VCU Honors College

The Honors Community

Shivani Shodhan
Scholarship awards:
2007 Rhodes Scholarship nominee
Honors College alumna.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Psychology with minors in biology and chemistry. Now a first-year medical student at VCU.
Faculty mentor:
Jeff Wing, National Scholarship coordinator in The Honors College.

Shivani Shodhan

Shivani Shodhan considers herself fortunate. Since an early age, she knew she wanted to pursue medicine.

That interest is what attracted Shodhan to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Honors College, which offers a guaranteed admission program to the VCU School of Medicine. Guaranteed admission gives qualified honors students a variety of options for gaining entrance to the school’s professional health science and graduate programs.

 “I definitely believe that The Honors College played a big role in my current success,” Shodhan said. “You get exposed to a wide variety of people; actually, a wide variety of thinkers and that is a very good experience.”

Getting to know her fellow honors students was important for Shodhan during her college years. She worked as a resident assistant and resident director in the honors-only housing dorm.

“I had the chance to really interact with students and explore relationships,” she said. “When you are in a smaller cohort of people – compared to the university population –you get to know people better.”

At age 22, Shodhan has already earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and served as the university’s first Rhodes Scholar nominee.

“It was more of an honor and pretty humbling,” said Shodhan, who received the nomination during her last undergraduate year. “To think about being put up against other students and being able to rise above in this particular application process, it meant that I had received a great amount of respect from my professors and other professors.”

She spent months preparing for the scholarship’s extensive application process, including interviews, an essay and screening process. A team of VCU faculty from many different departments assisted her in the interview preparation.

For the Rhodes essay, Shodhan researched HIV/AIDS in India – the same topic she addressed in her thesis. She grew up in a household that focused on staying culturally grounded and in touch with her roots (her parents are from India).

“HIV/AIDS is something that came on my radar at an earlier age,” she said. “It piqued my interest and the Rhodes actually gave me the opportunity to hone in on it.”

Once nominated for the scholarship, students go through another extensive application process for the opportunity to study at England’s Oxford University.

“The biggest thing I got out of the Rhodes was the process,” Shodhan said. “It really prepares you for other things in life.”

Shivani Shodhan

The Honors College played a big role in my current success.

Shivani Shodhan