E-Meeting 6 Venkat Panchapakesan Memorial Scholars

Backstory- As usual in hunt for opportunities, I got to hear of Venkat Panchapakesan Memorial Scholarship organised by Google as memorial for Former Youtube head Venkat Panchapakesan. I got to hear only 6 from India were selected earlier among the plethora of applications!!!

So How did their application set them apart?

I got to hear of Prince Raju, a year older to me was awarded the scholarship previous year. I reached out to him via FB and got pumped up by his silicon valley trip to Youtube HQ. He got to Meet Youtube CEO in person!!

His 1- min video

Article about him on Newspaper- http://english.manoramaonline.com/ACP/news/kerala/kerala-boy-snatches-google-scholarship.html

He was also awarded the mentioned $750.

I got to know following things from him.

He maintained a beautiful portfolio and documented his works on Web and Github. (PrinceRaju.com)

The Group Tutor and HOD were his recommenders.

His resume/1-min video/Essay aligned with

  • Aspire to be computer scientists and technology leaders
  • Exemplify leadership skills and a demonstrated passion for computer science and technology
  • Assist those around them to excel in the field of computer science and technology
  • Help their friends and family members use computer science and technology
  • Leverage the field of computer science to transform systems (from building the next game changing technology, to even helping families be happy, etc.)
  • Have faced adversity and overcome it to continue learning and growing in the field of computer science

which are what they were looking for.

To confirm this pattern, I had to reach out to other 5 scholars who won the same.

Prince agreed to share their details provided with a valid reason. I approached him with the Rethink Community which we are building, a community with the mission to democratize opportunities and help others.

This is mail which I sent to Prince which he agreed to share with other scholars and potentially connect with them.

Hello,
Rethink Community is an informal network of handpicked startup enthusiasts which includes aspiring/budding/established entrepreneurs, technologists, students, service providers and ecosystem enablers. It serves as a platform to promote entrepreneurship, seek/provide support both on the tech and business front.
So in order to that, we come across Venkat Memorial as a great opportunity. We had earlier few of girls to apply for WTM Google Scholarship. There we were able to know previous winners and got the idea of how applications are to be filled. So this scenario, as only 6 from India previously won it. We thought it is great to connect them and increase the chance of this year.
I have reached out to Prince, would be happy to connect with rest.
Regards,
Felix

Which he kindly fwd to them as well.

Later that evening, Prince shared their details, contact number, email.. etc

This is the mail format I sent to rest of the 5.

SUB-Name- Venkat Scholarship Guidance
Hello Name,
I am Felix, a last year student from college of Kerala. Prince Raju referred me to seek guidance on bagging Venkat Memorial Scholarship.
Would you be kind enough to share your thoughts on winning it, what set you apart from rest of applicants, if convenient(any of) videos + essays + Resume you made.
Looking fwd to hear from you.
Regards,
Felix

To which 5 of them happily replied :)

Lets go through their replies.

Aditi Mithal, who shared passion for teaching school children with computer basics in rural area. She is still continuing her works( Check them here- https://www.facebook.com/JC-Bilingual-School-Rajwanti-Public-Academy-691224567558710/ ). She envisions to bring a future for these students by introducing iPads, Desktop PCs and Tablets to teach them advanced software skills.

She said — I would suggest you to focus on the essays and the video. Talk about things you did which helped the people around you, extend it into an idea so that you can work on it and make the reviewers believe that you are motivated enough to pursue what you started. Your writing should be crisp and not abstract. It should reflect your will, motivation and hard-work.
For the video, I would suggest mentioning how Mr. Panchapakesan inspired you. You should also cover — what drives you to help/support others and how you plan to continue that.
I agreed to share my progress of application . She is available at @MithalAditi

Next up was reply from Lakshmi Sirisha.

Letter of Recommendations : Choose two professors from your college or any mentors who know you very well and can provide you a good recommendation
Video : Express you have a strong will to do something for the community using computer science knowledge
Questions : Answer all of them clearly. Mention any challenges you faced and what have you done to overcome them.

and finally reply from Shivam Kumar

In essay try to emphasise on the community work that you have done.If you have organised Hackathons, Seminars, Coding competitions etc. mention their details.Also, try to show the impact that you have created through this.
Mention some problems that you have faced and how you overcome it.For e.g Initially, when I joined college I did not have any background in computer science.So, I faced a lot of problems.I mentioned about how I overcome this problem.
Try to showcase your passion for learning computer science.Mention what you have made.It could be a simple app, web applications or anything useful.
Mention some idea about how computer science can make an impact to society.For e.g — If farmers in the rural area learn to use the internet, then can get a lot of benefits.It will improve their income and lifestyle.
Be genuine and give something original.
Please keep these point in mind while writing the application.
I have attached my latest resume (I can not find my resume at that time) as well as the Video link.
Twitter ID — @jushivam
The video which he applied with.

It was a great experience in seeing their replies on inbox(even in their busy schedules), Everyone was happy to help .

All I did was reached out to them.

All the selected applicant showed deep passion for Computer science and community activities.

You can view Rethink Community discussion at https://www.reddit.com/r/RethinkCommunity/comments/6d0a27/venkat_panchapakesan_memorial_scholarship/

Way forward?

We hope to host live sessions of these achievers and share their inspiring story of how they were benefited by this opportunity .Thereby inspiring more others to apply to them in future and stand a high chance of winning them.

update- We had pleasure to host live session with Aditi and Shivam. Will soon update on Reddit thread.

Our wiki page for Venkat Panchapakesan Memorial Scholarship is set up with details of previous applicants —

http://rethinkcommunity.in/library/index.php/Venkat_Panchapakesan_Memorial_Scholarship

With shivam one of the previous year winners
With Aditi. She shared her story on Social work she is involved in.

Update- I am selected as one of 6 others selected this year!

Read here-