By Karen Billing
Stand-out Carmel Valley student Anisha Mudaliar has been accepted to a roster of heavyweight colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford and has racked up more than $30,000 in scholarship monies.
The Pacific Ridge School senior with a 4.83 GPA is not only excellent academically but is extremely community service-minded, having gone on a service trip to Mexico last month, and she spent time building classrooms in Kenya in 2009. Anisha will head to India for a second time this summer to see a learning center be built for which she helped raise funds.
On June 12, she’ll leave for Alabama to compete in the National Distinguished Young Women of America Finals, representing California. In the talent portion of the competition, she’ll show off her Indian classical dance, which she’s studied for the last 10 years.
By the way, she picked Stanford and will head there in the fall.
Anisha is a very driven teenager, even though she doesn’t yet drive — she hasn’t found the time to get her driver’s license.
“I find that when you’re passionate about something, you put all your effort into it,” said Anisha. “I am passionate about service work and science and I pursue those passions wholeheartedly.”
Most recently, she received the Kyoto Prize Scholarship ($10,000), Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation scholarship ($10,000), the Athena Scholarship ($10,000), the National Merit Scholar ($2,500) and the Annette I. Baughman Scholarship ($3,500).
To win the $10,000 Coca-Cola scholarship, Anisha was selected out of about 71,000 entries. She was one of 250 who won the opportunity to travel to Atlanta and spend the week with fellow Coca Cola scholars, honored for their leadership in community service.
Anisha was one of just three San Diego County students to receive a Kyoto scholarship, earning hers in the area of advanced technology. She also won the opportunity to meet Kyoto Prize winner Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, an internationally famous stem cell scientist.
Her most recent service trip — to Punta Mita, Mexico, in May — was a trip completely designed by Anisha and two fellow Pacific Ridge students. They spent 10 days with the PEACE (Protection, Education, Animals, Culture and Environment) organization.
While there were many colleges courting her, Anisha felt Stanford was the best fit.
“I just like the spirit of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship; I liked the energy and I wanted to be around that energy,” Anisha said.
As she is looking at studying international development and global health, Stanford provided the best interdisciplinary opportunities in both human biology and public policy.
She said the options for her are incredible and she is not ruling out attending Harvard later on for graduate school.
“I’m really excited about what’s in store for the future,” Anisha said.
Anisha will be among the first graduating class at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad. The school does not name valedictorians but Anisha was certainly the top of the class. She said she is appreciative of the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to help build a school from the ground up.
“Pacific Ridge has definitely nurtured my growth over the past three years and I’m really glad I made the decision to attend,” Anisha said. “They have a focus on ethical responsibility and global engagement. … They supported me and made me feel confident in pursuing what I was passionate about and taking action.”