Brinkley-Lane Scholar: Annika Bhardwaj

Cary native Annika Bhardwaj is excited to start her journey at East Carolina University in the fall. She arrives with many impressive accomplishments and ready to embark on even more inspiring pursuits.

The future engineering student has multiple interests and talents, including digital animation and creative writing, for which she has received several awards and has even been published. But Bhardwaj describes herself as a “robotics kid.”

She participated in her school’s First Robotics Competition (FRC) – an international robotics competition for high schoolers – all four years and eventually became Green Hope High School’s first female FRC president.

“Robotics gave me a way to explore my interest in engineering and unlocked my love for community STEM education … it’s shown me the importance of ensuring all kids have access to STEM activities,” she said.

Bhardwaj has used her spare time to share her love of robotics with youth, leading robotics summer camps, organizing competitions and teaching students in her hometown about robotics.

She also volunteered at the hospital where she was born.

“I love interacting with patients and alleviating some of the nurses’ work. It’s incredibly rewarding because I know I’m contributing a small part to a much bigger goal,” she said.

As an intended engineering major with a biomedical concentration, Bhardwaj wants to use her love of robotics and health care to help advance the medical field.

“I’m very interested in biomedical devices and their applications to health care, especially how they can be engineered to be more affordable and reduce health care inequality,” she said.

While at ECU, she’s excited to get involved with the Honors College and take part in all that the Brinkley-Lane Scholars program has to offer.

Brinkley-Lane Scholars is the most prestigious undergraduate award program offered at ECU. The four-year merit scholarship recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills. Recipients receive a fully funded education, covering the cost of tuition, fees, room and board for both in-state and out-of-state students and unique high impact experiences, as well as the ability to explore the world with a $5,000 study abroad stipend. Scholars benefit from access to an array of leadership opportunities, research with award-winning faculty and a robust alumni network.

Bhardwaj said, “Being a Brinkley-Lane Scholar means answering the call to service and taking the program’s incredible experiences out into the community. It means being part of a close unit of people who support each other in climbing to new heights. It’s an incredible honor that comes with amazing academic and professional opportunities that I’m so grateful for.”

In addition to the Brinkley-Lane Scholars program, she’s interested in pursuing current interests and discovering new ones, such as student organizations, research opportunities and community initiatives.

“I’m very passionate about science and STEM access for kids so I hope to continue supporting that in some way … I’ve heard great things about the College of Engineering’s industry internships and would love to look into these as well,” she said.

“I chose ECU because of the wonderful academic and service opportunities that are offered. I like that ECU prioritizes community engagement and provides so many personal academic opportunities like research and internships to expand students’ experiences,” Bhardwaj said.

“Being a Brinkley-Lane Scholar means answering the call to service and taking the program’s incredible experiences out into the community.”

High school: Green Hope High School

Intended major:  Engineering

Current City: Cary

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