As a top senior in Modesto High’s rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, Shivani Thakur is well on her way to a promising educational career. She’s yet to decide on a college for her pre-med undergraduate work, but that decision can wait.
Because before she decides, Thakur wants to make certain to thank everybody who has helped her thus far, a list that includes several instructors at Stanislaus State. So, while most top students her age are awaiting word on receiving scholarships, Thakur has raised $10,000 to establish one in Stan State’s College of Science.
“I have been so fortunate to have Stan State in our community,” said Thakur, the daughter of local phlebologists Anjani and Vijaya Thakur. “This is my way to say thank you, and I hope to work to raise more funds for additional scholarships at Stan State.”
Specifically, she credited and thanked College of Science former interim dean Mark Grobner and Stan State professors Viji Sundar (math), My Lo Thao (biology) and Susan Mokhtari (physics) for helping to focus her studies.
“Stan State gave me a great chance to work and study at a higher level,” said Thakur. “The professors here are very engaged and want to see students succeed. They present the course material in a thoughtful way, taking more time for the difficult subjects.”
As part of the IB diploma requirement, students must complete a significant amount of community service. Thakur used that as incentive to start “Advocation for Vaccination!,” a program that aims to increase childhood vaccination rates by dispelling incorrect information about the negative effects of vaccines.
Earlier in her high school career, Thakur established the Valley ACT Academy to help students through 10th grade succeed on the ACT exam, setting them up for college success. She also served as the chair of the Valley Educational Foundation and was involved in Project Hope, a program at Modesto High that aims to raise awareness for global issues.
In the classroom, a summer biology program at Stan State turned into a research project with Grobner and Thao on how smoke exposure affects angiogenesis in developing embryos, a significant problem for infants whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.
“Shivani is very interested in health and is very impressed with all the resources available at Stan State,” said her father Anjani Thakur. “She credits Stanislaus State with giving her the skills and tools to do the work she has done in her community and to reach her educational goals.”