Jigarkumar Patel overcame obstacles to make an impact
Class of 2011
As both a transfer and international student from India, Jigarkumar Patel '11 was already set up to have a unique Marywood experience. However, it wasn’t until his off-campus housing caught fire that Patel and his housemates fully grasped Marywood’s ability to make an outsider feel welcome.
“That was a tough time for us because we didn't know anyone else. We [didn’t] have other relatives living in the States,” Patel recalled.
Despite having no familial support in the U.S., Patel noted the immense support offered by Marywood in his time of need. Marywood secured housing for Patel and his housemates, helped find the students summer jobs, covered the cost of their lost textbooks, provided meal plans, coordinated with a local church to find the students clothing, and assisted the students who lost passports with getting new ones from the Indian Embassy.
Through the devastating situation, Patel witnessed the ability of the Marywood community to come together. He noted several areas of the University which he wished to thank. Those at the top of his list were the Office of Diversity Efforts, led by Dr. Lia Richards-Palmiter, which offered Patel continued support as an international student as well as the Maintenance Department which offered Patel the opportunity to work on campus and make great friends.
When asked what he most learned from his experience, Patel said, “I try to see myself not as an outsider but as a part of the community, how I can help, and how I can make sure that I'm making [an] impact every day, everywhere I go.”
Although Patel’s Marywood experience included a tragic event, he has great admiration for the time he spent in Scranton. After growing up abroad and spending only a few years in Scranton, Patel still says it feels like his hometown.