By Ashwini Joshi ’17 (ENG)
From UConn Magazine
For biomedical engineering major and aspiring physician Ashwini Joshi ’17 (ENG), substantial scholarship support has offered immeasurable opportunities to grow not only as a successful UConn student, but also as a researcher, community leader, and global citizen. The recipient of UConn’s Nutmeg Scholarship, as well as the University’s first-ever Stamps Scholar, Joshi, a native of West Hartford, Conn., shares her insight into the invaluable experiences now available to her as she strives to make the most of every day in Storrs – and beyond.
My thoughts raced as I opened an envelope from the University of Connecticut. In this envelope, I knew, would be the first of several college decision letters that would shape the future of my high school self. “Congratulations,” it began.
The letter went on to inform me that I had received the Nutmeg Scholarship, a merit scholarship covering the full cost of attendance for four undergraduate years at UConn. One interview and three months later, I was also awarded the Stamps Scholarship, which would provide additional enrichment funding for activities such as studying abroad and pursuing research interests. I was beyond grateful that UConn believed in me and knew that, with this support, I would have great opportunities in Storrs.
Over these past two years, I’ve come to love UConn more than I ever imagined. As a pre-med biomedical engineering student, I have enjoyed challenging coursework ranging from physics to organic chemistry to English. Even outside the classroom, several opportunities have helped me develop as a student and thinker. Last spring, I began working with a biomechanics professor on an ergonomic knife-handle design project in a musculoskeletal systems modeling laboratory. This coming summer, I am looking forward to conducting medical research on a certain type of thyroid cancer. As I continue on through my undergraduate years, I am confident that I will be learning how to solve the current, complex problems in medicine and biomedical engineering in creative ways.
Beyond my focus in the science, technology, engineering, and math – or STEM – fields, I have also been able to develop my interest in French language and culture through a minor in French. Last summer, between my freshman and sophomore years, I spent four weeks in Toulouse, France. Through unexpected conversations at the bus stop, classes at a language school, daily trips to the boulangeries and pâtisseries, dinners with my host family, and day trips to nearby villages, I lived my childhood dream of traveling to France. The Stamps Scholarship’s enrichment funding made this amazing experience possible, and I cannot thank the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation enough for supporting my goals.
On campus, my sorority Phi Sigma Rho – a social sorority for women in engineering – has been a constant source of encouragement and opportunity, allowing me to grow as a leader and member of the greater UConn community. In addition to becoming involved through service projects such as teaching middle school girls about engineering, I have also been able to invest myself in the sorority itself through my position on the sorority’s academic board. Encouraging my sisters in their academic endeavors in engineering has been incredibly rewarding and, in the next year, I look forward to developing further as a leader on our executive board.
I am also incredibly grateful and fortunate that Phi Rho exposed me to HuskyTHON, a yearlong fundraising effort culminating in an 18-hour dance marathon benefiting the kids at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In my freshman year, I was eager to stand on my feet for 18 hours to dance for those who cannot. At HuskyTHON, I was amazed to see just how a few thousand college students can change the lives of so many families when we all come together to work for a common goal. Serving on the management team this year, I am already achieving one of my goals of using my own skills and time to help others. I am looking forward to the HuskyTHONs to come and am thankful that my scholarships have given me the time and freedom to pursue something so meaningful.
As I reflect on my past four semesters here at UConn, I have come to the same conclusion that I did after my first semester: I would not be the person I am today without the generous support from my scholarships. Their value goes beyond the funding itself by providing me chances to develop my personal qualities, and I would like to pass this opportunity on to future students. After graduation, I know I will find a way to give back so that someone else can come to love UConn as much as I do.