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Three Duke alumni recognized as Samvid Scholars for effecting positive societal change

Rasheca Logendran, Sahil Sandhu and Sujal Manohar. Courtesy of Duke Today.
Rasheca Logendran, Sahil Sandhu and Sujal Manohar. Courtesy of Duke Today.

Three recent Duke alumni and future physician-leaders were recognized as Samvid Scholars in October.

Sujal Manohar, Rasheca Logendran and Sahil Sandhu, all Trinity ‘20, make up the inaugural class receiving this new, merit-based graduate scholarship sponsored by Samvid Ventures. The program was founded to invest in the graduate education of future leaders who are committed to effecting positive change in society. 

Each of the three scholarship recipients had a unique undergraduate journey. While students pursuing various graduate degrees are eligible for the scholarship, Manohar, Logendran and Sandhu all plan to complete medical degrees.  

Manohar is particularly interested in the relationship between art and medicine. As an undergraduate, she led art gallery tours for adults with dementia and their caretakers through the Nasher Museum Reflections Program and designed two collaborative murals. One was displayed at Duke Children’s Hospital, and the other at a pediatric clinic near her hometown of Dallas, Texas.

Manohar also created a senior exhibition of illustrated drawings titled "Reflect", which was centered on student mental health experiences at Duke. The drawings were displayed at the Wellness Center Gallery through December 2021.  

“While my neuroscience and visual arts majors did not offer overlap in the classroom, I sought ways to combine these fields through my extracurricular activities,” Manohar wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “I aim to pioneer new ways in which the arts can be utilized to enhance patient (or health care worker) experiences and outcomes.”

Logendran, a Robertson Scholar who majored in public policy and nutrition, focused on the ways in which the Durham community hurts and heals during her undergraduate years. 

Logendran served as the president of Duke Partnership for Service during her senior year.  In this role, Logendran wrote, she was able to develop a more complete understanding of the impacts of Duke and its hospital system on the Durham community. 

Sandhu also focused his time at Duke on serving the Durham community.  Sandhu was the founder of the “Help Desk” program, a student-run initiative to help connect patients to resources for their unmet social needs, such as food insecurity and housing instability. This program involved a partnership with Lincoln Community Health Center to train student volunteers as “community resource navigators.” 

“As an undergraduate, I wondered if students, eager for meaningful clinical experiences, were an untapped resource that health systems could better leverage to improve integrated health and social services,” Sandhu wrote in an email to The Chronicle.

Manohar, Logendran and Sandhu all found out about the Samvid Scholarship through various University resources, including the Office of University Scholarships and Fellows website. As members of the first cohort of Samvid Scholars, they had completed most of their medical school applications by the time the Samvid application was due.

“The nice thing about this award is that the application for this award opens in February, closes in March, and finalists are notified in May,” Sandhu wrote.  

Logendran found the Samvid Scholars application to be a valuable way to reflect on her future goals.

“Whereas the admissions process can be tough since many factors are out of your control and truly due to luck, and there are times when you face rejection, these internal reflection practices are empowering since it can serves as a great reminder of the power and impact that you as an individual can have,” Longendran wrote.

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