Sornam Sankar, Ph.D., is a native Tamil speaker who, along with 2 others, founded the first 100% volunteer-run community-based weekend school in Maryland, TALENT (Tamil Language Education and Training). He has been teaching Tamil language for middle and high school level students for the past 17 years.
When his daughter started going to public school at around age 6, he realized that she was going to lose her mother tongue, Tamil, which is one of the 7 classical languages in the world that is still spoken and has retained most of the vocabulary from its classical form. He decided to start a community-based school and also create an immersion environment by volunteering his whole family for most Tamil-related activities in this country. His family has been dedicating most of their leisure time to many organizations like American Tamil Academy, Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, Washington Tamil Sangam, Tamil Nadu Foundation, International Educational Foundation, International Medical Health Organization, Tamil Media International, and International Forum for Information Technology in Tamil. Currently he is serving as the secretary of the Trust organization called Tamil Chair Inc., which successfully raised $6 million to establish a permanent Tamil Department at Harvard University, Boston.
Dr. Sankar holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, and later received a M.S. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He is currently working as Vice President of Architecture in a multinational bank. He is also exploring development of community-based resources for teaching Tamil and training teachers in the United States to teach it.