Prior to attending college, she had accomplished a lot, including organizing a medical health camp in a small village in India during her years at Ashwaubenon High School. While that was quite the undertaking, it pales in comparison to what she has done her first year in college.
This past year Nikitha grew a strong interest in social work and began volunteering as a social worker in a South Side Chicago clinic for 10 hours a week. She said it was an incredibly eye-opening experience. She helped struggling patients find a new home, apply for jobs, or write letters to landlords and utility companies. At any given time, she would have 10 families that she would work with.
Nikitha also began tutoring at a local elementary school and leading art therapy for children who faced tough situations at home.
To assist her studies she worked at the University of Chicago Medical Center in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Research team. As part of her job, she managed three clinical trials for individuals with aortic archway problems.
Nikitha (second row, second from the left) with her health lead shift team. She is pictured with the classmates who she works with as a patient advocate in the Chicago Family Health Center.
She also conducted ethical research with the university's medical school in the Neonatal ICU on the weekends. Both positions taught her a lot about current problems in the medical field, and what it takes to be successful in the workplace.
Nikitha was selected as the 2011 recipient of the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation for her drive and passion in helping others. And her work and work ethic are certainly being recognized.
This past year Nikitha was named National Medical Supplies Coordinator of United Against Infectious Diseases, an international non-profit that helps to mitigate infectious diseases all over the world. As coordinator she initiated efforts in South Chicago to address the problem of HIV/AIDS.
In this position she organized five international trips in Africa and Asia to treat HIV/AIDS and emphasize prevention.
She is currently looking to use the connections she made with this position to further her plans for leading an anti-malaria effort in West Africa.
University of Chicago
And if that wasn't enough, Nikitha helped start a business club called DECA at the university, and now serves as their Communications Officer and organizes intercollegiate competitions.
This summer, she was selected from over 200 students to serve as an intern at the nonprofit "International Organization for Adolescents." As part of their team, Nikitha will be working to fight human trafficking both in Chicago and internationally and will be organizing an awareness event downtown where over 1,000 law enforcement, lawyers, and public justice officials will be in attendance.
Phew...and that is just her first year in college.