Friday, September 8, 2017

Beyond the Scholarship


by Anji Radakrishnan 
Elks Scholar Advisory Board President


My name is Anjithaa Radakrishnan and I am from Nashua, New Hampshire. I am in a 6 year accelerated medical program through Pennsylvania State University and Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where I’m about to commence my second year. Additionally, this year, I am so proud to have been elected as President of the Elks National Foundation Scholar Advisory Board.

Getting to know my #ElksFamily at the 2015 Elks National Convention in Indy.
I first learned about the Elks in 2007 when I arrived at an Elks Lodge to participate in the Regional Spelling Bee. Subsequently, my family and I developed close friendships with Elks members, who supported both me and my older brother, Avvinash, as we went on to participate in the National Spelling Bee. My father joined the Elks six years ago as a way to cement our participation in our local Lodge. Three years ago, I received a Legacy Awards scholarship and was selected to join the Scholar Advisory Board, through which I was able to increase my Elks involvement from a local to national level. 

Chatting with Mr. Grillo after the Board Meets Board Dinner.
These past three years on the SAB have brought many unique experiences and lasting friendships. I have found that there is something to be learned from each individual I have met, whether I am hanging out with other Elks scholars in the Scholar Lounge at Convention or sitting at dinner with a notable Elks member. Hearing other scholars’ inspirational stories of compassion and ambition sparks a fire in me. Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” The Elks have embodied this mantra perfectly and I strive to do the same. This year, our board plans to expand our connections with fellow Elks scholars and members through a variety of means: hosting meet-ups, encouraging volunteering at local Lodges, participating in Elks Scholar Service Trips, posting on social media and more! We look forward to spreading awareness of the Elks in the hopes of creating stronger communities all around the country.

It was all smiles on the trails near Lake Tahoe.
Each experience I have had with the Elks in my past three years on the Board, from volunteering at my Lodge to Hoop Shoot to each National Convention, deepens my understanding of and admiration for the Elks National Foundation. Only the combined dedication and passion of numerous individuals, including Jim O’ Kelley, Debbie Doles, and Kate Edsey, to whom I am endlessly grateful, could have transformed the Foundation into what it is today, a hallmark of excellence in charitable work. I can confidently say that the compassion and kindness that I have experienced in the past decade in all of my interactions with Elks have shaped me as a person and will continue to impact me positively as a future physician.

Warm regards, 
Anjithaa Radakrishnan