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Harper College

International student experience inspires alumna to give back

Shipra Rajput standing next to the Edwards signShipra Rajput always dreamed of studying in the United States. So, when the opportunity arose to go to college in the U.S., and following a recommendation of a family friend who lived in the northwest suburbs, Shipra enrolled at Harper College in 2014.  

It her first time outside of India, and her hometown, and she wasn’t sure what to expect as a first-time college student in a new country. But Shipra says Harper College welcomed her in a way she hadn’t anticipated which greatly impacted her experience.

“I felt immediate belonging at Harper which made my experience in a new country easier than it could have been,” said Shipra. “Jill and the International Student Office were amazing, and I knew I could count on them to help me figure things out.”

While a student she worked at the Harper campus Subway and was considering pre-med or engineering career paths, ultimately deciding on engineering. Shipra felt connected to the Harper community through her job, her professors, and fellow students.

“Experiences shape people more than anything else,” said Shipra. “And Harper really helped me with that sense of belonging.”

It was her experience that keeps Harper so close to her heart, she says, even now from thousands of miles away in her new home of Salt Lake City, Utah where she resides and works as a Quality Engineer with Edwards Life Sciences. And it was the positive experience that inspired her to give back through the creation of a scholarship with Harper College Educational Foundation for international students studying at Harper College.

The Karma Foundation Scholarship is an annual scholarship for international students who are enrolled full-time and have a demonstrated financial need. The scholarship was awarded for the first-time last spring to an international student from Turkey.

While Shipra created the scholarship to support international students financially, she is also happy about the possibility of connecting with student recipients to provide an additional avenue of moral support and guidance during their journey abroad. She credits her supportive family and her guru for laying the foundation for success and motivation to give back.

“I hope to be a small part of someone’s journey. International students need connection more than anything,” she said. “So many people helped me so it is the least I can do to help and let them know that they are not alone in the process.”

Last Updated: 3/14/24