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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
After becoming one of only 100 college and university students worldwide selected by the Goldman Sachs Foundation of New York as this year's Goldman Sachs Global Leaders and receiving a $3,000 educational scholarship, Dartmouth sophomore Mita Sharma of Princeton Junction, N.J. wasn't expecting to receive another honor so soon. But three days after returning from a conference for this group in New York in April that included extensive interviews, Sharma received an email announcing that she had been selected as one of 50 students from around the world - only eight of them from the U.S. - who will go back to New York in July to participate in the Goldman Sachs Global Leadership Institute.
Begun in 2001, The Goldman Sachs Global Leaders program seeks to develop future global leaders and encourage them to pursue cross-cultural and international projects addressing the world's most urgent political, social, and humanitarian problems.
After reconvening for the worldwide conference in New York in July, the students will begin ironing out the details for a health and social improvement program in a new location overseas. In August they plan to submit a proposal to Goldman Sachs' Social Entrepreneurship Fund, which provides seed grants to projects that encourage leadership opportunities and social change. Past seed funding has helped launch student-initiated projects such as a malaria prevention campaign in Nigeria and an art therapy program for AIDS-affected children in Namibia.
"I was completely surprised," Sharma said. "Everyone was amazing in the interviews and spoke very well in the discussion so I had not even imagined that I would get chosen."
Sharma flourished in the high-performance environment of the April conference, which included intensive interviews and sessions in which the students discussed a topic while the selection committee evaluated their performance. She was selected on the basis of her discussion performance, the strength of her presentation on her experience with a recent Dartmouth student trip to do service work in Nicaragua, and her original application to become a Goldman Sachs Global Leader.
Sharma participated last fall in the Nicaragua Cross-Cultural Education and Service program sponsored by Dartmouth's William Jewett Tucker Foundation, which fosters opportunities for student service and spiritual activities on campus. Students worked in pairs throughout the fall term, preparing a topic for presentation in Hormiguero, Nicaragua. Sharma and her partner prepared a presentation, "Maternal Mortality," that drew on their research and Spanish-speaking skills and used a translator and large pictures to overcome the language and education barriers. The Dartmouth team spent the break between their fall and winter terms in the town, providing health care and dispensing medicine while learning more about the Nicaraguan culture and people. The experience deeply altered Sharma's perspective.
"It changes your appreciation for the littlest things. It's why I want to give back more. I feel so fortunate to have the things I have," Sharma said, recalling an elderly man who walked for two days to reach their clinic so that he could receive his first check-up. "It's just seeing their hardships in life, which are so different from our hardships, and they're still so happy."
Winner of the Dartmouth President's Volunteer Service Award in January 2006, Sharma has participated in America Reads and Habitat for Humanity and is an active member of Dartmouth Emergency Medical Services. A neuroscience major and chemistry minor, Sharma has pursued a passion for health-related and social change throughout her academic career.
"Goldman Sachs Global Leaders are chosen precisely because they already know how to make a difference in the world," Stephanie Bell-Rose, president of The Goldman Sachs Foundation, said at a ceremony during which she announced this year's honorees.
Not only does Sharma know how to make a difference, she also believes that each individual's actions have a powerful impact. "I think the difference comes in little quantities," she said. "It's the little things that everyone's doing that are making the change."
Written by Dartmouth senior Linzi Sheldon
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