Colby College Posse Scholar Arunika Bhatia.
Colby College Posse Scholar Arunika Bhatia.

Colby Scholar Focuses on Conservation, Community

Fall 2018 | National

Arunika Bhatia, a Colby College Posse Scholar, is a senior studying environmental science with a focus on human health.

She was born in New Delhi, India, and immigrated to the United States at age two when her father got a job as an electrical engineer in Texas. Raised just outside of Houston, Arunika attended a math and science high school that she describes as particularly stressful.

“Thankfully, I joined communities and participated in activities that helped me grow,” she says, citing her school’s Spanish Honor Society and an annual multicultural show featuring music and dance performances.

“I joined communities that helped me grow.”

Arunika’s teacher and Spanish Honor Society sponsor, Sra. Frunza, nominated her for the Posse Scholarship. Receiving the scholarship to Colby meant she would be leaving Texas for Maine.

“My whole life, I never thought I would ever leave Texas,” she recalls. “Maine made me realize that I was strong enough to travel on my own.”

At Colby, Arunika is involved with the diversity-focused Pugh Community Board (PCB) and the Farnham Writers Center. She was also a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar in a two-year University of Washington summer program that her fellow Posse Scholars encouraged her to pursue.

“The program helps young conservation leaders from historically underrepresented backgrounds,” she says. “We travelled around Washington learning about food, water, ecosystem and climate issues. The next summer we worked with conservation organizations and learned the values of environmental justice.”

This year, Arunika will chair the PCB as they put together Colby’s annual SHOUT (Speaking, Hearing, Opening Up Together) week in March.

“I am driven by my vision for a more equitable future.”

“Students, faculty, and staff engage in conversation about activism,” she says of the event, mentioning that Janet Mock, Dolores Huerta and Spike Lee have been guest speakers in the past.

Among the different career paths Arunika is considering, becoming a professor of environmental science ranks high. However, she does not rule out the possibility of working for a nonprofit or getting involved in politics.

“I am driven by curiosity about the natural world and my vision for a more equitable future,” she says, adding, “I don’t think I could have made it this far without my Posse. We always have each others’ backs.”