Marist Senior Awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Grant
May 3, 2022 – Marist College student Shivani Patel ’22 has been selected as a 2022-2023 Fulbright U.S. student grant recipient, giving her an opportunity to study youth volunteerism within the palliative care sector in India. Palliative care is a form of preventative medicine that utilizes a holistic, individualized approach to improve the quality of life by relieving suffering.
Patel’s study will center on Kerala, on India’s southern coast, where the community-based palliative care model is unique in that it encourages youth engagement by exposing them to the challenge of care itself. She says her interest in researching youth involvement stems from the fact that youth are a dynamic population capable of being shaped and shaping the world.
“I am honored to have been selected as a Fulbright U.S. student grant recipient,” said Patel. “This opportunity will allow me to learn from a powerful community. In my grant, I proposed to identify key components of the Indian palliative care system, conduct empirical research at a nongovernmental organization in Kerala while working with youth, and observe palliative care models in India that deviate from the Kerala model,” she said.
Marist’s Graduate School and Fellowship Advisor Pat Taylor says Patel’s vision in the application process was clear from the start. “Shivani has a sturdy commitment to improving palliative care in the United States and wants to learn from the experiences of India in this area, and that resonated throughout our conversations and in her written application. Her sensitivity to different cultural perspectives will make her a phenomenal young ambassador to India, specifically in Kerala where she will focus her research,” said Taylor.
Patel (back row, center) with the executive board of Hudson Rally for St. Jude at their finale event to celebrate raising over $43,000. — Photo courtesy of Shivani Patel
Dr. Jocelyn Nadeau, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Patel’s academic advisor, is thrilled for her opportunity. “Shivani is an absolute gem. I met her during her first year at Marist and from Day 1, I was incredibly impressed with her level of focus, maturity, and self-awareness. Four years later, after having had her in several classes and getting to know her as a person and a student, I could not be more proud of her incredible academic success at Marist and know she will be a successful Fulbright student grant recipient. Moreover, it is impossible to leave an interaction with Shivani and not feel uplifted by her positive spirit,” Dr. Nadeau said.
Patel, who is set to graduate from Marist next month with a Biomedical Sciences degree and a minor in Chemistry, has been a huge part of the community both on and off-campus during her time here. As a first-generation student, she says she was always service-oriented because it was a great way for her to learn about the world and develop her own passions. During her time at Marist, she strived to further her interest in healthcare from a volunteering lens, particularly drawing on her own position as a hospice volunteer in her hometown of Danbury, Connecticut.
She’s involved in a number of extracurricular activities outside of her very busy and challenging academic schedule, most notably with one of Marist’s largest student fundraising endeavors, “Hudson Rally for St. Jude,” where she served as Executive Director this year. This work contributed to Marist being recognized by St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as a top recruiting and fundraising college. She has also been involved in Marist’s Upward Bound program.
Patel in front of the St. Peter’s building, home to Marist’s Upward Bound office — Photo by Carlo de Jesus/Marist College
“As an alumna of Upward Bound, this program has certainly left a lasting mark on me,” said Patel. “It was the main pipeline that navigated me through the college process as a first-generation student. I am currently serving as a college prep advisor and tutor for the Newburgh/Poughkeepsie Upward Bound Program. In this position, I can extend a support system to other students whose shoes I was in not too long ago, and it is truly a full-circle experience.”
Her long-term career goals following the Fulbright grant year and her future studies are to become a pediatrician.
“My experiences at Marist have deepened my commitment to pursuing a career in medicine,” she said. “For me, engaging with my community has always been a reciprocal, moving experience of learning, growing, and giving back. As an aspiring pediatrician, it would be a privilege to nourish a positive outlook on healthcare amongst families and children in my community.”
Marist College has been recognized by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs four times over the past ten years as a High Producing Institution for U.S. Fulbright Student Grants.
The Fulbright Program is primarily funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over 2,200 U.S. students and over 900 U.S. college and university faculty and administrators are awarded Fulbright grants annually. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet members, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers.