Our Stories: Sairam, Scholar (2010)

45Sairam, an immigrant from India, attended Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland, where he earned an International Baccalaureate diploma, won the Economics Challenge state championship, and managed a city council campaign at age 16.

In tenth grade, Sairam’s dream of attending an elite four-year college was derailed when his father suddenly left for India with the household savings – and left the family with just $64.09 in the bank and huge past-due credit card bills. Sairam had to work part-time at a check cash depot to help make ends meet.

Undeterred, Sairam used his Esperanza scholarship to attend Montgomery College, where he maintained a perfect GPA, served on the Student Senate, and won the Presidential Scholar award, an honor bestowed on the top student of each graduating class.

After earning his Associate’s degree and interning at the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, Sairam went on to achieve his dream of attending Amherst College. He is now beginning a career in investment banking in New York City.

What makes Esperanza special isn’t just the money – don’t get me wrong, the money is very helpful. What makes Esperanza special is the support system. The career fairs, the picnics, the fellow Esperanza scholars, and the mentors….With an Esperanza scholarship, they’re not content with just getting us to college, they also want us to succeed once we get there.Sairam Nagullipalli, 2011 Esperanza Scholar