Out to Change the World

Globally minded from a young age, scholarship gives student platform to try new things

Kalyaani PatelKalyaani Patel enjoys being pushed out of her comfort zone. It’s something she’s sought out since an early age. At age 11, her parents allowed her to leave her Zambian home where they had relocated when she was young and attend boarding school in her native India.

This did have its challenges for the young adventure-seeker.

“It was a bit of a culture shock, going from Zambia to India,” she shares. “It took me at least a year to settle in.”

After high school graduation, Kalyaani returned to Zambia. Instead of going straight to college, she took a “gap year” and volunteered in Zambia for Population Council, a New York-based organization researching AIDS and HIV.

This experience sparked her interest in psychology and she decided she was ready for college. The University of Cincinnati appealed to her, in part, because she had two cousins enrolled here.

This time the transition was easy.

“I thought when I had come from Zambia to here, it would have another culture shock, Kalyaani says. “But I actually made friends quickly.”

Now a second-year student at UC, Kalyaani is studying psychology with a minor in fine arts. She’s says it’s the perfect fit because it allows her to explore her passion for trying new things.

“UC has so many things to offer," Kalyaani says. “I’m always taking part in new things because you never know until you try something, so UC is giving me these options.”

“I feel like UC has played a major role in my leadership skills as well,” she adds. “I applied to become a resident advisor and got it.”

These choices—as well as being part of the diversity council at Morgens Hall, UC Psychology Club, HealthCats, UC Boxing Club, volunteering—are supported by her scholarship. As a recipient of the Robert A. Toepfer and Mary Jane Miller Toepfer Family Scholarship Fund, Kalyaani worries less about finances and focuses on her academic experience. The fund was set up by the late Robert Toepfer, A&S ’42, JD ’43, in memory of his wife, Mary Jane, A&S ’42.

“My scholarship helps me move forward and motivates me to do more,” she says. “I feel like I’m being encouraged to go forward in what I love to do.”

Kalyaani is certain that all her UC experiences—and the financial help she receives—will help her achieve her overall goal of studying global health, attending medical school and helping populations in Africa.

“I do believe I will change the world,” she says. “And UC will help me get there.”

Who will you empower NEXT? 
Scholarships, fellowships and enrichment programs provide opportunities for students to attend, grow and graduate from UC. You can empower our next leaders through support for scholarships and signature programs in career-based education, co-op or professional development.