Sona Dadhania, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, received the 2016 Science Ambassador Scholarship, given by Cards Against Humanity, after being selected the top winner by a panel of judges from among 1,000 applicants, on April 11th. Dadhania, whose name was announced by CAH, will get full tuition coverage for up to four years to study materials science and engineering.
“I was so shocked and unprepared to hear that I won,” 18 year-old Dadhania who is from Cherry Hills, New Jersey, said. Dadhania is also a member of Penn Raas, a South Asian cultural dance team. The scholarship was created by CAH after the success of their “Science Pack,” an $10 expansion pack available for purchase on CardsAgainstHumanity.com. All proceeds fund the scholarship trust which has raised over $850,000 so far.
“We created this scholarship to raise visibility of women in science,” said Jenn Bane, the CAH’s community director. “Several of us at Cards Against Humanity have backgrounds in science and technology, and underrepresentation of women in STEM fields is a glaring problem we’ve seen ourselves. That’s why we decided to both fund a woman’s undergraduate education and carve out a public space for women in science to discuss what they’re passionate about.”
Bane said that the CAH, which accepts video applications for the scholarship to give women a platform and an audience, was pretty impressed with her presentation. “Her video on nanotechnology immediately stood out to the board of judges as one of the best,” she said. An advisory board of over 60 women, who hold higher degrees and work professionally in science, selected Dadhania as the winner.
“Sona was a great candidate from the very first round of judging,” said board member Dr. Veronica Berns. “Her video explained difficult concepts in nanotechnology in a creative, visual way that made them simple to understand without feeling condescending. That’s a very hard thing to do, and Sona made it look easy. I can tell she is a very talented young scientist and I’m so happy that we will get to throw a spotlight on the work she is doing in the coming years,” Berns said.
As the winner, Dadhania will continue to create videos about STEM, which will be hosted on Cards Against Humanity’s YouTube Channel. “I can’t wait to share my love for science with others. I’m fortunate enough to know many people who have inspired me with their passion for science, and I hope that as Science Ambassador, I can inspire a passion and love for science in someone else,” said Dadhania, who plans to one day work for a chemical, manufacturing, or aerospace company.