Careers & Education

Jamaican student makes dean's list at Duke

Sunday, August 12, 2012    

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JAMAICAN student at Duke University in the United States Anisha Khemlani has distinguished herself by making the Dean's List with Distinction, placing her in the highest 10 per cent of undergraduates at the prestigious institution.

The eldest of four children of businessman Steve Khemlani and his wife Karishma, she is pursuing a double major in economics and political science.

A past student of Immaculate Conception High School and before that Immaculate Preparatory, Anisha is an ambitious and insightful scholar with numerous academic successes.

At Immaculate High, she achieved nine distinctions in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams and became salutatorian (usually the person with the second highest academic grades) of the graduating class of 2008. She then achieved nine distinctions in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

The 19-year-old is grateful for the input of her teachers in her success. "Without the help and dedication of all my teachers at Immaculate, I wouldn't have developed such enthusiasm for my studies nor reached such heights. Even through my college application process, teachers like Ms Bramwell at Versan (Sandra Bramwell, executive director of Versan Educational Services) became a mentor and friend," she said.

Anisha placed among the top three in the island in CSEC physics and CAPE accounting, and among the top four in CAPE economics, before leaving to pursue her undergraduate studies at Duke in 2010.

But according to her family, Anisha was not always as focused as she is today. She attributes the change in her approach to her grandmother and younger sister.

"I was very attached to my grandmother from a tender age. I admired her persistence and determination and hoped I could one day emulate her. Also, I watched my younger sister, Sonam, study very hard and, as a result, she excelled in everything she did -- both sports and academics. As the eldest child, I was inspired by her and I wanted to be someone my younger siblings could be proud of and admire."

It was never just about academics for Anisha; she enjoyed participating in sports and joining clubs and organisations. She represented Immaculate in lawn tennis for seven years, captaining the team in her last year. The team was successful in keeping the LIME-sponsored tennis trophy for five consecutive years.

At Duke, she is participates in organisations, such as Students of the Caribbean Organisation, of which she is president, novice rowing, Smart Women Securities, and Duke Student Government, to name a few. She has entered business competitions and volunteered to tutor teenagers in mathematics and Spanish.

During her holidays, Anisha returns to Jamaica where she works in the family business alongside her parents. She, along with her siblings, co-founded Project Educate Jamaica, a successful schoolbook and supplies drive.

She has ambitions of entering representational politics and has had the privilege of a close relationship with Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

"I have known Aunty Portia for as long as I can remember and I am inspired by her resilience and perseverance," she said.

Above all, Anisha thanks her parents for her success.

"I have the greatest admiration and love for my parents. For everything they've ever done and for the sacrifices they've made, I owe my success to them," she said.





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