2013 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Nominee Nithia Chowattukunnel

2013 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Nominee Nithia Chowattukunnel

Each year, Grant County accredited high schools are asked to nominate one representative for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Award.  The representatives must attend a Grant County high school and have a minimum 3.5 grade point average (unweighted).  Additionally, they must be in the top 10% of their graduating class, intend to pursue a bachelor’s degree at an accredited public or private college or university in Indiana, have strong leadership skills, and demonstrate volunteerism through community service.  They also must interview in front of the Community Foundation’s Lilly Nominating Committee.

The Nominating Committee chooses two nominees and the remaining four candidates are presented as alternates.  The finalists’ names are submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for selection of the recipients. ICI oversees the statewide administration of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program. ICI sets basic guidelines, reviews the local selection process, and approves final winners chosen in Grant County.

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship awards full tuition for four years to the Indiana college of the scholar’s choice, plus a $900 stipend for required books and equipment.  Among the six nominees, two scholars will be chosen as Grant County’s “Lilly Scholars”.

The two (2) Lilly Award Presentations will take place on April 1, 2013 at the schools of the local winners.

The four (4) Runners-up will receive the Robert R. Board and Janis M. Board Scholarship. This scholarship is a $4,500 award renewable for three additional years for a total scholarship award of $18,000.

Nithia Chowattukunnel

Town:  Marion
High School:  Marion High School
College Choice:  Indiana University (Bloomington)
Major:  Pre-Med
High School Class Rank: 2 (of 286)
GPA:  3.98
SAT:  1980
ACT:  28

1.  What Extra-Curricular Activities have you been involved in over the past 2 – 3 years?
Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Senate, Key Club, Volunteering (St. Paul Church, Marion General Hospital, Boys and Girls Club, Bridges to Health), Work (Jimmy John’s, Tennis Coach), Tennis

2. What are some of your hobbies?
Tennis, Piano, Baking, Photography/Art

3. What is your best memory from high school?
My best memory from high school is going to state for tennis my freshman year. Before I actually went to the match, everyone kept telling me how great and exciting it was, and I never really knew what they meant until I experienced it for myself. There were only sixteen #1 doubles teams there out of all of Indiana, and to be included in that felt incredible. Although we lost during the first round, this was a great accomplishment
and one of my proudest moments in both high school and my tennis career.

4. If you could be the best at any one thing, what would you choose?
I would choose to be the best at tennis. Throughout my life, tennis has helped me to develop valuable characteristics like mental toughness, persistence  and determination. High school tennis has taught me about how to work as a team, as well as the advantages of having others who are working towards the same goal there to support you. Being the best at tennis would make me feel as if I have mastered all of those techniques not only on the court, but in life as well.

5. What advice would you give underclassmen?
Enjoy these next four years because they will definitely go by faster than you-expect.  Form relationships with your teachers and classmates, and try to keep close friends who will always be there for you. Get involved in whatever you can and will enjoy and stay involved in those activities. But most of all, have fun.

6. If you had an unlimited source of money, how would you spend it?
I would use it to travel. Over the past four years, my family and I have traveled to many different kinds of places, and I love experiencing different countries and their cultures. I feel very grateful tor these opportunities, and I want to be able to give my children the same experiences that I have had growing up.
I would also give to charities. I have been raised by two people who always give to others, and I truly admire my parents for that. Giving back is always something I try to do, even if all I give is the change I have in my pocket. If I had unlimited money, I would regularly give a large amount to any charity I could find.

7. What are some things you can’t live without?
Now that I know what it is like to go to and experience new places, I can’t imagine life without travel. For me, staying in the same place without ever getting a taste of new and exotic areas would be nothing but boring.  I couldn’t live without my family. Knowing that I have their support in every single thing that I do has helped me accomplish everything that I have. There is no doubt that I wouldn’t be half of the person I am today without them behind me.
I have recently picked up the habit of drinking a cup of tea everyday after school, and I absolutely love the calming effect it can have. Sometimes, the thought of my afternoon cup of tea is what gets me through the day!

8.Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Having completed medical school, I see myself in a residency program, preferably in Chicago. Although I am not yet sure what I would like to specialize in, I know that I will enjoy whatever specialty I choose and get into.

9.  What kind of music is on your iPod/iPhone? 
Because I don’t necessarily have a favorite genre, I have a variety of artists on my iPod. My current favorites include Ed Sheeran and Frank Ocean, musicians with two completely different styles. I also love songs from One Republic and even a British boyband called The Wanted. I like that my music selection consists of different styles because it seems like I always have the right song for the right time.

10.  If you were stranded on an island with only your clothes and three other items, what would they be?
My piano is definitely an item I would love to have. Playing is something that I want to keep doing the rest of my life, even if I am stranded on an island.  
I would be sure to have my laptop so that I can remain connected to the world and stay up to date with what is going on. Thankfully I have music and movies on it, so I would have some type of entertainment system.
Lastly, I would bring tea leaves. I could make a fire, and with time I could figure out how to construct a pot to boil water. As long I have tea leaves with me, I could make tea and enjoy it everyday, just like I do now.

11. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
If I could have dinner with absolutely anyone, I would have dinner with my mom’s grandfather. I have a huge extended family, and I have been told stories about a lot of incredible people in my family that I have never met. By meeting with him, I would have the opportunity to ask him and discover everything about those people that make me proud to be a part of my family.
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