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April 21, 2010 > Rajeswari Ramanathan selected for Tomorrow25

Rajeswari Ramanathan selected for Tomorrow25

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By courtesy of Rajeswari Ramanathan

It's always a thrill to stand out from the crowd and receive recognition. Rajeswari "Raji" Ramanathan, a junior at Irvington High School in Fremont, has been selected to be part of the Bentley Tomorrow25, a select group of outstanding high school juniors. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, Bentley University established this international competition in 2005 to identify and recognize young leaders of tomorrow.

Chosen from among hundreds of students, Ramanathan will have the opportunity to interact with high-profile business leaders on April 22 during the Bentley Leadership Forum, held in cooperation with TIME Magazine. As an added bonus, the 25 students chosen to participate will appear in a TIME magazine advertising campaign.

"The Business of Healing Our World: Accountable Leadership in Action," is the theme of this year's forum. Dr. Mehmet Oz, one of our country's most respected cardiothoracic surgeons and a well-known television personality, will provide the keynote address.

Other featured speakers include: Majora Carter, environmental justice activist and winner of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" who is president and CEO of the Majora Carter Group, Julie Cottineau, vice president, Brand Virgin USA and Ted Hoff, Vice President of the Center for Learning and Development for IBM Corporation.

According to a Bentley University representative, students were selected based on a variety of considerations among those: demonstrated leadership, academic achievement, community and social involvement and striving to promote change in the world around them.

Ramanathan exemplified those qualities by participation in volunteer projects such as her creation of the "Pencil Project." Three years ago, she began collecting pencils and stationery from local schools and churches. Items were shipped to Nigeria and Kentucky schools for needy school kids. This year Ramanathan is collecting for an orphanage in Barundi, India, as well as Africa and a nearby school in San Leandro.

"The application process for the Tomorrow25 recognition actually started sometime in January with an online nomination filed at the Bentley website by my journalism teacher, Mr. Matthew Phillips," says Ramanathan. "I sincerely thank him for taking the time after school to work on the entire process. I've kind of grown with journalism since my freshman year, so Mr. Phillips seemed to be the appropriate person since he knew more about my strengths and weaknesses than any of my other teachers."

Ramanathan adds, "In early February I was notified about being selected as a finalist for the award and I was asked to submit my personal statement/essay along with two recommendation letters. I'm excited and I have no words for it except that I feel really honored to have been selected from all those who applied for it from around the world."

In addition to the Leadership Forum, activities planned during the April 21 - 22 visit include a college tour and a reception for the students and their parents. "I'm really looking forward to meeting the other students and finding out who they are, what they are doing and listening to the keynote speakers," says Ramanathan.

As for future aspirations, she hopes to pursue a career in the fields of Medicine or Journalism.

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