UpakarIndian-American Scholarship Foundation

2012 Scholarship Announcement

August 4, 2012


15 years and counting of support for deserving Indian-American students

Upakar Foundation today proudly announces the recipients of its 2012 scholarship awards. This year’s four awardees: Fazila Vhora of Harvey, Illinois; Reema Patel of Spring Hill, Florida; Anup Chandora of Lilburn, Georgia; and Krystle Thomas of Germantown, Wisconsin. The class of 2016 joins twelve other high-achieving students who will be renewed as Upakar scholars in 2012-13.

“We are delighted to welcome these outstanding students into the Upakar family,” Vice President Nirupma Rohatgi said. “The class of 2016 stacks up with any other in our history. Upakar will enjoy the opportunity to support these students over the next four years and beyond.”

Upakar was created in 1997 to combat the “model minority” stereotype that every Indian-American can afford a college education. Around twelve percent of Indian-Americans live below the poverty line, according to recent census data.

The organization’s mission is to help Indian-American students realize their educational goals, providing annual scholarships that acknowledge academic excellence and consider financial need. The scholarship program has now supported 118 students from 30 states across the country.

“Fifteen years and counting for Upakar,” Treasurer Nithya Nagarajan said. “Our core support remains strong, but costs are rising, and the need is growing. With the community’s support, we can help the next generation of exemplary professionals.”

Upakar awards scholarships to students born in India or who have at least one Indian-born parent. The scholar must be a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder. Financial need is determined by family adjusted gross income (AGI). Scholars must have attained a raw high school grade point average above 3.6. Finally, as long as a scholar’s grades exceed 3.3, Upakar will renew the scholarship for four years.

“As students’ needs evolve, so does Upakar,” President Jyotsna Gupta Jalil said. “Our new community college scholarships will allow Upakar to reach a new audience. We expect more applications from a broader diversity of students in 2013 and beyond.”

Biographies of this year’s four recipients are below:

Fazila Vhora of Harvey, Illinois was the valedictorian of her high school class by earning straight A’s for four years. She also served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, treasurer of the National Honor Society chapter, and a member of the math team. Fazila will be attending the University of Illinois at Chicago and was guaranteed admission into the pharmacy professional degree program.

Reema Patel of Spring Hill, Florida maintained a 4.0 grade point average in high school. She participated in innumerable extracurricular activities, for which she was honored with outstanding achievement awards in language, math, and science. Reema will be attending the University of Florida to study pre-medicine as part of a combined master’s degree program.

Anup Chandora of Lilburn, Georgia earned a 4.0 grade point average in high school. His extracurricular involvements included Science Olympiad, Odyssey of the Mind, and marching band. Anup will be attending the Georgia Institute of Technology to study biomedical engineering.

Krystle Thomas of Germantown, Wisconsin made a home of her high school’s high honor roll, landing on the list for all four years. She overcame juvenile diabetes to participate in numerous after-school activities. Krystle will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study biology.

Applications for 2013-14, including the new community college scholarships, will be available in January 2013. The submission deadline for all scholarships will be May 1.