Usha Kadiyala knows a thing or two about managing her time wisely. As a student at Schoolcraft College, Kadiyala completed a full course load while completing more than 1,000 hours of community service—leading food and clothing drives for Focus: HOPE, tutoring at a local elementary school, volunteering during a church rummage sale.
For Usha, giving to others is just a way of life.
“I’ve always wanted to share my time with people,” she said. “I want to be the kind of person who puts a smile on people’s faces.”
Kadiyala, a junior biochemistry student, was recognized for her commitment to community as the most recent University of Michigan-Dearborn recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. She is the second UM-Dearborn student to receive the honor, given annually to approximately 75 transfer students nationwide.
Kadiyala is no stranger to campus. She first visited UM-Dearborn as a high school sophomore, when she worked on a research project with Kent Murray, professor of geology and environmental science.
“It was my first college visit and I liked the idea of a small campus community,” she said. “I decided my senior year of college that I wanted to attend UM-Dearborn.”
That dream almost took a detour as her family budgeted for Kadiyala and her sister to attend the university. She originally planned to take the 2013-2014 academic year off from schooling to save money for tuition. Those plans changed when she received the scholarship news.
“[The scholarship] wasn’t something I thought would happen, but I was hoping for it,” she said. “It is so competitive; it’s such an honor to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship.”
The scholarship recognized Kadiyala’s academic achievements—she maintained a 3.9 GPA at Schoolcraft—as well as her involvement on campus.
Her community involvement continues now at UM-Dearborn. Kadiyala joined Honors Transfer Innovators and Blueprints Leadership Program, as well as several academic organizations.
“Usha is a powerful force for positive social change through her work on the ground,” said Amy Karaban Finley, assistant director for CIViC engagement. “Her endless hours of service combined with her strong, influential leadership skills lead me to believe that 10 years from now we’re going to be talking about the legacy of service and metropolitan impact she left for students at UM-Dearborn.”
Eventually, she plans to head to medical school to study neurology. For now, though, she’s concentrating on her undergraduate experience.
“Vice Chancellor [Stanley] Henderson refers to campus as a community and you really do get that sense when you are here,” she said. “I’m just so excited to be here.”