(September 19, 2013)

First-year Uma Tadikonda becomes U.S. citizen

SHREVEPORT, LA — Last Tuesday first-year Centenary College student Uma Tadikonda became a U.S. citizen.

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First-year student Uma Tadikonda

Originally from India, Tadikonda came to the United States as a child and eventually ended up in Monroe, Louisiana. Her parents became U.S. citizens just a few years ago after traveling to New Orleans and passing several citizenship tests. Now Tadikonda can also enjoy citizenship after taking the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.

"The process was stressful up until the point the lady said, 'Congratulations, you're a citizen now," said Tadikonda. "It felt awesome. I can vote now and do all these things I couldn't do before."

Tadikonda says her whole family, both in the United States and in India, is excited about her becoming a U.S. citizen.

"To them, there are so many benefits that come with being a U.S. citizen. They're really proud of it because America is the land of opportunities. Being here, being part of this country, there's so much you can do...I'm just waiting for that day that I can vote, and I'll feel the power."

While Tadikonda and her family have fully embraced America, they still preserve their Indian heritage. "We celebrate Indian festivals...it's really fun because (Indian festivals) are so lively. There's a lot of dancing and singing, and I don't ever want to abandon that part. Even though we came to America, we still practice those Indian traditions. It's always been engrained in me to celebrate (my heritage) and not forget the culture."

Tadikonda graduated from Cedar Creek School in Ruston, Louisiana. She is studying biology and plans to pursue medicine like her father.