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Preeti is from Gudiyatham, Vellore. Her family consisted of her father, mother, and older sister. Preeti’s father passed away in 2013, while her sister, six years older than Preeti, is now married. Preeti and her mom survive on their own, without help from any of their family. They were living in their own house, but pledged it after 2013.

Before he passed away, Preeti’s dad owned a small printing press, working it with Preeti’s mother. Since his death, the printing press has been discontinued. Preeti’s mom is now doing small work for daily wages such as tailoring and garland-making. She makes around 2,000 rupees (around 27.55 USD) per month. Preeti’s sister was working in a clothing company and got married a year back. She did not continue her studies after 12th and the family is now focusing more on Preeti.

Since Preeti was her school’s top student in tenth grade, she got a free seat for eleventh. Preeti is determined to work for a big company like Microsoft or Google and change her family’s situation. She is studying computer science in English medium. She gets up every morning at 4:30 and reaches her college by 8:00. In the evening, she leaves college by 7:00 and gets home at 9:00. The long hours are due to the fact that she is taking an integrated course, and has to finish MTech in 5 years. Preeti got a merit seat for her college; her fees are 84000 rupees per year (1157.06 USD). Without any tuition, Preeti depends on the library and the internet when she needs help in her studies.

Speaking of the library, Preeti loves to read books. She know Hindi and a little Telugu. Preeti likes to read the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, and the Quran because they teach the same values in different ways. Preeti does not have access to her school’s library, but instead checks out books from the library in her village, where her dad taught her how to check out and read books. She remembers her dad told her to read books about people who failed initially, but succeeded with perseverance and determination, impressing upon her the value of hard work.

In addition to reading, Preeti also enjoys speech. She has received a few district awards for her speeches, and takes a class in speech. Preeti’s skill carried over to the interview. Even though the questions were in English and a little fast, Preeti kept up pretty well and answered the questions confidently. Preeti’s goal is to stabilize herself and then help out other struggling students like herself.