Patchogue-Medford High School Senior Selected to Bezos Scholars Program
Rithika Sivapokaran Intends to Use Experience to Lead Community Service Project
MEDFORD, NEW YORK (AUGUST 2023) — Rising Patchogue-Medford High School senior Rithika Sivapokaran was selected as a member of the prestigious 2023 Bezos Scholars Program. Rithika is one of the first students from New York to ever be selected for this high honor and is one of only 12 students from the United States in this year’s class.
“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,” said Patchogue-Medford High School counselor Gina Romani, who encouraged Rithika to apply for the program. “I am immensely proud of her achievements and selection to this distinguished group.”
The Bezos Scholars Program selects students from the United States 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, Colorado for a week of learning, growth and skill-building and bring back this knowledge to lead a service project in their community.
Rithika traveled to Aspen for this amazing experience with Patchogue-Medford School District alum Emily Rohme as her mentor. In addition to working alongside other students and mentors from across the world, 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. Both Rithika and Emily are eager to use all they learned at the program to serve the Patchogue-Medford community.
“Our District is incredibly proud of Rithika for this remarkable accomplishment,” said Patchogue-Medford School District Superintendent Dr. Donna Jones. “She already stands out as a leader in the classroom and at extracurriculars, and we cannot wait to see how her leadership and passion for service and novel ideas better our community and every path she follows.”
A proud Sri Lankan-American, Rithika is passionate about promoting educational equity and empowering young women. She has previously been selected to attend the Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY) 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. She will also serve as Co-President of General Organization for the 2023–2024 school year. She is a proud member of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Science Olympiads, the Varsity Tennis Team, National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. In addition, Rithika is well 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.
For more information about the Patchogue-Medford Union Free School District, please visit the district’s website at www.pmschools.org. Happenings in the district can also be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PatMedSchools/. #PatMedPride.
Rithika Sivapokaran at the Bezos Scholars Program in Aspen, Colorado