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Shivpal Yadav Finds His Passion at Leadership Conference

Yadav and group
Shivpal Yadav, second from left, is shown with delegates at the USLA conference in Malaysia. (Courtesy of Shivpal Yadav)

When Ph.D. student Shivpal Yadav was chosen to represent NC State University at the 10th University Scholar Leadership Symposium (USLA) in Malaysia, he was thrilled. But the honor also came with a specific problem: How to pay for the trip?

Paying for His Conference

The registration fee, lodging and travel for the week-long conference half-way around the world were substantial, especially for a graduate student. But he was not deterred.

Yadav approached the Graduate School about funding, then reached out to his department – civil, construction, and environmental engineering – and the College of Engineering. All of them came through with enough funds to support Yadav’s travel.

Attending the 10th University Scholar Leadership Symposium

The 10th University Scholar Leadership Symposium was held Aug. 1-7 in Kuala Lumpur, and Yadav was there, representing NC State University.

The conference gave participants the opportunity to learn from others involved in international development and humanitarian efforts around the world.

“It was a great learning experience for me as I got to meet hundreds of delegates from different countries, youth leaders in social change and inspirational speakers, all working towards a single goal of building a better world,” Yadav said. “This event ignited my passion for humanity and enlightened me with hundreds of ideas of how can I help to make the world a better place.”

One story in particular stands out for Yadav, about a kid named Ryan from Canada who was only 6 years old when he started his first social change project, raising funds to build one well in Uganda, Africa. This single project has had such an impact that now, more than 20 years later, Ryan’s Well Foundation is a Canadian charitable organization working towards providing access to safe water in the poorest regions of developing countries.

The experience inspired Yadav, who has volunteered to teach STEM projects to youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Raleigh. He has also registered as a volunteer English tutor and mentoring refugee youth with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. “I want to pursue my career in academia and research,” he said, “but I also want to teach kids and students, mainly focusing on STEM.”

Three lessons Yadav learned from the experience

  1. Travel and study abroad experiences are important in a graduate career, even if an experience is outside of your discipline area.
  2. Travel can be expensive, but there are resources to help.
  3. Be open to new directions where your experiences may lead you.

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