Los Altos Hills resident Jay Bhateja, who recently graduated from BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, developed many interests during his high school career, including Boy Scouts and neuroscience.
As a result of his work with the Scouts and in science, Bhateja last month received $10,000 from the Frank Livermore Trust – a local college scholarship fund – toward his education at the University of Washington.
Bhateja was among three Eagle Scouts out of approximately 15 applicants who won the scholarship for exceling in Scouting and beyond.
A member of Troop 57, which comprises approximately 100 Scouts, he was the senior patrol leader – the highest position for a Scout – and led the troop by teaching younger Scouts and fundraising for the organization. For Bhateja, his work not only provided valuable leadership experience, but also was rewarding.
“I’ve learned a lot from leading a large group of boys. … It’s great to see a spark of understanding in a kid’s eye, as well as to share in their general excitement about life,” he said. “I like to be a person who can help guide and mentor them, because it’s a very direct way to make an impact.”
In addition to guiding the troop, Bhateja led two neuroscience clubs that host discussions about the brain, dissections and talks from guest speakers in the field. He served as vice president of the Bay Area Society for Neuroscience Youth Chapter and was president of the Neuroscience Club at his school.
“I’m … proud of the work I do to spread awareness about and passion for neuroscience, both through my school clubs and through BASIS,” Bhateja said.
In addition to his leadership roles, Bhateja has worked in the lab at Stanford University’s Department of Neurobiology, earned his black belt in kung fu and is teaching himself Hindi and Sanskrit to be more connected with his Indian roots.
Balancing school and Scouts
With these achievements under his belt, Bhateja applied for the scholarship, but he didn’t think he would be chosen. The committee thought otherwise, however, awarding him the scholarship at a ceremony last month.
The Frank Livermore Trust, in addition to funding the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, awards scholarships to Eagle Scouts from the Pacific Skyline Council graduating from high school. During his lifetime, scholarship namesake Frank Livermore was heavily involved in the Santa Clara County Boy Scouts program. The Frank Livermore Trust funds scholarships to continue his legacy.
“(Livermore) wanted to reward Scouts who while completing their high school education continued with their Scouting and obtained the rank of Eagle,” said Sam Vesuna, a committee member for the scholarship and a Los Altos High School graduate.
Explaining why Bhateja was selected, Vesuna noted that “Jay is a very mature, thoughtful person. He is a visionary leader and passionate teacher. His dedication to help others learn and excel is impressive and contagious. … He shines with enthusiasm for helping others, matched by intellectual brilliance and a hard-work ethic.”
Bhateja said he was surprised to receive the award, and he is happy the scholarship will help pay for tuition and make it easier to potentially attend medical school.
As Bhateja prepares for college, he said he is most excited to work in the neuroscience lab.
“(It’s) a really exciting place, where real conclusions about the world can be made,” he said, “and I’m really looking forward to getting started with that in my first year.”
To view Bhateja’s work with the Bay Area Society for Neuroscience, visit bayareasfnyouth.org.