Fellow Spotlight: Shradha Parekh

Shradha wasn’t always interested in politics while growing up, but she quickly became interested after the 2016 election. She realized she was passionate about a lot of political issues in her community, but didn’t know where to find other people who had those same passions. When she stumbled upon the IGNITE Fellowship, she knew she was presented with an opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals. She applied to the Fellowship and became the first Columbus Fellow over two years ago. 

“This was truly the most life-changing experience I’ve ever had. My life would not be where it is now without the Fellowship.” 

Prior to becoming a Fellow, Shradha didn’t have a lot of experience organizing in her community but she was ready to introduce IGNITE to other young women who were looking for a political outlet. “These young women are eager and motivated to be politically engaged, they just needed the space to do so,” she says. 

To Shradha, being a Fellow has everything to do with becoming a leader and supporting the young women in your community. Shradha shares that before becoming an IGNITE Fellow, she wasn’t sure if she could be an effective leader but through this experience has learned that she is one. “At first, I didn’t really believe in myself. Looking back at the person I was then and the person I am now, I see two completely different people.” 

Bonding with the Fellows and the other young women in her city is one of the things that Shradha is most grateful for. “The first word that pops into my head when I think of the Fellowship is definitely sisterhood. The Fellows across the country and the young women locally all feel like my real sisters,” says Shradha. 

Through the Fellowship, Shradha has also made connections with elected officials and feels even more empowered to reach out to other people both professionally and personally. In the future, Shradha hopes to continue being engaged in her community, but for now, she plans to focus on being a mom. 

As someone who faced self-doubt before applying to become an IGNITE Fellow, Shradha wants you to realize your potential. “Any woman seeking out an opportunity like this is qualified to be a Fellow, because you’re taking initiative. At the end of the day, it’s all about being passionate about the issues in your community.” 

Interested in becoming an IGNITE Fellow? Apply here