One Homestead High school senior is taking advantage of a personal disappointment and using the experience to help others. Shriya Ghosh, a 17-year-old Sunnyvale resident, was bummed when her parents told her the science program she was accepted to this past summer was out of their price range.
“The most expensive science program was around $8,000 for just two weeks, and I had not cleared that with my parents yet,” she said with a laugh. “So after being accepted, I came to know that I won’t be able to go. Just the thought of being one of the 100 students being accepted out of the thousands of applicants and not being able to go was very disheartening to me.”
But instead of stopping in her tracks, Shriya took the idea of missed opportunity and ran with it.
“My mom put it in my head that it wasn’t just me who couldn’t afford this. I’m not exactly from a low-income family, but $8,000 is a bit of a stretch,” she said. “But it is a misconception that most kids here in the Bay Area can afford everything or they’re from very affluent families.”
Shriya began thinking about what she could do to ensure that local low-income children have the same opportunities as those who can afford to pay for programs or classes.
“So I thought, why not do a free science class thing where I can stand up in front of a crowd and maybe design a couple experiments,” she said. “I like working with kids and I like science, so that’s where it kind of started to develop, possibly [into] a science program after school.”
But the process turned out to be much more challenging than originally thought. After pitching her idea to both community centers in Sunnyvale and Cupertino and First 5 California, she was turned down because of liability issues.
Most of the elementary schools already had after-school science programs or something similar, and scheduling was also a challenge.
But finally, near the end of summer, Shriya received hopeful news from Kristen Dominguez at the Columbia Neighborhood Center in Sunnyvale: Bishop Elementary School would allow her to conduct a free after-school science program for fourth- and fifth-grade students every other Friday. The neighborhood center supports youth and families by teaching life skills.
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Article by By Kristi Myllenbeck, Silicon Valley Community Newspapers.