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From Bethany to Muhlenberg: Shobha Pai's Path of Discovery with Next Genius

Shobha Pai, a Next Genius Scholar has high ambitions for her future.

Shobha Pai is currently pursuing her graduation from Muhlenberg College, Pennsylvania with a major in Psychology and Media Communication.

During her grade 12 in Bethany High School, Bengaluru, Shobha found out about the Next Genius Scholarship Program through her school’s counselor. All that while, she thought that going abroad for further studies was so unreasonably expensive that her family could not afford it. When she heard about this golden opportunity, she immediately applied and wanted to see where it took her.

On being interviewed about her experience of getting into Muhlenberg and her life there, she shared that, “It took me time to get used to the idea but I wanted to go with the flow. I was not expecting that I would win a scholarship but when I spoke to one of the admission officers at Muhlenberg, it made me more confident. She guided me and helped me to understand more about life at college and how people interact there”.

Before going to Muhlenberg, Shobha had done an internship at Fortis Healthcare, Bengaluru, which helped her to know more in-depth about Psychology. According to her, “In India, Psychology is underdeveloped, but this internship gave me an insightful perspective about its various fields. It taught me a lot about how to do research and work with people”.

When she just moved to Muhlenberg, her first semester was online, but it helped her to become familiar with people before she met them on campus. When she joined Muhlenberg, the college had a small community of international students with very few Indians. Shobha felt, “It is better to have a small community because everybody knows each other, and social life is just about how much you get involved in it”.

Muhlenberg is a creative college that offers over 150 clubs for students to choose from and everybody there is involved in something. Shobha added, “It does not feel like work, it is just about enjoying and loving to do what you like”. Shobha actively participated in many activities and encouraged others also to do so. She was filled with enthusiasm to keep learning and exploring. Nothing could stop her.

Further, Shobha spoke about the challenges that she faced. She shared that, “Adjusting to the massive weather change was very hard at the beginning but it is largely about the people you surround yourself with. Another one was about how unfamiliar I was in Allentown initially. Even in my academics, there was a huge shift in how I had to write my assignments here, which was more complex than the pattern in India”.

The best part about the journey was that she no longer needed to do rote learning. She could be as creative as she wanted to be with her work, unlike in India. Completing assignments became an inspiration for her to keep doing more and better. Apart from this, she even learned to manage her finances on her own because college made her an independent person.

After graduation, Shobha plans to either go ahead with video production and video editing or do more research and apply to colleges around the world to do a PhD. Her main aim is to go to Australia after graduating.

While concluding, Shobha shared a piece of advice with all the future Next Genius Scholars, “While selecting a college in Level 2 of Next Genius, make sure to do your research about the people and community of that college and decide if it is ‘the fit’ for you. Also, do your research about managing finances and know that if you spend money, you should know how to earn it back”. For her, the Next Genius Scholarship Program gave her more than she could have ever imagined and she is very grateful to the entire team. To apply for the Next Genius Scholarship Program, visit


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