UpakarIndian-American Scholarship Foundation

2011 Scholarship Announcement

October 21, 2011


Non-profit continues support of deserving Indian-American students

The Upakar Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of its 2011 scholarship awards.  This year’s five awardees are: Yukti Abrol of Jackson Heights, New York, Parth Dave of Bettendorf, Iowa, Gurleen Kaur Dhillon of San Jose, California, Krupali Patel of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and Nishita Soneji of Victoria, Texas.  The class of 2015 joins fourteen other Upakar scholars who have maintained their academic excellence and will be renewed for the 2011-12 academic year.

“Another year; another excellent set of Upakar scholars,” Upakar President Nirupma Rohatgi said.  “We are thrilled to welcome five more deserving Indian-American students into our scholarship program.  We wish them many years of academic and professional successes.”

The Upakar Foundation was established in 1997 to address the “model minority” stereotype that all Indian-Americans can afford college.  Although the community has the highest per capita income of any ethnic group in the U.S., around 12% of Indian-Americans still live below the poverty line.

Upakar’s mission is to help Indian-American students realize their educational goals by providing annual scholarships that acknowledge academic excellence and consider financial need.  The scholarship program, now in its 13th year, has aided 113 Indian-American students from 30 states.

“Upakar remains a unique organization in the Indian-American community,” Upakar Treasurer Nithya Nagarajan said.  “In spite of the economic downturn, we have continued to provide scholarships to outstanding candidates.  And Upakar is not done yet: its best years are still to come.”

Upakar scholarships go to a child born in India or with an Indian-born parent.  He or she must be either a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder and must commit to a four-year college or university.  Financial need is determined by family adjusted gross income (AGI).  Scholars must carry an unweighted high school grade point average (GPA) above 3.6.  Finally, as long as a scholar’s GPA stays above 3.3, Upakar will renew the scholarship for four years.

“Families around the country have been squeezed over the past few years,” Upakar Vice President Jyotsna Gupta Jalil said.  “Upakar facilitates the American dream: that our children may have better lives than we have had. Higher education opens doors to our scholars that otherwise may remain closed.”

Biographies of this year’s five recipients are below:

Yukti Abrol of Jackson Heights, New York attended the prestigious Bronx High School of Science and excelled in college-level courses.  She is an accomplished poet, gold medalist in taekwondo, and caring sister to two younger siblings.  Yukti will be attending the State University of New York at Stony Brook to pursue a career in biomedical engineering.

Parth Dave of Bettendorf, Iowa was the valedictorian of his high school class of 332 students.  He also earned a varsity letter in soccer and an AP scholar certificate.  Parth will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study engineering.  His brother Jay is a fellow Upakar scholar (class of 2013).

Gurleen Kaur Dhillon of San Jose, California was the valedictorian of her high school class of 317 students.  She pursued a rigorous academic curriculum to cultivate her problem-solving skills and also volunteered with the local Helping Humanity Club.  Gurleen will be attending the University of California, Davis to study computer science.

Krupali Patel of Doylestown, Pennsylvania moved to the United States from India prior to her junior year.  She has assimilated rapidly to achieve academic excellence and earn praise from her teachers and counselors.  Krupali will be attending Drexel University and was awarded a dean’s scholarship to study biomedical engineering.

Nishita Soneji of Victoria, Texas moved to the United States from Oman during her senior year.  She is proficient in Bharatanatyam and fluent in four languages: Arabic, English, Gujarati, and Hindi.  Nishita will be attending the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a career in biochemistry and medicine.

Scholarship applications for 2012 will be available in January, and the submission deadline will be May 1st.