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Interdisciplinary Studies Students Named Voyager Scholars

Krupa Bharodiya and Kelis Johnson

Krupa Bharodiya (International Studies and Business Administration – Marketing ’24) and Kelis Johnson (Africana Studies – Community Studies ’24) are part of the inaugural cohort for the Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service, also known as the Voyager Scholarship. The cohort consists of 100 college juniors and seniors from around the nation who plan to pursue a career in public service.

The Voyager Scholarship is a two-year program funded by the Obama Foundation, thanks to a $100 million personal contribution from Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb.

As part of the scholarship, students receive:

  • Up to $50,000 in financial aid: Students will receive up to $25,000 per year in financial aid for their junior and senior years of college. This financial aid should alleviate the burden of college debt so that students can afford to pursue a career in public service.
  • Summer Voyage: Students will receive a $10,000 stipend and free Airbnb housing to pursue a summer work-travel experience between their junior and senior year of college. The students will design their own Summer Voyage to gain exposure to new communities and experience in a chosen field.
  • 10-year travel stipend: After graduation, Airbnb will provide the students with a $2,000 travel credit every year for 10 years, totaling $20,000. This will allow students to continue to broaden their horizons and forge new connections throughout their public service careers.
  • Fall Convening: Students will be invited to a fall convening to help define their public service voyage. At this year’s gathering they will meet with President Obama and Brian Chesky to discuss the role of empathy and understanding in leadership and public service. They’ll also hear from guest speakers on different approaches to service and connect with other scholarship recipients.
  • Network of leaders: Throughout the program, students will be invited to an ongoing speaker series, giving them access to a network of leaders. This network of leaders will expose them to new areas of service and innovations happening in their fields. After graduation, they will join the Obama Foundation’s global community, providing them with foundation resources and programming.

About Krupa Bharodiya

Krupa Bharodiya
Krupa Bharodiya

Bharodiya is a junior from Morrisville, N.C., majoring in international studies and business administration with a concentration in marketing as well as minors in environmental and political sciences. She is also a TRIO Scholar through the TRIO Student Support Services Program.

Bharodiya is part of the University Honors Program, where she serves as an honors seminar ambassador mentoring first-years. Also at NC State, she is the co-president of the Pre-Law Students Association, where she helps organize events and build community among group members. In the Poole College of Management, she is a general member of the American Marketing Association and Women in Business and is planning to join the Pack Abroad Ambassadors program as part of the study abroad office’s efforts to promote exchange programs. 

In the broader Triangle area, Bharodiya is a business analyst for Consult Your Community, a student-run nonprofit that offers free consulting services for female or black-owned small businesses.

“This honor will enable me to directly work to bridge the divide in education and gender equity across the globe next summer while building connections to further my career in public service,” Bharodiya said. “I’m so excited to be a part of the first inaugural cohort of the Obama-Chesky Scholars among 99 other future leaders of our country to make a difference!”

About Kelis Johnson

Kelis Johnson
Kelis Johnson

Johnson is a junior from Greensboro, N.C. majoring in Africana studies with a concentration in community studies. In addition, she is in the process of applying for a self-design major in public health and a minor in environmental health.

Johnson serves as director of the Black Students Board, and in that role she celebrates the African diaspora by planning exciting and engaging events for the Black community on campus. She is also an AYA Ambassador for the African American Cultural Center, where she facilities important community conversations and is able to expand on her leadership skills in many areas. In addition, she is a proud Ronald E. McNair Scholar with TRIO Collegiate Programs.

Outside of the NC State community, Johnson volunteers with the nonprofit organization Neighbor 2 Neighbor, where she has the privilege of working within an underserved community mentoring children from ages 7-18.

“This honor means so much to me as it is providing a platform for my advancement in public service and is a life-changing experience,” Johnson said. “Having the opportunity to connect with other young leaders across the nation and globally, this opportunity is more than imagined.”

For more information about the Voyager Scholarship visit obama.org/voyager-scholarship.

This post was originally published in DASA.