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Neil Chaudhary has been named the 2020-2021 Board of Trustees Scholar at the University of South Alabama. CONTRIBUTED

Chaudhary named Board of Trustees Scholar at ‘South’

MADISON – Neil Chaudhary of Madison has been named the 2020-21 Trustees Scholar by the University of South Alabama Board of Trustees.

This scholarship is one of the most prestigious at South Alabama. To create the program, in 2014 trustees gave the university more than $125,000, which was matched by the Mitchell-Moulton Scholarship Initiative.

“It was kind of unexpected, because the semester had already started. I wasn’t anticipating extra financial aid or anything, but I was definitely very happy and grateful,” Chaudhary said.

Chaudhary is the second Madison student to earn the title of Trustees Scholar. After the program started in 2015, Ada Chaeli van der Zijp-Tan was selected as Trustees Scholar in 2017.

At James Clemens High School, Chaudhary achieved a weighted GPA of 5.2 and reached 35 for ACT composite score. Chaudhary served as president of Red Cross Club and belonged to several service groups and national honor societies. He volunteered at a local hospital and worked as a math tutor.

Chaudhary, 18, is majoring in biomedical sciences and plans to pursue a career in medicine. His grandmother influenced his career choice as she struggled to walk or get around in a wheelchair. “As a kid, I always wondered how much better her experience would be if she didn’t have to go through that,” he said. “That was one of the early sparks that led me into medicine.”

Chaudhary’s parents are from India. His mother is a chemist, and his father is a software engineer. Neil was born in California but moved to Alabama when he was seven years old.

Chaudhary, who already had received a Whiddon Honors Scholarship, chose South Alabama for its Honors College and early-acceptance medical program.

“You can’t put yourself through a schedule where you work all the time and never give yourself a break for interests or hobbies,” he said. “That just makes you a boring person, who’s serious all the time and never has fun. With me, I can sit down and study for a long period of time, but then I’ll see if my friends want to go out for a bite to eat … something like that.”

At South Alabama, Chaudhary is interested in the Student Government Association and the First Year Council. He wants to pursue undergraduate research and make the most of his time at ‘South.’

The coronavirus pandemic has limited some campus social events, but Chaudhary is anticipating his first Jaguar football game and already has traveled across Mobile Bay to Fairhope.

A few years ago, he first visited the University of South Alabama while on a family trip to Dauphin Island. He now is adjusting to late-summer humidity on the Alabama Gulf Coast. “I can deal with the heat,” Chaudhary said, “if I can be on a campus like this.”

Next summer, Chaudhary hopes to join an Honors College program in London.

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