A Cooke Scholar’s Journey from Nepal to Cornell

Sagar Chapagain will tell you that he comes from a very humble background. His dreams were big though, and they kept him hard at work.

He’s now attending Cornell University as a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholar on a full scholarship. And, he wants you to know that you could be next.

1“I absolutely love being a Phi Theta Kappan and truly appreciate the life-changing opportunities it has provided to me,” he said. “If I can do it, anyone else can do it.”

Chapagain immigrated to the United States from Nepal with his family in 2011. A first-generation college student, he enrolled at the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland in 2012 as a part-time student while he worked full time to help support himself and his family.

He became a Phi Theta Kappa member in 2013 and served as the Vice President of Scholarship and Leadership of the Chi Theta Chapter. Chapagain then became chapter president, and he used this platform as a way to reach fellow international and immigrant students and help them navigate the resources available on campus.

Chapagain credits the connections he made through Phi Theta Kappa for the scholarships and internships he has received. He was selected to participate in the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2014, and he conducted scientific research at the National Institute of Health in Baltimore, Maryland, in the summer of 2015.

He was also named a Silver Scholar on the 2015 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team, and he delivered the commencement speech at his community college graduation ceremony.

“Phi Theta Kappa has given me opportunities to enhance my leadership skills and network with students from all over the country who are not only incredibly smart but also very passionate about serving their community,” he said.

Chapagain was awarded a Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in 2015. This prestigious program awards up to $40,000 to deserving community college students each year, with the opportunity to apply for an internal graduate scholarship of up to $50,000 each per year.

This is the largest private scholarship for two-year college students in the country. It wasn’t out of reach for Chapagain, and it’s not out of reach for you. Check out this video to hear more of his story.

Up to 55 students will receive the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in 2017. Applications are being accepted now through noon ET on October 25. Apply here.