California State University, Stanislaus

04/14/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/15/2019 04:51

High School Student Shares his Passion for Education with a $10,000 Gift to Stan State Scholarships

Although he still is in the process of completing his own college and scholarship applications, Ashish Thakur has already made a generous contribution toward opportunities for other students to pursue their goals of higher education at Stanislaus State.

The 15-year-old junior at Modesto High School - where he is a part of the International Baccalaureate program - has participated in workshops, classes and projects at Stanislaus State nearly every year since he was in first grade. He was a student of the HiMap mathematics program, the Central Valley Writing project, numerous summer writing programs and he also found support from Stan State faculty members on STEM research projects.

'I always found that Stan State has been such an amazing opportunity for kids to participate and try out things, to expand their horizons and to achieve new things,' Thakur said. 'I felt it was important to try to give back to CSUS as much as they have given to me and to try to help others people in my community.'

The encouragement and education he received as a young student in these programs inspired him to give back. He advocated for financial support with businesses and organizations in the community and as a result he made a $10,000 gift to Stanislaus State to establish the Ashish Thakur Science Foundation Scholarship. The scholarship will help students from underserved backgrounds who are pursuing their education in the Family Nurse Practitioner Program.

'We also have many underserved communities that would benefit from the attention of nurse practitioners,' Thakur said. 'What's especially amazing about our FNP program is that students learn in the cultural milieu in which they will deliver healthcare; the learning and care are intertwined as the FNP students do rotations in local physicians' offices and local hospitals.'

'Creating this scholarship opportunity for students in the FNP program - many who are the primary financial supports of their families - will allow them to remain focused on their studies and lead to greater success in accomplishing certification,' said Carolyn Martin, graduate program director in Stanislaus State's School of Nursing.

'Ultimately, the goal is to increase the number of FNPs in our service area, which is in dire need of primary care providers,' Martin said.

As an advocate for health education and access to health care in our region, Thakur has also pursued science research with the support of faculty members in the College of Science at Stanislaus State. Together with his sister Shivani, Thakur worked on a research project with Stan State Biology Professor Mark Grobner on a radiofrequency thermal ablation model, which has surgical applications in vein therapy and health. Shivani subsequently wrote a paper on their research which was submitted and published in the scientific journal, The American Surgeon.

Even as a young student seeking opportunities for learning at Stan State, Ashish said he always felt like he belonged, was supported and was welcome on campus and as a part of the Warrior community.

'The faculty and also the students themselves do a great job of making anyone feel welcome here,' he said. 'A lot of professors really helped me out, especially Dr. Grobner. He's helped with a lot of my research projects and he has been such an inspiration for me.'

Thakur hopes to show how K-12 students in the region can benefit from programs and activities offered at Stan State and to raise awareness and visibility for those programs. He is also creating his own programs and events to provide educational opportunities for youth.

Thakur's interest in technology and computer coding led him to create a program to benefit underserved youth. He started Kids Who Code, a summer program where he teaches computer coding to junior high aged youth from underserved communities. He said his goal is to inspire them to get interested in coding because it is a skill that can open up new career pathways for them.

'I wanted to introduce youth to computer coding because I feel it is an amazing opportunity for them to get into,' he said. 'I always thought it was just going to benefit me, if I wanted to play video games or something, but as I got more and more involved with computers and technology, I saw the gateway that technology had for future careers and I wanted to help to expand that to other youth.'

Promoting awareness about the prevalence of diabetes among youth is an important health education topic for Ashish. He is currently working on a project called Educate to Eradicate DM II to raise awareness and provide education about Type II diabetes, particularly for families from underserved backgrounds. He has established social media presence, a website and authored a book titled Growing Rates of Type II Among Teenagers. He speaks out often to community organizations and leaders and is planning an educational event about healthy eating and its value in avoiding preventable diseases.

Thakur is a recipient of the prestigious National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship offered by the U.S. State Department to learn Mandarin during a six-week immersive stay this summer in Chengdu, China. He hopes to 'understand the factors that are causing the rates of diabetes mellitus to increase in China's youth' so he can share what he learns there with youth groups at risk here.

'I want to help people understand the importance of educational environments and how much they contribute to our community,' he said. 'Even as a young person, I can outreach to various youth and show them they can have an impact. Sharing this idea is very important to me.'