She may be young, but the Islander is already making an immense impact in the world.
Mercer Island High School senior Subhadra Vadlamannati said it’s a privilege to be positioned alongside exceptional entrepreneurs, inventors and professional athletes on the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 Local Seattle list.
At just age 17, she’s the youngest of the honorees for founding the nonprofit Linguistics Justice League, which advocates for low-resource languages, such as African dialects and a multitude of others. She also developed the EduLang app that utilizes interactive books and storytelling to guide non-English speaking students in grades K-5 to begin grasping the English language, according to a previous Reporter story.
The inaugural list also includes fellow Mercer Islander Jordan Morris of the Seattle Sounders FC and US World Cup soccer squads. Morris has Type 1 diabetes and “inspires diabetic youth through his foundation, hosting soccer camps for T1 diabetic youth and presenting his game jerseys to T1D children after matches,” according to Forbes.
The soccer star notes on the Jordan Morris Foundation site: “I’m blessed to be given this platform. I would like to reach as many young people with diabetes as possible, in order to show them that T1D doesn’t have to keep them from achieving their dreams.” A SoundersFC.com story added that Morris has dedicated his philanthropy efforts toward educating, inspiring and supporting children with Type 1 diabetes.
While discussing her accolade, Vadlamannati noted that she’s grateful to receive $35,000 in funding from Microsoft, T-Mobile, Google and others to help guide her along this journey.
“I am deeply humbled and incredibly honored to have been selected for the Forbes Under 30 Local List,” she said. “There are more than 6,800 low-resource languages worldwide, but they are often overlooked by the internet, media and governments. I am committed to advocating for linguistics justice for the 3 billion low-resource language speakers across the world.”
Vadlamannati, who delivered a TEDx talk in Memphis, Tennessee that focused on the implications of language barriers titled “Are We Ignoring 3 Billion Voices?,” said she’s inspired to advance her mission even further after garnering the Forbes recognition. Joined by a team of ultra-dedicated, -passionate and -committed members — matched with the invaluable support of collaborators and mentors — they strive to “create meaningful change and (the honor) encourages us to work even harder.”
Bolstered by the Forbes commendation, the league next aspires to enhance EduLang — which won a Congressional App Challenge — and its other products along with its advocacy programs, such as a speaker series, language workshops and more. A forthcoming product is Heritage Hub, which is “a portal to upload stories from cultures across the world thereby fostering language and culture preservation.”
During her TEDx talk, Vadlamannati said that she learned a low-resource language and aims to help mitigate the digital divide by ushering people along the way in locating translations into their own languages.