Alumni Donations Took Me to Japan

From left to right: Louise Lima ('19), Jake Sutter ('19), and Shubha Verma ('19)

IMSA might not be the best place for my health or sanity, and it definitely hasn’t been the best place for my sleep, but IMSA has done a lot for me. 

Recently, IMSA sent me to Japan on an all-expense paid trip. Jake Sutter (‘19), Louise Lima (‘19), and I traveled to Japan for a week to present our research and explore Kyoto. It was the best experience that I think I’ll have during my IMSA career, and I’m so incredibly grateful that I was granted this opportunity. It felt eye-opening, offered a break from school, and cured my burnout. 

The trip was run by the SIR department. SIR students had the opportunity to apply to attend the Japan Super Science Fair, a yearly fair at Ritsumeikan University, and present their research. I submitted my application, not knowing whether my research would hold up to the other crazy projects that IMSA students pursue. Soon after, the email saying “Japan-bound!!!” came back. In my rush of excitement, I thought to myself, how much money will I have to ask my parents for?

With this uncertainty in mind, I called my parents to tell them the good news. Lucky for me, they thought this was an amazing opportunity and assured me they’d be able to cover it. 

However, after talking to the SIR department, I discovered that I wouldn’t have to pay a penny. Because this was an academic conference, the President’s office covered the costs with alumni donations. This was new, and previous conference-goers have had to pay for their airfare and accommodations. I felt relief knowing that I wouldn’t have to ask my parents to fund my spontaneous decision to apply for a trip to Japan. 

My week spent in Japan was life-altering. I saw more of the world, I learned about science from different people in different countries, and I experienced a great culture shock. All of these are things that IMSA values. 

Because IMSA has chosen to pay for these conferences, they’ve opened the doors to these conferences to everyone. 

The IMSA fund makes attempts to offset financial burdens for students to have opportunities like mine. Intersession trips come with scholarship applications as well for students who want to travel abroad but can’t afford the hefty price tag. The only issue is, the IMSA fund can only do this with the help of alumni donations. I’ve been fortunate enough to see the miracles that IMSA can work for its students first hand, so when I’m old enough to donate to IMSA, I will. 

I hope that you’ll find a reason to donate, too. 

About the Author

Shubhi Verma
Shubha "Shubhi" Verma is from a small village called Forsyth, Illinois, but at IMSA she lives in 02b downquad with her favorite people. She's thrilled to be serving as Co Editor-in-Chief this year for the Acronym, and she looks forward to spending even more time procrastinating homework by working on this. Outside of this Wordpress, she's a part of BELLAs, LEAD, Science Olympiad, Senior Class Club, and SIR, so you'll be able to find her trudging underneath her 50lb backpack a lot. Ask her about the Acronym if you want her to launch into a 2 hour speech about why you should join and why it's the absolute best organization on campus.

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