Scholars Program ’94 | The Pingry School ’98 | Harvard University ’02 | Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College ’06 | VA Quality Scholar Fellow, Atlanta VA Medical Center ’17 | Assistant Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine | Medical Editor, WebMD
“Any time that I reflect back on my current place in life and my goals for the future, I inevitably find myself coming back to my time as a SEEDS Scholar. I will always be filled with gratitude for NJ SEEDS.”
Neha Pathak’s family immigrated to the United States from England when she was six years old. Due to circumstances when they arrived, her family lived in a one-room motel in Elizabeth where her parents worked to clean rooms. Neha heard about New Jersey SEEDS and applied in the seventh grade.
“My parents and I saw SEEDS as an enrichment program which we would not otherwise have been able to afford. It was exciting to get on a school bus and arrive at a beautiful campus where I could spend a few hours getting to know and work with other kids who shared this same excitement. As a member of the first SEEDS class, I did not exactly understand that this extra course work would eventually lead to a concrete, definite opportunity for a spot in a private school.”
But it did. Her time with SEEDS led her to The Pingry School, Harvard University, Cornell Medical School and to a career in medicine. Though SEEDS was brand new when Neha applied, the promise the organization provided for its students was in line with the educational goals Neha had set for herself. “SEEDS taught me very early on about the importance of setting personal goals and taking a chance – or maybe even a detour – when an opportunity to meet those goals presents itself. By being willing to commit myself to SEEDS, I have had many other opportunities present themselves that may not have otherwise been available to me. This same attitude has allowed me to successfully obtain large grant funding and pursue unexpected career opportunities in my professional life, as well as to meet many amazing people, including an amazing partner, in my personal life.”
Neha’s advice to current SEEDS scholars is to develop and stay connected with networks throughout the entire academic journey. “It is not only important to pursue success through academic effort, but also to proactively engage and develop your networks from SEEDS, high school, college and beyond. You may learn of opportunities that can completely change your life’s trajectory.”