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Dhara Purohit Awarded Aspire2STEAM Scholarship

Dhara Purohit

As a member of TEWH, Dhara is working to create solutions to pressing world health problems.

Aspiring biomedical engineer plans to make mark in new era of vaccine design and drug development

I chose to study biomedical engineering because I really enjoy how engineering and medicine can come together to make patients’ lives a lot easier.”
— Dhara Purohit
DES MOINES, IA, UNITED STATES, November 11, 2021 / -- “Leroy Chiao, American astronaut and engineer said ‘The biggest technical challenge to sending astronauts on farther and longer missions is biomedical—How do we keep them healthy?’ and that helps you get an idea of the type of work to which Dhara Purohit aspires,” said Cheryl O’Donoghue, CEO at “We’re excited to award her a scholarship and know she will contribute much to advance the field of biomedical engineering.”

“I chose to study biomedical engineering because I really enjoy how engineering and medicine can come together to make patients’ lives a lot easier,” said Dhara Purohit. “I am particularly interested in the fields of nanotechnology and regenerative medicine and excited to see how this technology will further develop in the coming years.” This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine, combining the design and problem-solving skills of engineering with medical biological sciences to advance health care treatment, including diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy.

Dhara is finishing up her first semester at The University of Texas at Austin. She attended Ridge Point High school in Missouri City, Texas outside of Houston, where she experienced academic success, served as president of a cancer awareness club, played viola in the school orchestra, and was an active member in many honor societies. She also spent much of her free time helping others through volunteer work in her community.

Dhara was one of the nation’s top scoring Advanced Placement (AP) test students. She earned AP Scholar with Distinction in recognition of her high AP scores. Only 10% of students taking AP courses earn this distinction. Advanced Placement is a program run by the College Board (the makers of the SAT) that allows students to take special high school courses that can earn them college credit and/or qualify them for more advanced classes when they begin college.

Dhara hopes to gain the knowledge and experience in college to one day work at a company or research institute that is involved in the way drugs and vaccines are delivered. This technology is just beginning to be innovated as seen through the unique forms of vaccines for COVID-19, something that fascinates Dhara. She said, “This out-of-the-box thinking scientists have done will help millions and millions of people around the globe. Seeing this new development, I would be privileged to take part in the new era of vaccine design and drug development.”

To support her desire to make the most of her college experience, early on in her freshman year Dhara joined an organization called Texas Engineering World Health (TEWH)--a group of passionate students dedicated to making the engineering experience at The University of Texas at Austin the best it can. Through TEWH she is involved in helping the organization to host impactful events and advocate for other students.

The mission of TEWH ( is to help solve pressing health problems in developing nations through innovative medical technologies. The project ideas fall under the 5 Challenges established by Engineering World Health, a global organization dedicated to addressing engineering problems in the developing world. Dhara, an enthusiastic TEWH member, said, "We're currently working to make an inexpensive patient monitor that measures one's vitals, so that it can be used in third-world countries where they may not have the resources to buy one."

With the scholarship awarded to Dhara, Aspire2STEAM has funded 18 scholarships this year and is well on its way to achieving its stretch goal to fund “21 in ‘21” scholarships. For information on the nonprofit’s 21 in ’21 campaign, learn more at

ABOUT… is a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We provide scholarships and mentoring to young women and girls who are working hard—aspiring—to achieve careers that require education in science, tech, engineering, the arts, or math…and they could really use a hand up over the incredible barriers of student debt and rising education costs, and the real, ever-present opportunity barriers that keep them out of most male-dominated industries. These young women are doing their part, let’s help them by doing ours.

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Dhara Purohit, Aspire2STEAM scholarship recipient