Bhavika (Nikki) Dawar, a first-generation Wilkes student who is extremely active on and off campus, has been accepted into the Guthrie Scholars program, a residency for undergraduate students interested in a career in medicine.
Dawar is a junior biology major on the pre-med track. On campus, she is a member of the Bonner Leader program, the Presidential Student Leaders, the Tri Beta Biological Honors Society, the Honors program and the Barre Scholars program. She serves as president of the Pre-Professional Health Society and Indian Cultural Association. Dawar is also a teaching assistant for BIO 225, Population and Evolutionary Biology.
Bonner Leaders are required to volunteer eight to 10 hours per week at a service site. Dawar chose Volunteers in Medicine, where she works closely with the director and helps the staff when they need an extra hand. She also works as a medical scribe for the emergency department and has been shadowing doctors and medical professionals since the age of 16.
Now Dawar will add to her pre-med experience as a Guthrie Scholar. The program allows high-performing students to earn 15 credits during a semester in residence at the Guthrie Clinic and Robert Packer Hospital located in Sayre, Pennsylvania. The interns get an in-depth look at the medical field through medical, surgical and teaching rounds.
Dawar’s interest in medicine sparked during COVID-19. When the pandemic affected her family, Dawar acted as their caretaker and communicated with doctors to make sure they had the care they needed. “That was when service really hit hard for me at home and when I truly understood that helping and healing is what I wanted to do.”
Additionally, Dawar and high school friends also wanted to help their community’s local food pantry during the pandemic. By starting a GoFundMe campaign, they raised more than enough money to provide the food pantry with an ample amount of food and supplies to hand out within three months.
“Between those two things, I realized I wanted to pursue this career so that my future patients can be in the best health to be able to go and serve their community members because to me that’s the most important thing; service.”
Catie Becker, who served as the coordinator of the Bonner Leader program, has witnessed the Dawar’s dedication, growth and compassion. “I’ve seen her grow as a leader, both on and off campus, by challenging herself to try new things and take risks,” says Becker. “Nikki has shown just how much she cares about the world around her. I’m so proud of everything she’s accomplished thus far and can’t wait to see how she continues to grow in the Guthrie Scholars program.”
For any students thinking about applying to the Guthrie Scholars program in the future, Dawar offers this advice: “I would say to shoot your shot and have faith in yourself. I think even if you have doubts, just make sure you have all of your pieces put together the best you can and go for it.”