(March 12, 2018) -- Not many college freshmen can say they have founded their own non-profit organization. But Sanah Jivani can. It’s just one reason why Ann Eisenberg, director of the UTSA Office of Scholar Development, knew she wanted to nominate Jivani for the Truman Scholarship.
The competitive scholarship, awarded annually since 1977, supports aspiring public service leaders in the United States.
“When I first walked into Dr. Eisenberg’s office as a freshman, she told me about the criteria,” Jivani recalls. “I remember reading the bios of the other Truman Scholars and thinking to myself, ‘This is not going to happen to me.’”
As a freshman, Jivani wasn’t eligible yet. Three years later, though, everything has changed. Jivani, a junior majoring in sociology and communications, received an e-mail, naming her a finalist for the Truman Scholarship.
Jivani’s path to serving others began through personal challenges. In the seventh grade, she lost all of her hair due to a medical condition called alopecia, which she developed as a toddler. As a result, she says she struggled with wigs, self-hatred and self-harm.
Jivani eventually realized the best way to overcome her own challenges was by helping others. That’s when she founded The Love Your Natural Self Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving self-esteem and empowering others to be the best version of themselves. So far, the foundation has raised more than $30,000 to provide free curriculum to schools to educate students on how to practice self-love and self-acceptance.
“Every time I’m faced with a challenge,” Jivani said, “I ask myself, ‘How can this challenge inspire me to help others?’”
Jivani hopes to be the second UTSA student to ever win the scholarship. But to become a finalist is an accomplishment in itself.
Of the more than 750 nominations, The Truman Foundation has thus far selected 194 finalists. The foundation is narrowing the pool now, following interviews with Jivani and the other 193 competitors.
Each Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.
The first-generation student calls this opportunity a dream come true that would not be possible without support from UTSA.
“Dr. Eisenberg believed that I could do it. She believed in me so much, that somewhere along the way, I started to believe in myself,” Jivani said. “I cannot imagine what my undergraduate career would be without her or the UTSA Honors College.”
Jivani interviewed with The Truman Foundation in Austin last week. The 2018 Class of Truman Scholars will be announced on April 20.
Learn more about UTSA's first-generation family.
Learn more about the Truman Scholarship.
Learn more about the UTSA Office of Scholar Development or visit the office in the McKinney Humanities Building (MH 4.02.26).
Learn more about the UTSA Honors College.
De-stress during Finals Week with UTSA Libraries' Relaxation Stations, located at John Peace Library on the second floor, and at the Downtown Library. The Relaxation Stations will include puzzles, coloring and more from Dec. 6-Dec. 14.John Peace Library, second floor and Downtown Library, Main and Downtown Campuses
This UTSA student exhibit features the work of anthropology students who have examined the effects tourism has on local culture.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Students from grades 9 to 12 at Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering delved into their family histories and turned their family photos into artworks.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
The first ceremony begins at 10 a.m. honors graduates from the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, College of Business, College of Education and Human Development and College of Public Policy.Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
At 4 p.m., the second ceremony will be held to honor graduates from the College of Engineering, College of Liberal and Fine Arts, College of Science and the University College.Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
UTSA's John Nix invites the community to sing "Amazing Grace" and “We Shall Overcome” at 11 a.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The intent of this nationwide effort is to honor Dr. King's legacy and to spread a sense of community in the United States.Locations throughout the United States
The annual event features authentic foods, music, dance, martial arts, shopping, games and entertainment from China, to the Indian Sub-continent, and the island nations of the Pacific. The Festival features two stages, a martial arts demonstration area, children’s hands on crafting area, anime activities, bonsai and ikebana displays, mahjong table and more.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA Day is an Open House and one of the best ways to see what it is like to be part of the UTSA Family! Schedule a visit the way you want, based on your interests and time. Learn more about the next steps on becoming a Roadrunner!Various locations, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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