Going to 4 high schools was a difficult thing, for sure. Colleges told me that with thevarious grading systems in schools across the country, it was imperative that I involvemyself in extracurricular activities, ace my standardized tests, and write top-of-the-linecollege entrance essays. My parents have always been working class, and so I knew Ihad to excel in everything and try and get scholarships to gifted programs. In highschool, I attended Bread Loaf Poetry camp as a public speaker and honored poet, won“Best Nebraska Actress” for my performance in “A Wrinkle in Time” as the HappyMedium, was a runner-up for “Miss Teen America Nebraska,” received close to perfectscores on all my standardized tests from SAT Subject Tests to the SAT, won State 2 ndPlace in Washington for Girls Breaststroke Swim Championships, received the HowardNemerov Best Writing Award for short stories, and won the International Science FairAward and Bausch and Lomb Distinguished Scientist four years in a row for laboratoryresearch on breast and brain cancer. I also attended the International Music Festival as afirst violinist, performed ballet, tap, and jazz through the O'Brien's School of Dance atthe State Level, toured Russia and Italy through the Vermont Youth Orchestra/VermontSymphony, won 1 st and 2 nd place in Washington and Vermont state art competitions, andGold Place National Tagore Singing Awards for traditional Bengali vocals withharmonium. I attended and placed 1 st and 2 nd Place All State for choir and orchestra forfour years. I also won 1st place in The Spelling Bee in the State of Vermont, receivingan endless supply of Britannicas as my achievement prize!
Growing up, I looked up to my Dad, who has always been very quiet and reserved,immune to work politics, and always up for a challenge or a transition as a professor ofEngineering. My mother worked in early childhood education when I was just a toddler,but decided to focus on being a stay-at-home mom as I continued to grow up. She laments now that I am an adult, as she loved to place my hair in pigtails and run after meto darken my eyes with kohl for dance performances and music recitals. Moneyinvesting was never the emphasis in my family, for better or for worse, but educationalways was and continues to be. My father has no thoughts of retiring anytime soon,and my mother continues to love education by completing multiple Masters at theschools my father teaches in while also writing and illustrating children's books andBlack Box screenplays. She most recently wrote and directed her play “The SpiralStaircase” at the Black Box Theatre at Georgia Southern University, where I washonored to play the leading role and direct the musical choir.