Rani Reddy, a public policy major from Cary, is still a student, but she’s already getting involved in improving the education of others. She is the chapter leader of Students for Education Reform and communications coordinator for APPLES service learning — her proposed service project is also education-oriented.
Reddy came to UNC thinking she would major in math and biostatistics, but quickly realized that wasn’t for her. She tutored at Culbreth Middle School her freshman year, which sparked an interest in education policy.
“That was when, on the ground, I was observing educational disparities in the classroom and how students were learning in the classroom,” Reddy said.
After taking public policy courses, she discovered her passion for education reform, changing her college trajectory.
Reddy hopes Mr. and Miss UNC can broaden the University’s impact on people, specifically through education, in surrounding communities.
“It’s meant be a tool that connects the Chapel Hill community with the greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro community,” Reddy said. “That’s where I see my service project come in.”
Reddy said she plans to make a difference through College 101, a project which will “plant a seed” of college in middle school students. Her program will give 80 eighth-grade students a better understanding of college.
“As of right now only one in 10 low-income students can expect to graduate from college, which is a really unfortunate trajectory for a lot of students,” Reddy said.
The program would bring prospective first generation college students from Culbreth, McDougle Elementary School, Phillips Middle School and Smith Middle School to see life at UNC. Reddy said students will hear from professors, student-athletes and students to show them the college experience.
“I chose to run for Miss UNC to get funding for ‘College 101’ and to foster a school-wide dialogue about getting more first-generation students to college and how those conversation have to be early,” Reddy said.