A TEDxColumbus interview with Speaker Saideepika Rayala is the founder of the Columbus Civic, an email newsletter focused specifically on various immigrant and refugee communities
TEDxColumbus: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
SR: I am a senior at Olentangy Liberty High School, and a journalist who is passionate about using journalism to empower immigrant and refugee communities. I am the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper and have interned at various local news organizations. In 2018, I used the skills and interest I had to create a news organization called The Columbus Civic. The organization provides the local news of Columbus, Ohio in the native languages of different communities. One day, I hope to bridge the gap between immigrant communities and newsrooms.
TEDxColumbus: What do others consider to be the most surprising thing about you?
SR: Most people become surprised to find that I am a target archer and a level 1 archery instructor since it is a very niche sport.
TEDxColumbus: What inspired your interest in TEDxColumbus?
SR: The first time I encountered TEDxColumbus was when I got to volunteer at the TedxColumbus 2017 event. As a volunteer, when we were done serving all the guests, we got to sneak into the back of the theatre and listen to some of the speakers. I remember sitting there being awed by how passionate the speakers were about the topics they were speaking on. It inspired me to search for a topic that I was really passionate about – and maybe even get to do a TED talk about it.
TEDxColumbus: What inspires you about the future of Columbus?
SR: In my school, the places I have volunteered at, or even at the TEDx auditions, I have had the opportunity to meet some incredible people who have big dreams about the future. Those people that are not willing to sit and be complacent, but instead want to be out in the world doing things and making a change, make me excited about the future of Columbus.
TEDxColumbus: If you could give advice to yourself as a high school student, what would it be?
SR: As a senior in high school, this advice would be for the dazed and confused freshman that I was four years ago. I would say it’s okay to not have everything figuredout. Take some time to find the things you are interested in, and once you do, put everything you got into those select few interests. I would also tell myself to get involved in the community around me whether it be the school community or the outside community. Working to better your community and knowing that you were able to make a change – no matter how little that change may be – is a very rewarding thing when you look back on your four years of high school.
And just for fun:
TEDxColumbus: Dog or Cat
TEDxColumbus: Facebook or Twitter
TEDxColumbus: Work Hard or Play Hard
SR: Work hard, and then play hard
TEDxColumbus: Summer or Winter