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Born in a poor village of Pakistan with no running water, no bathroom, and many days without food; she lived in a society where suppression and the physical and mental abuse of women was accepted practice. Facing the challenges from a society that valued men but had little use for women, and a culture that found it disrespectful not to follow the traditions of her ancestors, she was torn by her burning desire to embrace American culture. By 6 years of age, Umara saw her life as hopeless and wished she had never been born. But somewhere along the way Umara realized there was a greater plan for her — in the United States.

“When bound to the chains that incarcerate me to constant abuse, and a diminished ray of hope to attain some sort of peace, the opportunity to pursue my education, through this scholarship, becomes the only door for me to escape, to discover liberation, and to be the change I envision in the world. College is my only alternative, the sole utter resource to break free from the cycle of poverty, abuse, and the increased constraints of hopelessness. I am the spirit of L.I.F.T…. My future, my education, and my life are truly dependent upon this scholarship.”

Umara earned a 3.9 G.P.A. at Pike High School, with advanced and honors classes that ranged from French and advanced honors science to English and advanced chorus. Umara transferred from Indiana University to Indiana University Purdue campus, so she could be of help to her mother who is ill, while continuing her educational pursuits. She is studying psychology and pre-med as the desire within her to make a difference in the lives of the oppressed world- wide is stronger than ever. She is an all around inspiration, sure to be a symbol of change for women of the world as she pursues her dream to become a doctor. Her love of learning and her desire to help others has given her determination and purpose as she maintains a 3.86 G.P.A., always taking as many credits as she can possibly handle. I can always count on her as a peer mentor if another scholar runs into difficulty. She has mentored elementary age students through the L.I.F.T. Challenge Program and is presently volunteering her assistance with blind people at BOSMA Enterprises. This summer she will be interning in the IUPUI Center for Research and Learning Research Program.

With Umara’s dreams of medical school upon completion of her undergraduate work at IUPUI next spring, I have no doubt this will be her reality. She takes every opportunity, through volunteer hours at IU Health, IUPUI Liver Regeneration Lab, and Wishard Hospital to more define the areas of medicine she is most interested in pursuing and learning as much as she can about all types of medicine.