Diva Patel grew up with the expectation that she would become a doctor, but as she immersed herself in more experiences at SVSU, she discovered pathways to succeed in her real passion – politics.
“Medicine was something my parents really wanted for me — kind of the typical immigrant kid story. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, so I was like, ‘OK, I'm gonna go to med school. I'm gonna become a doctor.’
“I decided I would add a political science major and see where it went. I knew I was interested in learning about it, even if I didn’t end up using it. Then I realized that though I love science and I love biology, and I could be a good doctor, I wouldn't be a happy doctor. As a result, I’d be a terrible doctor because you should love what you do.”
And Diva loves politics; she has since she was 13. But until she came to SVSU and got involved on campus and nabbed a few strategic internships, she wasn’t sure politics would ever be more than a hobby.
As a first-generation college student, Diva was navigating unfamiliar terrain when she was researching colleges. No matter which college she chose, finances would figure heavily into her decision.
“The Founder’s Scholarship was one of the biggest reasons for me to choose SVSU because I knew that I was going to go to grad school,” Diva said. She also received the Saginaw Valley Opportunity Grant for housing as well as several donor-funded scholarships.
That financial support had a much greater impact than Diva imagined. It allowed her to take advantage of opportunities that have nurtured her passion for politics and the democratic process, preparing her for professional life.
At SVSU, Diva became involved in SVSU’s College Democrats, serving as president, where she demonstrates her conviction that the democratic process should work for all people. Participation in SVSU’s Law Club and the Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy have further reinforced Diva’s commitment to public service and helped her hone her skills. Diva also joined the moot court program, excelling in this competitive organization in which participants act as attorneys in a simulated argument in front of the Supreme Court.
Thanks to her leadership at SVSU and dedication to political engagement, Diva was selected to serve on the Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force under Michigan’s secretary of state, focusing on increasing voter engagement and combatting misinformation.
All these experiences have helped Diva expand her network and cultivate relationships with people who share her drive for positive change. They also opened doors for professional opportunities. Diva is already realizing her political aspirations; she has completed internships with Michigan Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet and Congressman Dan Kildee. She is currently working in a summer internship with Kildee’s office in Washington, D.C.
“The more I get involved, the more I realize that I have the skill set to make a difference. It's just something that I really enjoy doing . . . I will never get tired of it.”
Diva’s story illustrates the power of scholarships. By embracing opportunities that were possible because of financial support, Diva has charted her path with clarity and developed professional skills that set her apart. She has inspired her peers to act and instigated positive change that extends beyond the university. And she intends to continue making a lasting impact.
Wickes Hall 398