Shivani Patel ’22 has been selected as a 2022–2023 Fulbright US 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 US 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 said 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, who majored in biomedical sciences degree and minored in chemistry, was a huge part of the campus community both on and off-campus during her time at Marist. 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. Her activities have included serving as a hospice volunteer in her hometown of Danbury, CT.
She was involved in a number of extracurricular activities on campus, most notably with one of Marist’s largest student fundraising endeavors, “Hudson Rally for St. Jude,” for which she served as executive director during her senior year. This work contributed to Marist being recognized by St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as a top recruiting and fundraising college. She also was involved in Marist’s Upward Bound program.
“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.”
Following her Fulbright grant year and future studies, she plans 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 has been recognized by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs four times over the past 10 years as a High Producing Institution for US Fulbright Student Grants.
The Fulbright Program is primarily funded through an annual appropriation made by the US Congress to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. More than 2,200 US students and more than 900 US 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.