Wright College sophomore Shlesha Patel has her sights set on a four-year degree in mechanical engineering. Thanks to a scholarship she received this December, she is one step closer.

Patel was selected from a robust group of applicants as the Fall 2022 TCP-CTA Transfer Scholarship winner, which is administered by the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation and made possible by sponsors Transit Capital Partners and Chicago Transit Authority. She was chosen for her strong scholarship application, excellent grade point average, and extensive involvement in extracurriculars and work activities.

Patel is the vice president of the American Chemical Society Wright College Chapter, and she works as a research assistant for Dr. Doris Espiritu, the dean of the Center of Excellence for Engineering and Computer Science at Wright College. She is exploring whether student participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities helps students to develop a stronger sense of belonging and self-efficacy.

The surprise scholarship announcement came during Wright College’s Center for Excellence Showcase hosted on December 8, 2022. The event was held, in part, to give 16 groups of students from Wright’s engineering and computer science programs a chance to present their research projects to their peers and a panel of judges. Patel was busy in her role as one of the event’s presentation judges when she heard her name announced by Dr. Espiritu.

“I didn’t expect it,” said Patel. “I am so happy, not just because of the money, but because it was such a surprise. I feel so emotional and I’m proud of myself,” she said.

Patel came to the United States from India in 2019 with her parents who immigrated, in part, to give their daughter more educational opportunities.

“In India, we lived with family elders who did not really like the idea of me furthering my education,” she said. “My parents have always been supportive, and I know my future was part of their decision to move here.”

She is the third student to be awarded the scholarship since its inception. Applicants must be second-year students planning to pursue a degree in the science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM) field at a four-year college or university.

Patel will graduate from Wright College with an associate degree in Engineering Science in May of 2023 and will transfer to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Grainger School of Engineering in the fall of 2023 thanks to Wright’s guaranteed transfer admissions agreement with the university.


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