STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Sharada Narayanan


Kimberly Paige Bucknor, Reporter

She’s a longtime changemaker, an ambitious dreamer, a stunning public speaker, and an award-winning, strong student advocate. Meet one of Urbana High School’s biggest role models, junior Sharada Narayanan. 

Ever since second grade, Sharada Narayanan has been an active participant in the Student Government Association. She has a strong passion for student representation, and campaigns, and a passion for speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Throughout her high school career, she joined clubs and organizations to further develop her leadership skills and passions, to learn about diversity, to learn about international affairs, and most importantly, to learn about equity in education. 

Currently, she is an ambassador for the Harvard Undergraduate International Relations Scholars Program, the president of the Frederick County Association of Student Councils (FCASC), the president of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and the president of Rise Up. She is also the president of the UHS junior class, the president of the Art of Policy Club, and the president of the Maryland Youth and Government program. Moreover, she is also an active participant in Mock Trial and Model United Nations. Honestly, the fact that she can balance so many activities on top of a rigorous course load is extremely impressive.  All of these experiences taught Sharada the value of teamwork, listening, going the extra mile, and most importantly, fighting for every voice every day.

Some of Sharada’s greatest accomplishments include her involvement in the Harvard Undergraduate International Relations Scholars Program, the Frederick County Association of Student Councils (FCASC), and the Rise Up organization.

During her time in the Harvard Undergraduate International Relations Scholars Program, she got the opportunity to network with nearly 600 students worldwide, and to found a nonprofit (Ubuntu for Humanity) to provide business grants to African women and youth.  

As president of FCASC, she represents 43,000+ students across the county. She hopes to see some big changes in the future for Frederick County students. “In Frederick County, I hope to see our Student Member of Board get voting rights, so the student voice actually has some power,” she explained.

As president of Rise Up, an organization designed to promote women’s empowerment and to advocate for better treatment of girls, Sharada participated in a worldwide leadership summit as a speaker and raised over $1,150+ with fellow members to fight violence.

Sharada Narayanan is very well-rounded and has a passion for many worldwide issues besides student representation. She has a passion for diversity, inclusion, and even environmental sustainability. When asked to reflect on the biggest thing she wanted to fix in this world, she responded with a desire to equalize access to quality education. “There are so many issues that I want to fix, some of the biggest things I am focused on is helping people around the world get access to education; there are a lot of people living in rural areas that don’t have access to the education they deserve because of poverty and different regimes in their country,” Narayanan explained.

The White House celebrates an event called “A night when hope & history rhyme”.

When asked about her biggest high school activity, she responded with an activity related to her passion for equalizing access to quality education. According to Sharada, the biggest activity in her high school career was her involvement in YMCA’s Changemakers, a program within Maryland Youth and Government.  During the YMCA’s Changemakers, she was invited to the White House for an event, and she created a project with her friend called the Financial Literacy Project. “It was incredible just to see all the recognition that kids my age were getting for the work that we’ve done to make America better,” she said. The Financial Literacy Project sought to propose a solution for the lack of financial literacy education for adults and kids through meetings at the local library and through the creation of a club to provide students with opportunities to start businesses. In curiosity, I asked Sharada how this activity impacted her. “It motivated me to work much harder and more passionately on the things that I loved and it changed my life, and showed me that if I put my mind to something, I can achieve it,” she responded.

I first met Sharada in Maryland Youth and Government in my sophomore year; she never failed to impress. She has pursued Youth and Government nationally by participating in the Conference on National Affairs, a summer program where teens speak on legislation they care about. Whenever Sharada spoke about an issue she was passionate about, she spoke about it with a strong vocabulary and was able to pull off a well-spoken speech on the spot. Sharada and I have been in the program for almost 3 years now.

Sharada and her family.

In her free time, Sharada likes to hike, learn traditional recipes, spend time with her family, and take naps whenever possible. In an educational sense, one fact she finds interesting about herself is that she was born on the day JFK died. “It made me feel connected to the White House in general, and it motivated me to look into the political leaders around me and what I can do as a future voter,” she explained.

Right now, Sharada has multiple possible future prospects. She is thinking about studying law, business, or medicine in college.  However, she is leaning more toward the law and business fields.  She believes that law and business will give her invaluable critical thinking and life skills to understand ways to address large groups of people through public speaking and convince people to be active members of society. “I have always been interested in law and business, especially as a kid, and for me, it is inspiring to see people be entrepreneurial and make their own path in this world. In terms of law, being able to fight the fight for people who don’t have that voice or representation in the criminal justice system just makes me feel empowered to change the world and make it a better place,” she added.