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Family values

Scholarships enable pre-medical student to honor his parents’ sacrifices

Anubhav Thapaliya and his family immigrated in 2006 to the U.S. from Nepal to escape political unrest. When they settled in Woodbridge, Virginia, Thapaliya’s father worked in sales until he finished his training to become a nurse. His father set an example that taught him to value education and its role in making a difference for others, Thapaliya says.

“He always said that it doesn't matter how much money you make after your education,” he says. “He taught me that an education helps you see more perspectives, become a better human being and be able to understand more about the world.”

By the time Thapaliya graduated in 2019 from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a magnet school in Alexandria, Virginia, he was set on a career in medicine that would combine his social nature and his passion for helping others. He chose VCU because of its Guaranteed Admission Program in medicine.

“I want to go into medicine because I want to directly impact people's lives,” says Thapaliya, a second-year student in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences double majoring in biology and chemistry, as well as a member of the VCU Honors College.

Thapaliya has received a number of scholarships since joining VCU, including the Harkirat and Vijaylaxmi Singh Scholarship, an award for undergraduate science majors. His scholarships, he says, have enabled him to achieve his goals without burdening his family.

“My parents don't have to pay for my college because of the scholarships that VCU gave me,” Thapaliya says. “They worked hard and would do anything to make my education possible, but at the end of the day, if I were putting them into debt, I wouldn’t be satisfied. It prides me that I can go to college and even go through medical school without having to tax them.”

Thapaliya aspires to become an orthopaedic surgeon, ideally focusing on underserved patients through community medicine. He is motivated to live up to the investment others have put into his education.

“Getting a scholarship symbolizes to me that someone else values my education as much as I do and that they want me to grow as a person and have an impact on the community,” Thapaliya says. “When I graduate, I'll get to give back through my work as a physician and then one day, I can hopefully pay it forward by giving back as a donor.”