The winner of the 2012 Girls Gone Great Scholarship Essay Contest is Rupini Shukla, a senior at Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, MD.
Listen in to Ann’s interview with Rupini on WomanTalk Live on 03/31/12:
Being the Change – Meet Our 2012 Girl Gone Great
Rupini tells us a little bit about herself:
“I was born in Houston, Texas and moved to Silver Spring, Maryland at age 8. I am currently 17 years old and living in Columbia, Maryland. However, my family originates from India and consists of my parents, grandparents, and two younger siblings. Consequentially, Indian culture has impacted my life in many ways.
In Indian culture emphasis on education is virtually a heritage, a second nature. My culture teaches me that a proper education embodies self-respect and sophistication. Living by principles encompassed by these values, I have learned to aim high in terms of my goals and to have a clear, driven, and focused view of my future plans. This emphasis on my education has affected my work ethic and is reflected in my exceptional academic achievements.
I come from a rather tightly-bound, very supportive, educated family that has influenced me to pursue my interests while instilling the importance of religious and cultural parameters. Coming from such an erudite family background, I always have someone to look to if I need assistance in a subject matter of my diverse interests. Simultaneously, my family works to ensure that I get the best of all worlds and understand both our values and Hindu religion. “Nothing at the cost of your education” is a maxim that illustrates my way of life – a direct result of an impact derived from solid family ties.
My ancestors have stopped at nothing to establish a benchmark to raise a healthy, competitive spirit for future generations. Since a very young age, I had known my goal in life was to become a doctor. As I grew up, I realized there were many options to choose from in the medical field. Any path could open up an array of new possibilities and ways to dedicate tribute to my ancestors. My ancestral line consists of judges, lawyers, doctors, engineers, and professors, and I now feel it to be my responsibility and privilege to carry on my family’s name and tradition by living my dreams and aspirations. In essence, the pride, the honor, and the joy that accompany holding up the family name are truly unbelievable.
I am extremely fond of Bollywood, the Indian equivalent of Hollywood, and cricket. I am also very religiously inclined and can speak 4 languages aside from English. My hobbies include reading, writing, research, community service, singing, and spending time with family and friends. I am known to have an extremely balanced, optimistic, compassionate personality. While my drive for perfectionism irritates my friends at times, they know they can rely on me for help with academics and when they need logical advice, even in the middle of the night. I am passionate about Going Green for the environment, animal rights, and my studies, and believe that one should strive to be passionate about everything he does.
I attend Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, Maryland. My favorite classes include Calculus, Biology, and Journalism, though my favorite class in the entirety of my high school career has been Anatomy and Physiology.
All my life, I have been taught to choose a profession I enjoy instead of opting for one only because it pays well. I do believe in this, but thinking practically, it is necessary to have a balance of both. I want to go into the medical research field because it covers both bases. I enjoy working with others to help them overcome difficulties. This research profession also lies in the ballpark of my academic fortes, science and mathematics. This job appeals to me due to the crossover of both solid income and my prime interests.
While I was in the 11th grade, I became intensely interested in and researched Alzheimer’s disease. The prime inspiration behind my interest was my grandfather’s severe and worsening neurological condition; his mental deterioration had been diagnosed as potential Alzheimer’s disease. I witnessed my grandfather become depressed and torn between multiple personalities through no fault of his own. I realized that several emotions accompany the watching of a loved one suffer from progressive neural deterioration– helplessness, anger, confusion, frustration, even curiosity. After I completed this research, my interest in the condition failed to diminish. Motivated by personal forces of my life in conjunction with that of my grandfather’s, I have become keenly interested in pursuing research in the field of neurological sciences with the determination that I will one day be able to answer questions that have puzzled many learned and experienced researchers.”
Here’s what Rupini’s reference, her Volunteer Supervisor for over five years for the Teen Time After-School Initiative at Howard County Library, East Columbia Branch, had to say about Rupini:
“Not only does she serve her community through her Teen Time volunteer work, she is a Girl Scouts of Central Maryland ambassador; she is a peer tutor who specializes in Chemistry, Algebra 2, and Calculus; Rupini assists as a peer mediator to resolve school interpersonal conflicts; lastly, aside from English, she also speaks Gujarati, Hindi and Spanish, which demonstrates her efforts as a seasoned communicator.
At a time when teens succumb to the allure of peer pressure, Rupini is paving her own successful path and making a difference! I recommend her wholeheartedly for your 2012 Girls Gone Great award. I can think of no other girl who has gone greater than she has – and will! “