those students then take a standardized test the Hearst Foundation furnishes to the state, which in turn, furnishes it to school counselors.
“We had a lot of applicants this year,” Bolinger said.
A school-level scholarship committee consisting of teachers, staff and administrators choose the student not only for how well he or she does on the test but they also take into account students’ leadership in the school, their service to others, their commitment to the community and scores on standardized tests.
After being chosen schoolwide, Bhaduri then had to go through an interview process by state representatives before he was selected.
“It’s a big deal for me to be chosen,” Bhaduri said, adding the selection takes into account all he has done, especially with leadership in his school and his interests in politics.
After high school, Bhaduri plans to pursue a career combining climate and environmental sciences and public policy. He has applied to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
By being chosen for the U.S. Senate Youth Program, he receives a $10,000 college scholarship to attend the college of his choice and a weeklong, all-expense-paid visit to Washington, D.C., March 4 through March 11.
“The program is a huge opportunity for me because I definitely want to go into public service,” Bhaduri said.
Attending Washington Week gives Bhaduri the opportunity to meet with elected officials and other government representatives about issues in which he is interested, which are climate science and public policy, he said.
Last year, he added, students heard from the U.S. President for about 10 minutes.
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of representation in government in science and there’s a whole lot of topics, like climate change, vaccinations, GMO and stuff like that that are really important and need to be addressed in public policy, and state and national governments are going to be the ones to change [those policies],” Bhaduri said.
“Just to learn from them and see how life is in public service would really be eye-opening for me, and to also see if I want to do that, as well, and how I could go about doing that.”