(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 she developed as a toddler called alopecia. 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.
UTSA English professor Kinitra Brooks will discuss her new book, “Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror.” The book highlights the unique position of black women in the horror genre as both characters and creators.H-E-B Student Union, Travis Room (HSU 2.212), Main Campus
The UTSA community is invited to this town hall meeting to learn more about progress of the Strategic Enrollment Presidential initiative.Buena Vista Street Building, Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
The UTSA community is invited to this town hall meeting to learn more about progress of the Student Success Presidential initiative.Student Union, Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
The community is invited to the inauguration of UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, the sixth president of UTSA.Convocation Center, Main Campus
The Provost's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council hosts this forum to share and further explain the results of the survey and to offer the opportunity for faculty and staff to provide feedback.Durango Building, La Villita Room (DB 1.116), Downtown Campus
For more than 20 years, Josie Méndez-Negrete, a UTSA associate professor in Mexican American Studies, has endured the emotional journey of watching her son, Tito, struggle with schizophrenia. Her powerful account is the first memoir by a Mexican American author to share the devastation and hope a family experiences in dealing with this mental illness.H-E-B Student Union, Travis Room (HSU 2.212), Main Campus
Graduate and undergraduate student researchers pursuing majors in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts will present their original work.Student Union, Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
The UTSA community is invited to this town hall meeting to learn more about progress of the Student Success Presidential initiative.Frio Street Building (FS 1.512), Downtown Campus