Hometown: Clarksburg Maryland
Plans: M.D., George Washington University School of Medicine
“My sophomore year was incredibly difficult…medical school seemed impossible. I considered lightening my course load [but] my faculty and staff mentors disagreed; they told me that I hadn’t worked so hard for so many years to take the safe route… It was an incredibly difficult semester but I…learned that I thrived under pressure. Now, as a senior on my way to medical school in the fall, I can say with confidence that I look forward to all the challenges that life throws my way because UMBC has taught me to have grit and always persevere.”
Avanti Mehta has a lot to be proud of during her time as a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar and Honors College member at UMBC: making Dean’s List and President’s List, serving as vice president of the Oxfam Club and vice president of the Phi Mu Fraternity for Women. But she shares that the greatest reward she takes with her as she graduates from UMBC is her grit.
Mehta’s mother earned her Ph.D. at UMBC in molecular biology in 1993, so she grew up hearing stories about UMBC her entire life. When Mehta herself became a Retriever, she enjoyed all of the opportunities UMBC offered, but sometimes found it challenging to balance her diverse interests. Mehta was one of the first Sondheim Scholars on the pre-med track; she enjoyed studying anthropology, biology, and Spanish, she worked on campus and served as a student coordinator for an education-based Latino outreach group through the Shriver Center.
Sometimes Mehta’s confidence in her ability to juggle it all waivered. At one point, Mehta realized that because her mother graduated from UMBC, the Albin O. Kuhn Library would have a copy of her dissertation. In moments of stress, Mehta would work in that library, studying near her mother’s dissertation to draw strength from her mother’s experience completing a Ph.D. while working full-time and starting a family. She shares that her mother’s legacy has inspired her to always strive to become her best self.
Mehta will attend medical school at George Washington University this fall. She also plans to earn a master’s of public health to better support medically underserved populations.
Image: Portrait by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.