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Student Wins Scholarship for Community Service

January 19, 2012

Photo Caption: Sociology Professor Stephen London; Simmons President Helen Drinan; Rita Shah, Neha Shah; Jennifer Nodelman, Vice President of Education Finance, Citizens Bank; and Rick Musiol, Senior Vice President, Director of Public Affairs, Citizens Bank.

Dix Scholar Rita Shah was recently awarded a $1,500 scholarship by Citizens Bank for her work with domestic violence victims and Indian senior citizens.

On Jan. 17 Citizens Bank representatives visited Simmons to present Shah with a check. The scholarship can be applied toward her final semester of college – Shah is on track to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in social justice in May.

The TruFit Good Citizens Scholarship program was established in 2011 to reward students for giving back to their communities. Shah was one of just 20 students to receive the scholarship out of nearly 1,800 applicants. She and the other winners were chosen for their "incredible dedication to the quality of life of others," said Brendan Coughlin, President of Education Finance, Citizens Financial Group.

"We commend them for the impact they have had as volunteers," Coughlin added.

Shah, who commutes to Simmons from Burlington, Mass., works part-time for the Council on Aging helping Indian senior citizens. One of her programs, which began two years ago with a handful of participants, now attracts upwards of 40 seniors.

She has also done extensive work for the South Asian Women's Network (SAHELI) helping domestic violence victims. She said giving back was instilled in her at a young age.

"I was always taught by my parents to do something good for others," she said. "Life is too short."

Though she'll be graduating in May, her Simmons experience has motivated Shah to continue her education through a master's or doctoral program. Her youngest daughter, Neha, is currently a sophomore at Simmons studying physical therapy.

"The professors and students really accepted me as one of them," Shah said. "It's been such a great journey."