Poonam Singh

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services Examination is one of the toughest competitive examinations in India that tests the mettle of aspirants nationwide. Amongst thousands who undertake this arduous journey each year, few emerge victorious, earning prestigious administrative posts in the Indian government. 

One such inspiring success story is that of Sreedhanya Suresh, the first tribal woman from Kerala to conquer the UPSC CSE and ascend to the prestigious position of an IAS officer.

Hailing from the Kurichiya tribe in Wayanad, Kerala, Sreedhanya's childhood was marked by adversities and resource limitations. Undeterred, she remained steadfast in her academic pursuits, completing her school education at St. Joseph’s College in Calicut, as per a News18 report. 

Pursuing zoology in Kozhikode post-school, she furthered her studies at Calicut University, attaining a master’s degree in applied zoology. Despite being a bright student, a scarcity of essential resources presented hurdles along her journey.

Sreedhanya worked in the Scheduled Tribe Development Department of the state government after completing her master’s. In order to earn some extra money, she also used to work as a warden in the hostel of tribal students. But despite earning money, she wasn’t satisfied with her job. She wanted to do something else in her life. Yearning for a more impactful career led her to a pivotal decision—embarking on the challenging path of UPSC preparation.

In 2018, Sreedhanya cleared the initial rounds, but financial constraints threatened to derail her aspirations during the crucial interview round in Delhi. 

However, her friends rallied around her, providing the necessary financial support to attend the interview. With unwavering determination, she not only overcame these hurdles but secured an impressive All India Rank (AIR) of 410, etching her name in history as the first tribal woman from Kerala to attain the esteemed rank of an IAS officer.