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NPRI announces 2014 scholarship winner

Phalguni Vetrichelvan, a soon-to-be graduate of Advanced Technologies Academy, is the 2014 recipient of the Professor R.S. Nigam & NPRI Freedom Scholarship.


Vetrichelvan was selected as this year’s scholarship recipient because of her exemplary academic record, extensive volunteer and extra-curricular activities and her ability to communicate the benefits of free-market principles in her essay to the question of whether a downtown Las Vegas sports arena should be funded with public or private money.

In her essay, Vetrichelvan wrote:

In the world of government funding, everything comes at a price. The concept of opportunity cost, or a perceived amount of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action, plays a pivotal role in determining the city’s role. What exactly would we be giving up, and if so, is it worth it? This type of question is something the city must address before moving forward with its decision. Since our economy is founded upon the basis of “choices”, what we choose determines what we get. So let’s make the smart choice.

“Phalguni’s level of community involvement and aspiration of continuing her education in the field of economics set her above the other scholarship applicants, all of whom were strong candidates for the competitive award,” said Swadeep Nigam, the generous provider of the scholarship. “Phalguni demonstrated a clear understanding of the benefits of free markets and effectively advocated for a private solution to the development of a sports arena in Las Vegas.”

Among Vetrichelvan’s many extra-curricular activities throughout her high school career were mock trial, the exchange interaction program Road to Doha and serving as a flute soloist in the jazz band. Her community service work included tutoring children who have cancer through the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, recruiting middle school students as an Advanced Technologies Ambassador, volunteering with the National Honor Society and participating in Trial by Peers.

Her 4.75 GPA ranks her third out of 208 graduates. Among Vetrichelvan’s academic achievements are being named student of the month and AP Scholar with Distinction for her excellent scores on multiple college-level exams; placing first at the 2014 national tournament qualifier for domestic extemporaneous speaking and being named Nevada’s Youth Legislator for District 5 in the 2012-2013 school year.


Phalguni Vetrichelvan receives a $2,500 scholarship from NPRI President Andy Matthews, right, and scholarship provider Swadeep Nigam. Vetrichelvan is the winner of the 2014 Professor R.S. Nigam & NPRI Freedom Scholarship.


Vetrichelvan plans to pursue a degree in international relations and political economy. She will likely attend Georgetown School of Foreign Service in the fall.

This is the fourth year NPRI has offered a college scholarship to a deserving Clark County graduate. The award is named after Professor R.S. Nigam, who was a director of the Delhi School of Economics at the University of Delhi, a visiting professor at the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a senior fellow at the University of Wisconsin, in addition to academic engagements in Europe, the West Indies and Asia, including North Korea. The award is made possible by Professor Nigam’s son, Swadeep Nigam, who has generously donated the scholarship. He is an active member of NPRI and has resided in Las Vegas for the past 27 years.

Previous recipients of the Professor R.S. Nigam & NPRI Freedom Scholarship include Katarina A. Krouse, Daniel Waqar and Julianne Newman.

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