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Swetha Kambhampati ’10 wins Merage American Dream Fellowship

Biology senior honored for academics, leadership
Swetha Kambhampati, a senior in the Department of Biology
Swetha Kambhampati, a senior in the Department of Biology
Photo: Dawson

Department of Biology senior Swetha Kambhampati is among 12 recently selected as a Merage American Dream Fellow based on her academic record, leadership and potential to make an important contribution to America.

The Merage Foundation for the American Dream honors outstanding immigrants who possess significant leadership and intellectual characteristics. Fellows receive a $20,000 stipend over two years to help them pursue educational opportunities through formal study, travel for research, and professional opportunities.

“It is only because of the opportunities that the PSC [Public Service Center] and the Distinguished Fellowship Offices have given me throughout my time here at MIT that I was able to receive this award,” Kambhampati, president of MIT’s chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, wrote in an e-mail shortly after the Merage announcement. “I am so grateful and honored to have won this scholarship. It is an inspiration to continue pursuing my dreams in medicine, and to use my passion for service and love for science to make a difference in the community.”

Kambhampati, of Irvine, Calif., has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to public service during her time at MIT. Since 2007, Kambhampati has assisted in the coordination of Camp Kesem, a week-long summer camp in New Hampshire for children whose parents are battling cancer. Kambhampati helped to establish the MIT branch, recruited campers, helped to raise more than $30,000 in funding, and worked as a counselor.

Since the fall of 2007, Kambhampati has volunteered more than 100 hours as a reading tutor in ReachOut, a program co-sponsored by the Public Service Center and Student Financial Services, that matches MIT student mentors with Cambridge public school children ages five to 12.

Through Four Weeks for America — a partnership between Teach for America and the Public Service Center —Kambhampati renewed the biology and physics curriculum at the Rabouin High School in New Orleans. Inspired by her experience, Kambhampati revived the Planning for College Success Program, a National Society of Collegiate Scholars program, that pairs MIT students with middle and high school students in Cambridge who have fallen behind in science, english or math.

Kambhampati will travel to Washington, D.C., on June 7 and 8 to celebrate her selection as a Merage American Dream Fellow.

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