Ruchika Shah is well on her way to realizing her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.  
Having moved to the U.S. from India only a couple of years before starting college, Ruchika found the nursing program to be challenging and strict at first. “But challenge is how you learn,” she says.  
She found that her professors were not only very knowledgeable, but also encouraging and supportive, as were her peers in the Honors College. “The honors program provides so many opportunities for students like me to develop both knowledge and leadership qualities,” she says. “My peers are smart and push me harder. We work together in collaboration, not competitively. And a willingness to help is a good quality for nurses to have!” Ruchika gained further skill, confidence and professional connections though clinical experiences at Boston Children’s Hospital and at Lowell General Hospital.

Ruchika shares her love of nursing with peers as an anatomy and physiology tutor in the Centers for Learning and with younger students as a member of the student organization Bring Diversity to Nursing. Members visit area secondary and middle schools and engage in hands-on activities with student populations that do not typically pursue nursing or other medical fields.
According to Ruchika, the scholarships and financial aid she received from UMass Lowell have helped tremendously in keeping her education affordable. When she has completed her undergraduate degree, Ruchika plans to do a bachelor’s-to-master’s program in nursing, an option that will allow her to apply certain credits to both degrees, thus saving her time and money.