Misha Bhakta will never forget the day she first stepped foot on the UT Austin campus during her college tour with the Youth Engagement Center (YEC).
“This was my first time seeing UT, and I was completely in awe,” says Bhakta, who traveled from Houston to Austin with her fellow YEC students from Madison High School. “So many memories from that day are etched in my mind. I remember seeing a Brown girl just like me working on her master’s thesis at the PCL. I even got the chance to speak to her and to learn that we came from similar backgrounds. Despite everything, she was able to graduate, and I know that I can do that too.”
Now a junior in the College of Natural Sciences, Bhakta is following her career path in the field of health care. She attributes much of her success to her YEC counselors and advisors who guided her every step of the way.
“The YEC provided me with the advice I needed for my career—and for my life in general,” Bhakta says. “They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Now I know that I can be the change that I want to be.”
She is especially grateful for the help she received in securing financial aid and a University Leadership Network (ULN) scholarship.
“They recommended me for the ULN scholarship, which I am incredibly thankful for because it took away a huge financial burden,” she says. “Essentially, they opened my eyes to a lot of different resources and opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t know existed.”
She also wants to thank her YEC adviser, Mr. Rose, for his guidance and encouragement throughout the entire process.
“He helped me so much, and I’m really glad he talked me into going on a college campus tour during a time of uncertainty,” Bhakta says. “He told me that you have to see the campus to see your future—and he was absolutely right.”
Looking toward the future, Bhakta plans to attend graduate school and later work in health care administration with the goal of eliminating persistent disparities that impact marginalized communities.
“It’s important we not only focus on curing diseases and treating symptoms,” Bhakta says. “When it comes to health care delivery, there are so many policies that affect how people of different demographics are treated. I hope to incorporate this knowledge into a hospital setting to change how we receive our health care.”