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Praveena Somasundaram: Journalist of the future

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Early Guilford College student Praveena Somasundaram won a fellowship through the Pulitzer Center for International Crisis Reporting. The 16-year-old is now preparing for a trip to India with a mentor, where she will report on gender inequality with a focus in children’s education.

“I picked India because I’m from India and I know a lot about the culture,” said Somasundaram. “With that type of understanding…I can understand what I’m reporting better. In some ways I am a fresh perspective and in others I’m not. So I think it would be really interesting for me to go there. I speak the language, Tamil, because I’m going to southern India.”

Somasundaram always loved writing, but this year at Guliford College was the first year she got into journalism. Her professor, Cheryl Hatch, suggested that Somasundaram apply for the grant.

“I wasn’t really expecting to get it,” said Somasundaram. “When Cheryl told me…I could only say ‘I’m so excited’ over and over because I’m so thrilled about this opportunity.”

The early college student picked gender inequality because she believes it’s an issue that still needs awareness.

“We see a lot of celebrities advocate for it in this country but bringing awareness about it in other countries I think is also an important thing to do,” she said.

“So we’re hoping to visit schools in both urban and rural areas. I want to cover all different perspectives like the conditions of education, the disparity between girls and boys and what’s being done to help, because as a journalist, it’s our job to cover all perspectives. That’s what I’m hoping to do.”

Somasundaram will be going to India to do the reporting around July. Then she will present photo essays and videos about the project in Washington in October.

Her long term plans for the future is to work with Doctors without Borders.

“Somehow I want to work in my love of science with my love of writing for my future,” she said.

“I would like to thank Cheryl because she’s the one who encouraged me to apply for this fellowship. I really hope that my finished product will impact the way people view gender and inequality.”

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