UpakarIndian-American Scholarship Foundation

2009 Scholarship Announcement


Non-profit supports talented students of Indian descent

The Upakar Foundation today announced the recipients of its 2009 scholarship awards. This year’s recipients are Treesa Anthony of Novi, Michigan and Jay Dave of Bettendorf, Iowa. These new Upakar Scholars complement the 21 other Indo-American students who will be renewed for scholarship grants for the 2009-10 academic year.

“The Upakar Foundation would like to congratulate Treesa and Jay on receiving the 2009 scholarship awards,” said Nirupma Rohatgi, Chairwoman of Upakar. “Their outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements in high school should be celebrated, and we wish them both continued success in college. Giving talented Indo-Americans like Treesa and Jay an opportunity to obtain a quality higher education is what Upakar is all about.”

The Upakar Foundation was established in 1997 to combat the “model minority” stereotype that all Indo-Americans are wealthy and can afford the soaring costs of a higher education. Although most members of the community are financially well-off, around 12% live below the poverty line.

Upakar’s mission has been guided by a belief in recognizing and nurturing excellence by Indo-Americans in all fields. The scholarship program, which marks its eleventh anniversary in 2009, perfectly complements this statement of purpose. Including Jay and Treesa, the Upakar Foundation has provided financial assistance to 103 Indo-American scholars over the past eleven years; these students have hailed from 30 states across the country.

“The Upakar scholarship program is designed to help Indo-American students who otherwise would be unable to afford college,” said Jyotsna Gupta Jalil, Vice President of Upakar. “We look for high-achieving students and give them a little bit of a boost in pursuing a higher education. Most of our community is focused on helping back in India, but there is also a significant need here. Education is the best investment in our community’s future, and I am proud that Upakar has filled this unmet need for more than a decade.”

Upakar’s selection criteria make it a one-of-a-kind organization in the Indo-American community. First, the scholarship only applies to students with at least one parent born in India (or the student him or herself). Second, the student must be either a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder. Third, there is a strict cap on family adjusted gross income so that scholarships target those most in need. Fourth and finally, applicants must have a cumulative unweighted grade point average in high school above 3.6 and submit recommendation forms, test scores, and associated paperwork. This assures that the brightest and most needy Indo-American students qualify for assistance.

The standards Upakar does not apply also are important. Scholarship money is given independent of where the applicant goes to college. This allows an applicant to choose a more expensive private o r out-of-state university and not be punished in the selection process. In addition, Upakar does not maintain quotas based on major or career goals. While a number of recipients do pursue careers in traditional Indo-American fields, including law, medicine, and business, Upakar encourages applications from students with other aspirations. Finally, as long as recipients maintain a 3.3 cumulative grade point average, Upakar renews its scholarship commitment for four years.

The biographies of this year’s recipients are below:

Treesa Anthony of Novi, Michigan has lived in the United States for only four years. She has excelled in the classroom, but she stands out for her dedication to the community. In addition to volunteering at local hospitals, Treesa started a mentoring program at her high school and has enlisted a group of 15 freshmen to take it over. She also has spent multiple summers volunteering in health clinics in the state of Kerala, India. Treesa will be attending Wayne State University in Detroit, MI in the fall to pursue a degree in biology.

Jay Dave of Bettendorf, Iowa is a world traveler who attended three different high schools. After moving from Bangkok, Thailand at age 16, Jay spent one year in South Carolina and the last two in Iowa. He graduated first in his class of around 300 students and also excelled outside the classroom. Jay will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA in the fall and has not decided on a career path.

Scholarship applications for the 2010-11 academic year will be available in February 2010, and the submission deadline will be around May 1. To learn more about the Upakar Foundation, please visit www.upakarfoundation.org. Donation inquiries may be directed to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .