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October 26, 2023

Gorthi’s dreams coming true through magical world of AI

Katie Park
Coppell High School senior Lakshmi Gorthi is one of 100 individuals selected across the nation to attend the Disney Dreamers Academy. The Disney Dreamers Academy is a four-day mentorship that allows students to develop individual career-based skills. Photo illustration by Emmalee Jittasupo and Katie Park

Waiting for time to pass, Coppell High School senior Lakshmi Gorthi paces around her room, until finally she receives an envelope from UPS, reading the name it states the Disney Dreamers Academy

After being rejected for the last two years, Gorthi refuses to let this be the final outcome, but the journey to getting accepted was a long one.

Gorthi is one of a 100 individuals selected across the nation to attend a mentorship program at the Disney Dreamers Academy, between April 3-7 at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida.

Through a series of meetings with celebrities, business leaders and authors, the academy serves to provide support developing career skills. For Gorthi, she will meet with current leaders in the field of computer science and psychology to learn what it means to pioneer her dreams into reality. 

The program also offers complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and theme park tickets. Planning ahead for the program, Gorthi strives to use her passion of computer science and psychology to conduct a project on AI.

While scrolling through social media as a sophomore, Gorthi found a post about the Disney Dream Academy. After spending months researching the program, Gorthi’s first application was during her sophomore year. However, when the much anticipated decisions arrived, she was faced with her first disappointing rejection. 

Not giving up, she applied again her junior year and was met with the same decision. Yet, in applying during her senior year, a new outcome awaited her.

 “I jumped for joy,” Gorthi said. “I was applying for the past two years, I finally made it. It was a very momentous occasion to say the least.” 

In Coppell Middle School West, Gorthi had struggled to find a passion, until eighth grade when Gorthi took her first coding class.  

Coppell High School senior Lakshmi Gorthi was one of 100 individuals selected across the nation to attend the Disney Dreamers Academy. The Disney Dreamers Academy is a four-day mentorship that allows students to develop individual career-based skills. Photo illustration by Emmalee Jittasupo (Emmalee Jittasupo)

“It taught me that computer science is more than just coding, it can be connected to anything you want it to be,” Gorthi said. 

Since, Gorthi’s initial passion in a coding class has involved within the Technology Student Association (TSA) as her position of the service committee chair. 

Her love for coding also manifested into founding a nonprofit organization, Accel Learning Foundation, which tutors students in both different foreign and programming languages and donates proceeds to the World Literacy Foundation. 

“Seeing her growth from the beginning, and how she is now is inspiring, she is so much more outgoing and lively,” said Michael McCabe, Lakshmi’s former computer science teacher. “She just has this positive attitude that’s infectious and  her love of knowledge is amazing to watch.” 

Gorthi’s spark of interest for psychology began in freshman year. She has always been fascinated by the brain, and had the opportunity to showcase this by entering in competition for the American Psychology Association where she conducted a research paper on schizophrenia.

“I didn’t win, but it was definitely a meaningful experience,” Gorthi said. “It propelled my interest in psychology even further.” 

With her love for computer science, psychology and knowledge of computational linguistics, Gorthi combines both fields to create AI detection that can be implemented with treating psychological disorders and diseases for the Disney Dreamers Academy.

Gorthi hopes combining computer science with psychology will keep her on her toes. 

“I want to live on the happiness I get when I learn something new,” Gorthi said. 

AI has been a contributor to Gorthi’s everyday life. With many scared of what the future holds with AI, Gorthi thinks using AI would solve many challenges we have today. 

“AI has suddenly become this weapon of creativity that doesn’t hurt us, but rather solves problems that have been confusing generations for years,” Gorthi said. 

During the past two years of applying to the Disney Dream Academy, Gorthi has received encouragement from her friends to continue with the program and to keep applying. 

“I’m very proud of how far she’s come and I know she’s been dedicated to this project for a long time, I’m so happy to see that she made it into the program,” senior Nandini Pajankar said. “From the start she’d been incredibly motivated to take her interest and make a big impact on a larger scale, and I believe that the Disney Dreamers Academy is the perfect fit for her.” 

When applying for the Disney Dreamers Academy, Gorthi kept reminding herself of her dreams as motivation. 

“I believe that people have dreams, but people who are willing to act on them will have a better chance of being successful,” Gorthi said.

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About the Contributors
Emmalee Jittasupo, Staff Writer
Emmalee Jittasupo is a sophomore and a first-year staff writer on The Sidekick.
Katie Park, Staff Writer
Katie Park is a sophomore and a first year member of the Sidekick. In her spare time she enjoys sewing and designing her clothing. Continuing along the artistic front, Katie loves using acrylic paint to recreate/draw inspiration from Monet’s paintings. Katie is also a multi instrumentalist, and can play the piano, ukulele, and guitar. A song she loves to play on the piano is Clair de Lune, because it was featured on one of her favorite movies, Twilight. Besides the classical piece Clair de Lune, Katie’s favorite music artists are Laufey and Taylor swift. Her favorite song from Laufey is “Lovesick” and her most favorite Taylor Swift album is Red. Outside of the classroom, Katie finds entertainment in the novels she reads. Recently, Katie completed the ‘A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder’ series while she was in Taiwan this summer. Being of Taiwanese and Korean heritage, Katie explores different aspects of her culture by testing her spice levels regarding Korean food. In the future, Katie aspires to work in the medical field. Like many others, this inspiration arose from her watching of the medical drama series, “Grey’s Anatomy.” She already has a jumpstart to her career this year-by taking both health science and medical terminology.

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