For Anjana “Angie” Pati ’18, a seemingly insatiable thirst for exploring opportunities, gaining knowledge, and helping others led in many different directions during her time at Syracuse University. And through it all, she was never deterred by red tape, cutting through it to achieve her goals. “Syracuse University made me work hard, think critically about everything, and helped me understand that everything is intricately and intrinsically intertwined in a powerful way that we must acknowledge in order to create long-lasting, positive change in society,” Pati says. “It made me not just a student, but more of the person I wanted to become.”
Syracuse Career Highlights
Pati, who grew up in Central New Jersey, enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences as a Coronat Scholar and majored in neuroscience and psychology with minors in biology, public communication, and health and wellness. She did scientific research on campus and abroad, became a certified emergency medical technician, participated in nonprofit work, volunteered at hospitals in India and South Africa, and served as vice president of the Syracuse University Student Association. She was selected as a Remembrance Scholar and named a Class Marshal. And in May, Pati was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in South Africa that she will begin in January.
“In my eyes, I will have an incredible nine-month stint where I can really explore and work, meet new people, and learn about the wonderful country, so I’m really excited,” says Pati, who praises the Coronat program for support throughout her time in Syracuse, including funding her study abroad and research opportunities. Along with teaching and doing volunteer work in South Africa, Pati will launch a community health development project with the students. “They will identify health problems and we’ll figure out ways together to tackle them,” says Pati, who has her future sights set on earning a joint law degree with a clinical Ph.D. or graduate degree in health policy. “That’s what I’m really looking forward to.”
Research and Empathy
That should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Pati. When something captures her attention, she’s all in. As a high school student, she spent summers working in research labs at Rutgers University, learning about DNA and cell-line samples as well as Alzheimer’s and other diseases. The experiences, in turn, fueled her interest in neuroscience and psychology—and throughout her time at Syracuse, she utilized different leadership positions to continuously advocate for and promote mental health and mental health resources on campus.
Today, one issue that Pati is predominantly focused on is health care, and she’s currently working as a paralegal in the health care division of a law firm. Thanks to her wide-ranging personal experiences, she views health care from both the research and policy perspectives. As an example, she cites the research she did over three summers at the National Institute of Malaria Research in Rourkela, a city in the state of Odisha, India. Pati has family in Odisha, where 40-50 percent of all the country’s malaria cases occur, she says. Along with exploring microbiological aspects of cerebral malaria and other forms of severe and complex malaria, Pati questioned why countries where the disease isn’t endemic don’t share a greater level of concern. “In the United States, we rarely talk about malaria because it’s not endemic to our country,” Pati says. “Doing research there was such a unique opportunity. It really exposed me to why international health policy and research are so important. It gave me a sense of empathy about the world, about issues that are not necessarily happening in my backyard, but are still of immense importance to global health. I just became more and more passionate about the cause.”
It’s never too late to do something you love and it’s never too early.
Pati’s global perspective was also sparked through volunteer work in summer 2016 with Inkululeko, a nonprofit organization in Grahamstown, South Africa, that seeks to improve opportunities for the township’s youth, including access to higher education. The experience prompted her to apply for the Fulbright fellowship. “I loved working with the Inkululeko team,” she says. “To see their passions translated into the students and their future really inspired me to want to go back.”
On campus, Pati immersed herself in a number of organizations, including participating in OrangeSeeds, a leadership empowerment program for first-year students, and serving on the executive council and executive board of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, and as vice president of the Syracuse chapter of Love Your Melon, a nonprofit that provides hats to children battling cancer. She also enjoyed her first foray into student politics when she ran for vice president of the Syracuse University Student Association and won. As vice president of the student body, she represented more than 15,000 undergraduates and launched initiatives focused on the betterment of the student experience. Noting with humor that not many neuroscience majors delve into campus politics, she tackled such issues as sexual and relationship violence, health and wellness, and public safety and transportation. For Pati, it was an opportunity to exhibit her leadership skills and translate the work she was doing on campus and abroad into campus policy. “I think there’s a different type of leader in everyone,” she says. “The most important part of leadership is valuing other leaders and understanding that the only way you can move forward is with other leaders by your side.”
Ultimately, Pati encourages students to take advantage of the opportunities before them in college, advising them not to be intimidated, but to do things at their own pace and understand that it’s important to shape their own student experience—and not compare it to those of others. “It’s never too late to do something you love and it’s never too early,” she says. “It’s always the right time to do something that is valuable to you.”
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