In this interview series where we ask questions to people who are making a difference, it can be big, it can be small, it doesn’t matter, what matters is their contribution to our society. It can be anyone from any walk of life and from any country. Please, do send us suggestions of people whom you think we should interview for this series.
Atharva Athalye is an 11th grader at Alpharetta High School in Alpharetta, GA. A 3rd Degree Black Belt, a recreational ping-pong player, and an active volunteer in and around the Metro Atlanta Area helping the community in numerous ways. Atharva have been working very closely with the Georgia Thrombosis Forum for almost four years, attempting to educate the public of a common health issue that’s is uncommonly known. He hope to one day become a successful medical professional giving back to my community in the best way possible.
1.Tell us something about yourself?
My name is Atharva Athalye, a Junior (11th) at Alpharetta High School in Alpharetta, GA. My passion is volunteering, through which I have gained many essential skills for my future and helped many others do the same.
2.Tell us something about your research on thrombosis?
I have been working with the Georgia Thrombosis Forum (GTF) for the past 3.5 years to spread awareness of thrombosis. Thrombosis is a deadly medical condition that causes blood clots in your blood vessels and is very common as one person is diagnosed with a blood clot every minute and one person dies due to a blood clot every 6 minutes. Even though it is so common, it is very uncommonly known. GTF has been hard at work trying to get the number of unaware people lower and have successfully done so in their 4 years of existence. GTF has provided me many opportunities such as researching the relationship between Brain Tumors and Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). In my research, I found that there is a very strong connection between the two illnesses as the risk of VTE significantly rises in Brain Tumor patients. I also found that those with Malignant Gliomas, a severe and rare type of tumor, have a heightened risk of future Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a type of thrombosis that causes blood clots in deep veins. This research tested my skills in understanding higher level scientific articles, synthesizing information, writing, as well as presenting my findings which I had already prepared for though other projects with GTF.
3. Do you think countries around the world take thrombosis seriously?
Many countries have not even realized that Thrombosis is an imminent threat. Through a research project another volunteer did about other countries in the world and their knowledge of thrombosis, I learned that India was one of those who had almost nothing on Thrombosis anywhere. Some doctors did not even know of this condition. I think that it is a very serious condition and countries around the world must understand its severity.
4. What were some of the recognitions that you got for your work?
Through volunteering, I have been given the Presidential Volunteer Service Award: Gold, been accepted into the GivingPoint Institute, received the Great Strides Award from GivingPoint, been invited for internships from Loyola University in Chicago and the North American Thrombosis Forum in Boston, received the All-Rounder Award from GTF, and acquired a Proclamation from Fulton County, GA recognizing a Thrombosis Awareness Day for GTF.
5. As a youth what are some of the issues that concern you most and what do you want to do about them?
Because I am a youth, there are not many issues that pertain directly to me. But one very important issue for me is youth health. I know that there are lots of health conditions that are very common in young people however there is nobody advocating the awareness of these problems. Because the elderly get sick more commonly, the generalization that younger people are always healthy is not at all true. I want to change the mindset of people and show that they must know what they are fighting against and I’ve taken the first step in my journey by volunteering as much as I can in health education projects.
6. Who inspires you most as a person? How do your family, mentor and friends support you in your efforts?
I think my mother inspires me the most. She is a professional table-tennis coach, however she still manages to take enough time out of her day to work as a Board Member in GTF. She has showed me that I should pursue a career in what I love to do all while giving back to the community and making sure that there is ample time in my life for both. My family has always been right with me and supporting me in whatever I do. I have tried out many activities to see if I liked them and they have encouraged me every time I tried something new. My family has also pushed me to be the best person I can be and do anything and everything to the best of my ability always.
7. Do you think when it comes to getting an admission into top universities; students from underprivileged backgrounds are at a disadvantage compared to other well-off students?
Those students might be at a small disadvantage compared to those that are well-off mainly because of the quality of education. Although they have a small disadvantage, they still have the same opportunities to impact their communities as the other students. I think that impacting their community is a far better prize than getting accepted into a “top university” because it helps you in an innumerable amount of ways that simple education cannot do. Getting out and helping others brings out the true qualities one possesses and that can make up for any disadvantage these students have.
8.Do you think making education in public colleges free or subsidizing it would level the playing field?
I think that making public college free could possibly help in leveling the playing field because it would give everyone the opportunity to work hard in high school and get into college as they know that the goal is attainable. For some right now, they know they don’t have enough money to go to college and that shouldn’t be right. Everyone should have a deserving opportunity because education is very crucial for success, especially right now when the competition is so high.
9. What are your aims for the future?
I want to pursue a career in medicine, specifically in neurology or cardiology, and hopefully become Dr. Athalye one day!
10. Your message for our readers?
My message to the readers is that each one of you needs to go out and follow your passion and give back to community, especially because it gives you so much.