Patchogue-Medford High School senior Rithika Sivapokaran was selected as a member of the prestigious 2023 Bezos Scholars Program.
Sivapokaran is one of the first students from New York State to ever be selected for this honor and one of only 12 students from the United States in this year’s class.
The Bezos Scholars Program selects students from the U.S. and Africa dedicated to raising awareness of significant topics and effecting change in their communities. Students travel with a mentor to the program in Aspen, Colo. for a week of learning, growth and skill-building and bring back this knowledge to lead a service project in their community.
Sivapokaran traveled to Aspen with Patchogue-Medford Schools alum Emily Rohme as her mentor. There, they had the opportunity to interact with inspirational leaders in education, mental health and business, including Khan Academy founder Sal Khan, health and science journalist Catherine Price and co-founder of the Bezos Family Foundation Mike Bezos.
“Rithika is an exceptional, inspiring and compassionate young woman who is bound to utilize her experience from the Bezos Scholars Program to make a positive impact on her community,” Patchogue-Medford High School counselor Gina Romani, who encouraged Rithika to apply for the program, said in a written statement. “I am immensely proud of her achievements and selection to this distinguished group.”
A Sri Lankan-American, Sivapokaran is passionate about promoting educational equity and empowering young women. She has previously been selected to attend the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference, Young Women’s Empowerment Conference and Youth Wellness Summit as well. At Patchogue-Medford High School, she is president of the Class of 2024, president of Empowering Minds, a club promoting positive mental health practices and awareness, vice president of Key Club and vice president of the English Honor Society.
In addition, Sivapokaran will also serve as co-president of the General Organization for the 2023–2024 school year. She is a member of Women in Science and Engineering, Science Olympiads, the Varsity Tennis Team, National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. She is known for her community involvement through tutoring, environmental clean-ups and elementary school events, and she looks forward to expanding this role through a service project this year.