Priya Sury’s enthusiasm for learning and change is contagious. She is positive and full of energy. What people do not notice, at first, is her lifelong dedication to service, her thoughtfulness and her drive. Though only a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, she has impacted St. Louis and beyond with her quiet determination.
Priya, both an Annika Rodriguez Scholar and a Danforth Scholar, quickly got involved in service upon arriving on campus. Initially, she became a leader for College Connections, the Rodriguez Scholars signature tutoring program that works with Wellston high school students, encouraging them to apply to college and assisting them with the process. Priya saw that the students were not exposed to science thoroughly, which was translating into lower scores on standardized tests such as the ACT. To combat this, she received the support of doctors at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, where she held a summer internship, to help create a multimedia science curriculum for these students to complement their basic courses. Priya is now in the classroom weekly helping teach this curriculum.
Priya also spends time each week as a leader for the Cambios Program, a WUSTL Spanish language tutoring program for Latino youth. Priya is instrumental in bringing WUSTL students to South St. Louis City to work with this under-served population. In addition to her rigorous academic curriculum, she is combining her love of the language with her desire to be a doctor by seeking our opportunities to facilitate community medicine projects for disadvantaged communities in Latin America. Along with fellow student Fidel Desir, Priya designed an HIV/AIDS education and prevention program in the Dominican Republic, working to combat the largest HIV infection rate in the Caribbean and Latin America. She has been working tirelessly all year with experts in medicine, social work and anthropology to make this program possible.
In her short time at WUSTL, Priya has excelled academically and continues to explore how she can best make a difference in the world. She does this regardless of recognition and the time these commitments take. In her nomination, Julia Macias Garcia, Coordinator for the Rodriguez Scholars Program, wrote, “Priya is not someone who does service in her spare time; she plans her time around service she is passionate about… and she has taken the time and initiative to go above and beyond normal service.”