India

From India to Drury with success on the way

While the idea that a student would travel more than 8,000 miles to attend a liberal arts university in Missouri may sound surprising to some, for recent Drury graduate Sayan Patra (Pronounced: Shy-own Pah-tra), choosing Drury was simply the next step. Patra is from Durgapur, India, and attended Hem Sheela Model School in his home country. Hem Sheela is Drury University’s sister school in Durgapur, which was founded by Drury professors Rabindra and Protima Roy in 1995. Attending elementary and secondary school at a place founded by Drury professors means Patra grew up with Drury in mind. “My family and friends didn’t want to see me travel so far away,” said Patra. “But I wanted to see the world with my own eyes.”

Patra in Chicago in 2010

With a scholarship in hand, Patra came to Drury to pursue undergraduate degrees in mathematics, computer science and physics. Chasing three majors at once is no easy task and Patra pressed his limits by becoming involved in numerous organizations around campus. By being associated with a wide diversity of departments at Drury, Patra was able to meet new people and make connections on a personal level. He tackled his busy schedule by developing time management skills and relationships with Drury faculty. “The Roys (Drs. Rabindra and Protima) pushed me to succeed, whether it was academics or involvement,” said Patra. With ambitions high, Patra accomplished a great deal in his four years at Drury, including creating the app Greeksr that helps Greek Life students connect with other Greeks via social media on one platform. In addition, he graduated Summa Cum Laude and was named Outstanding Senior Man for the 2012-2013 school year.

“We are very proud of Sayan because he made Hem Sheela very proud,” said Rabindra and Protima Roy. “The day we opened the doors at Hem Sheela, he was there to sign up for kindergarten.”

Patra is currently home in India where he will get a couple months of rest before starting his fall semester at Washington University in St. Louis. He is one of the few students selected for the Harold P. Brown Engineering Fellowship, a merit scholarship for students who excel in academic and co-curricular achievements. He will pursue a major in mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace engineering.  Upon completion, he plans to obtain a doctorate in aerospace engineering. As a child, Patra dreamed of building planes and rockets, but growing up he learned building them did not help people, at least not the way he wanted to. “I want to build satellites because they help people,” he said. “We all need to do our part to make this world better. Blind ambition or personal satisfaction doesn’t do that. I want to do work that accomplishes a greater good.”

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Story by Amber Perdue, a May 2013 Drury University graduate.

Triple J: Three brothers balance life, school and ambition

Drury students Jonathan, Jeremy, and Joshua George are not your typical West Plains residents. Between frequent trips to India and owning a pet elephant for a period of time, these brothers hold strong ties to their Indian background and carry a worldly view in addition to a resilient work ethic. Ranging in age and year, they have created a positive and strong presence on Drury’s campus that constitutes a legacy. Jon, a senior, Jeremy, a junior, and Josh, a freshman, are all pre-med students making the most of their Drury educations with high ambitions for life after college. Jon wants to be a missionary doctor, Jeremy a surgeon, and Josh a “regular doctor,” as he likes to put it.

John, Jeremy and Joshua George

“When I started looking into Drury, everything fell into place,” said Jon. “The amazing Pre-Med program, the beautiful campus, and the scholarships all led me to pick Drury.” Each George brother received an Edward Jones Scholarship, which is financial aid for minority students. Students who are awarded the scholarships must meet specified requirements during the school year in addition to pursing an entrepreneurship minor. “It’s great that Drury reaches out to minority students,” Jeremy said. “The scholarship program and entrepreneurship minor diversify us, especially since we are in the medical field; we learn how the business aspect still relates to medicine.”

Being at Drury together is a unique part of the George brothers’ lifestyles. “Once we saw the experience Jon was having at Drury, Josh and I wanted to be here,” said Jeremy. The brothers are competitive with one another, but that doesn’t mean being better but striving to be just as good. “We hold each other accountable,” said Jon. The youngest brother, Josh, has the fortunate experience of having his older brothers at Drury. “They have both learned through trial and error so I don’t have to,” Josh joked.

Every weekend, all three brothers carpool home to West Plains to be with their family and they all work in their church on Sunday. “We just started our church Ozark Christian Tabernacle,” explained Jon. Their father Achenkunju is the pastor, Jeremy is the children’s pastor, and together they lead worship. Four hours of their weekend is spent driving and the rest is balanced between working at the church and studying “We’ve learned how to do homework on the road,” said Josh. “You could call us three brothers and a pickup truck.”

Oh, and about that elephant. It never made it to West Plains. The George brothers’ grandparents kept it in their backyard in India.

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Story by Amber Perdue, a senior public relations and advertising major at Drury.