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Rushik Patel '24

Rushik Patel

Foundation Scholar Rushik Patel found his calling through years of volunteer work at his family’s local medical practice in Cross Lanes, West Virginia.

Patel, a Charleston, W.Va. resident, said volunteering allowed him to form deep relationships with diseased and injured patients, and the conversations he had with them shaped his desire to change lives through medicine.

“I felt heartbroken that they had to go through so much pain and suffering,” he said. “I wanted to do something where I could help all of them out—especially in my hometown.”

Patel plans to major in biomedical engineering to pursue his dream of developing prosthetics and artificial organs. He also hopes to develop a blood test that detects cancer in the early stages. 

“Biomedical engineering is a field where I can design artificial organs and body parts to help people in ways that—maybe a few years ago—weren’t possible.”

Patel is one of five incoming freshmen to receive the prestigious Foundation Scholarship, which is worth more than $95,000 when paired with the PROMISE Scholarship. The scholarship includes a one-time travel stipend of $4,500, and he plans to use it while studying abroad in Germany and Italy. 

“I think that—by studying abroad—I’ll be able to learn about new cultures and traditions that are really unmatched anywhere else in the world,” he said. “I’m hoping to conduct research in these places to not only gain that extra experience with the culture, but also to gain knowledge that I can take back to help my community here in West Virginia.”

In his free time, Patel is a scholastic chess champion who also enjoys developing game apps. He hopes to minor in computer science to improve his coding abilities so that he can learn more about his passion for game development. 

“Computer science can also help me with my major because I can design prosthetics and artificial organs on the computer,” he said. “Coding knowledge and genetic editing techniques will help me in my field as well.”

Patel has plans to strengthen his leadership abilities through organizations like the First Year Leadership Academy and the Student Government Association. He also plans to participate in the Research Apprenticeship Program to gain hands-on experience in his field.

“I really am so thankful for WVU, the staff, President Gee and all of the supervisors for just giving me these opportunities through this scholarship,” he said. “I hope to make positive changes on campus and help my peers achieve their goals.”

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