Middlesex County College student Sanjana Butala has been selected as a 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar and will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
The Leaders of Promise Scholarship, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, recognizes 200 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) members with awards totaling $200,000. Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for two-year colleges.
This year’s recipients were selected by a panel of independent judges from nearly 700 applicants. Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars are selected based on outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership potential.
Ms. Butala is a Biology major who just completed her first year with 32 credits and a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She was accepted into PTK in January, her first semester of eligibility.
“When Covid-19 forced us to quarantine in March, Sanjana completed a rigorous program of training and earned her certification as a crisis counselor at the free 24/7 Crisis Text Line,” said Charlotte Quigley, advisor of the Middlesex County College chapter of PTK. “Sanjana now volunteers as a crisis counselor and regularly talks to people in crisis utilizing skills of active listening, empathy and compassionate problem-solving. Sanjana truly personifies the four foundational pillars of Phi Theta Kappa: Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Fellowship.”
Ms. Butala is president of the MCC New Brunswick Center Club and was involved in creating and coordinating activities such as Welcome Back Week, TED Talks and Halloween Movie Night.
A member of the Indian Student Association and Hindu Student Council, she was involved in the Diwali celebration at MCC last fall. She presented an Indian classical dance piece and talked about the Indian culture.
“I have learned that being a passionate leader means being optimistic and understanding of the people around you, which has sharpened my confidence, conversation techniques and public speaking skills,” she said. “It has also made me realize that there are so many people out there who really need help – people whose problems are far worse than mine. I have learned that when we are passionate about a cause, supporting it no longer feels like a commitment to simply build your resume. It enriches you from within, teaches you lessons that you couldn’t have learned in any other way and completely changes your perspective of the world.”