My name is Manan Pandey, and I am currently a rising senior at the Boston Latin School. I work for District Attorney Dan Conley at the Child Advocacy Center as part of the Child Protection Unit. The reason I applied for the John William Ward Fellowship was because I saw this as the best opportunity I had to pursue my interests in law and politics. With our political scene getting messier and messier day by day, I recognize that it must be my generation that changes things for the better and fixes our country. I want to be a part of this change somehow, whether it be as a lawmaker or as a lawyer in court, I want to make a difference. Thus, working for the CAC so far has been very rewarding for me, as I feel like I am actually helping out our community. We fight for the protection of children throughout the Commonwealth who have been abused by their peers or elders. While there, I feel like I am treated as an equal to my colleagues, rather than just as an intern, and so I truly feel immersed in the world of Child Advocacy.
Besides being interested in law and politics, I worked for the New England Aquarium for about a year and am in love with the sea. Marine Biology has been an interest of mine ever since going on a research trip to the US Virgin Islands to study coral bleaching. Obviously, the Aquarium was one of my best options in pursuing my marine bio interests, but surprisingly, my experiences there also helped me improve my public speaking. Whether it be through Climate Change Activities or Live Animal Presentations, I had many opportunities to practice my public speaking. At school I am a very active declaimer. I have yet to fail to qualify for Prize Declamation in my 5 years of public declamation, and have even placed second overall during my sophomore and junior years. My experiences at the Aquarium have also inspired me to be a more active member in the fight against climate change, and so I am an active member of BLS YouthCAN, where we discuss many different ways in which we can reduce our school’s carbon footprint, and hold many events such as an Annual Summit in May at MIT.
Being the token diverse kid in most situations has affected my character greatly. I used to try to fit in and just try to be like my white friends, but my time at BLS has allowed me not only to accept my Indian heritage, but to celebrate it as well. I currently serve as the President of BLS Desi Society, and am looking forward to organizing cultural events where I hope to teach our school community more about South Asian culture.