Akanksha Arya, majoring in Biology, is a JustJobs Scholarship finalist

Akanksha Arya_2October 13th, 1999, 9:00 pm Indian Standard Time: The flight attendant came on the speaker and asked everyone to buckle their seatbelt. I was both nervous and anxious. I had never been on a flight before, nor had I even been outside of the northern region of India. Just hours before my flight, our house was overflowing with my aunts and uncles who were all giving me hugs and crying as they said goodbye. My dad was chosen out of thousands by the Indian Embassy to represent them in United States. As I sat on the plane looking for the last time at the beautiful Delhi skyline, I knew deep inside my seven year-old heart that this would be one of the most memorable journeys of my life.

After overcoming the initial homesickness, I found America fascinating. I loved the friendly teachers who brought cake to school, loved the beautiful apartment the Embassy provided us and even began to love the cold harsh winters that brought snow and a new tradition of Santa Claus. I enjoyed and lived innocently in my little 7-year-old world–not knowing that it was temporary and soon would come to an end.

September 11, 2002: While this date was remembered by most as the one year anniversary of the horrifying event of 9/11, I will always remember it as ground zero of the greatest challenge in my life. It was the day that my father decided not to return to India, at the end of his three-year term. It was the day he would give up his secure position in the Indian government to give my younger brother and me an American education. It was the day we moved from a lavish three-bedroom apartment to a cramped efficiency. It was the day my mother picked up an extra shift at work and my father went back to school to get an American degree. It was the day we downsized and told my six-year-old brother that Santa wouldn’t be coming anymore. It was the day, together as a family, we promised to support each other through our struggle to achieve the American Dream.

It was also the day that I became motivated to excel in school and avail myself of every opportunity. At the age of ten I gained an appreciation for the sacrifices that my parents were making.

For some people, life seems to come naturally. This is not the case with me. I have experienced many challenges, first hand. The cultural adjustment, loss of family and sacrifice of material comforts have made me a stronger person. The struggles and sacrifices of my parents remind me each day of the hard work that is necessary in order to achieve my goals and to make-up for what was lost.

I chose to be a Biology major because I know that everyone has struggles and that in this fight against life we have so much to lose. We need our good health if we are going to succeed in our attempts to achieving our dreams. I wouldn’t be able to tell you where my family and I would be if along with our struggles we also had to deal with the burden of wavering health. We need our physical strength to support our emotional one. This is why after I graduate from Towson University I plan on going into research to find a cure for infectious diseases like Cancer and HIV. This is why wining this scholarship would mean the world to me as it would allow me to fund my education and help me receive the necessary tools for making a difference in today’s community.

We are proud to announce Akanksha Arya is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • Richard Springer

    I have know Akanksha for 4 years and she is amongst the most dedicated and strong willed people I have ever met. She is really deserving of this scholarship because even when she could no longer live on campus due to her financial burdens she didn’t give up. She decided to commute over an hour five days a week to get to school and continue her education. And on top of that made the biology honor society, interned with a professor doing research in her field and even found time to take advantage of EMT volunteer opportunities in her home town. She is a great person for this scholarship not to mention a true example of someone pursuing the American Dream. She should win.

  • Varun Tevatia

    inspirational ………. all d best nicky….

  • Darian

    Akanksha Arya is more than my best friend, she is more like a sister to me. I’ve gotten to see her flourish into the beautiful, brilliant, hard-working student that she is now; therefore, I know that no one is more deserving of this scholarship than she is.

    Since I’ve known Akanksha as long as I have, I also know that she is no stranger to persistence and dedication when it comes to pursuing her academic goals. This has been a pattern of hers since way before college, in high school she participated in every activity imaginable, as well as maintaining an impeccable gpa and encouraging others around her to strive to be their best. I’ve seen these aspects of her personality first hand because she has always been there to inspire me to do better and persevere.

    Biology has always been Nicky’s (as some of her friends call her) first love. This scholarship would not only change her life by allowing her to further pursue her dreams, but probably change the lives of all the people who’s lives she will touch in subsequent years.

    In conclusion, Nicky (Akanksha) Arya deserves this scholarship more than anyone.

  • Claire Baldwin

    good luck! this is fantastic, you deserve to win.

  • Sudhir

    I’m proud of you Nicky. Your commitment to your goals is indeed commendable! I wish you win.

  • Gaurav Tamta

    Hi Akanksha,
    It’s a very well composed essay, I really liked it. I could truly connect with your writing style … extracts from your childhood memories, adapting to new culture, your family’s sacrifices and shifting priorities, the way you motivated yourself to pursue your family’s expectations, your personal aspiration and a very positive intent behind it… all of it 🙂

    To me this essay really reflects on your adaptability, strong value system, self belief, determination, positive outlook & thought clarity. I truly feel your deserve the best from life and will surely achieve all yours dreams. All the best!!!

  • Janina Reyes

    I met Akanksha Arya in towson university sophomore year of college and now she is one of my closest friends and is a great candidate for this scholarship.
    This essay is just a small piece on what a great person she is and the obstacles she has overcome to get where she is. Although she had all these obstacles, she is a full time student, an EMT, tutors kids, and has done research and is going to do more research with various professors. On top of that she knows three languages. She is very driven and knows what she needs to do to get to where she wants to get in life. I know that she will get far in life, without a doubt. With everything that she does she manages to balance it all and be a great daughter and a great friend. She deserves everything that she has come across because she achieved it on her own.
    As you can see she is very well rounded and will do Great things.

  • Emily

    Akanksha is the hardest worker I know. She was my roommate sophomore year and I have always been inspired by her knowledge, passion, and dedication for her major and her schoolwork. She drove me to work hard in school too because she set such a great example. Her determination and diligence is truly admirable and she definitely deserves the scholarship!

  • Marie

    Your story is truly inspirational and warrants acknowledgement. Unlike many other scholarship essays which I have read, your’s reads as a story and not just a helpless plea for money. I would select you, because you are on the quest for the American dream and that is what America has and should be based on. Best of Luck!!

  • Akshay Kumar

    Literally blown away! you deserve this and much more!

  • Arun Arya

    This is a touching story of your self-belief and hard work. I am sure that with your determination and perseverance, you would accomplish your goal to serve humanity through medical research. Being a sincere student of Biology will be an important milestone in your journey. Focus now on the remaining distance to travel…

  • Monica Dinesh

    Akanksha you have done a great job and your essay showed the meaning of family, it also depicts your goal of welfare of humanbeings and story of your hardwork to achieve it. I think you deserve it.

  • Aseem Kumar Arya

    absolutely incredible. i hope you win, you deserve it!

  • Abhas Arya

    really inspirational essay Nicky!

  • Suman

    this essay made me really emotional. what wonderful feelings to describe your childhood experience with. I love it. You should win.

  • bellasanders

    This is very inspiring and I wish her to win.she is diligent and hard-working

  • disqus_3Kom4yLpmB

    I really support and encourage Akanksha’s views and aspirations. You have had an incredible journey. Blessing for your success. Wishing you win!!

  • Guest

    Akanksha deserves this scholarship! She is an unfailingly hardworker, and I wish her the best in her journey!

  • Edalaine Tangkeko

    Akanksha definitely deserves this scholarship. I have seen her grow from high school to the collegiate woman that she is now. She loves the life that she lives here with friendships stronger than what life can throw- but more importantly she has developed a love of helping people, a true passion of caring for people. That is what this scholarship can give her, a chance at continuing her passion and as a fellow immigrant I can understand her point of view. No one should ever be denied an education or struggle to continue theirs because of lack of finances. Akanksha is well worthy of this scholarship- because she will for a fact use it to fuel her intelligence to indeed make a difference in this world.

  • Adrienne M

    Akanksha deserves this scholarship because not only does she understnad hardwork and perserverance, she lives it. I’ve never seen her give up on something because it was “too hard”. She tries her best to excel in everything she does. Academic or otherwise.

  • Melissa

    I know Akanksha Arya as a fellow student at Towson University and friend. She is amazing in her dedication to her academics. It’s not uncommon to hear how she stayed up all night studying for tests and then driving 2 hours to get to class, or to hear she’s spent hours in the library really striving for her goals in the Biology major. At the same time, she volunteers with a first responder team that goes to accident sites to try to help people in crisis. She always has stories to tell about how she found this case fascinating or how she can’t wait to help people in her career. She truly deserves this scholarship, I don’t know many students who work as hard as her to succeed.

    Also, in my opinion, this essay is very well written. I especially like how she takes something as universal in American culture as 9/11 and explains how it was especially significant for her.
    Again, I hope you will chose Akanksha, I know you can feel confident that you are helping an amazing student and person succeed.

  • Jo

    Awesome essay that really deserves to win in my opinion!