Scholar Spotlight: Vashnie Prasad

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We are thrilled to share Vashnie’s story. Vashnie is the first person in her family to attend college and in 2020, she will be the first college graduate. We first met Vashnie as a shy sophomore at Schenectady High School in 2014, and we have been so proud to witness her accomplishments over the years.

Vashnie participated in a College Scholar panel at our 2019 Summer Bridge Program

Vashnie participated in a College Scholar panel at our 2019 Summer Bridge Program

What does Sponsor-A-Scholar mean to you as you’re finishing college?

As I’m finishing college, Sponsor-A-Scholar means a world of opportunity. This program has helped me in so many ways and given me inspiration that I am so thankful for. I have made connections that will be lifelong. Doors have been opened for me that could not have been possible without the program.



What was the most important part of Sponsor-A-Scholar for you?

The support of the program throughout every step. The homework sessions back in high school, the check ins with mentors and stipend meetings throughout college, and the help looking for internships and making plans. It always felt like someone cared. I’m the first in my family to attend university, so without Sponsor-A-Scholar, I honestly don’t know what I’d do figuring out on my own.


What advice would you share for students heading to college this fall?

There’s a couple things I wish I would’ve known when I started college. First off, talk to lots of people, including professors. Most people are in the same situation looking for friends, and you never know who could be a connection for you in the future. Along with that though, know who your friends are. Some people never advance past drama and pettiness. It doesn’t end with high school. And of course, always ask for help when you need it. Someone is always willing to help and there are lots of resources. You just have to ask.

What was the most surprising thing about college?

The surprising thing was that times will come that you will need to stand up for yourself. It might be from classmates or roommates or even a professor. Not everyone has your best intentions. This is not to say that everyone is bad. But once in a while, there’s an ignorant or lazy person you will have to work with. And a time may came where something isn’t right and you need to speak up.

What was the hardest thing about college?

The hardest thing about college was probably finding what I really wanted to do. I started as undeclared, then did computer science, and now I’m a computer art major minoring in computer science. I switched multiple times trying to find something when I kept going back to art. I then came to the realization that what you do doesn’t matter if you like what you’re doing. If you truly apply yourself to what you’re doing to do you will be successful.


How did you choose your study abroad program?

My study abroad program was a two-week photography course. I chose this because it wasn’t too long, so it was far less expensive than a whole semester or year. My professor also strongly recommended it because we would be learning from the other classes with us, so we got a history and sociology perspective during the course.

What are your plans for the future?

I will be graduating in May of 2020. I’m hoping to get get an internship and eventually look for a job somewhere in New York City. And from there possibly start some sort of business.

Anything else you’d like to share?

While college is serious and you should drive to do your best. It’s ok to fail. That’s how you learn.

Also the time flies by. Have some fun along the way.

Vashnie with her mentor, and Sponsor-A-Scholar board member, Gerry Golub, and Schenectady Scholar Pamela Loojune at the 2017 Scholar Celebration

Vashnie with her mentor, and Sponsor-A-Scholar board member, Gerry Golub, and Schenectady Scholar Pamela Loojune at the 2017 Scholar Celebration

Thank you Vashnie!