2018 Scholar Omika Suryawanshi has been selected by the Coca-Cola Scholars Alumni Advisory Board as the new Sandy Williams Alumni Legacy Scholarship (SWALS). This scholarship is awarded to an active and passionate Coke Scholar who is an engaged and supportive alumnus, and embodies the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation’s mission as a socially conscious, service-minded change agent. SWALS recipients are true difference-makers with strong initiative and powerful, strong voices, with deep passions for creating, leading and administering their own initiatives to educate, enrich, and serve others.
Coca-Cola Scholars from the class of 2018 nominated several of their peers for the award, and Omika was selected because of the way she embodies Sandy William’s model of humility and servant leadership and her commitment to keeping the Scholars community connected.
Her nominator wrote, “I truly believe that she is best suited to represent our class’s voice on the Alumni Advisory Board because of how well she knows everybody and their needs. And on top of all of her accomplishments, she works to give back and provide others with the same opportunities.”
Also noted in her nomination was her resolve to continue the lessons she learned through the Leadership Development Institute at the Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend through her own initiatives in college.
Omika founded the Admit List, a program that offers mentorship to low-income students through the tricky college admissions process. By assembling a group of highly accomplished college students across the country to serve as mentors, she helps high school students get into college.
The SWALS scholarship includes support to attend a Coca-Cola Scholars Leadership Summit or Service Summit and 2 years of service on the Alumni Advisory Board during the recipient’s third and fourth years of college.
Omika is a Ridgefield, CT, native and is attending the University of Virginia as a Jefferson Scholar. At UVA, Omika has the pleasure of studying Computer Science and American Studies, with a concentration in Southern Studies. Aside from her coursework, she’s a teaching assistant in the CS department, a content creation intern for BackStory: the American History Podcast, a tutor in the Charlottesville Public School system, and has served as a researcher for projects ranging from segregation academies to the meritocracy of Silicon Valley.
The Sandy Williams Alumni Legacy Scholarship is jointly funded by Coca-Cola Scholar alumni and Coca-Cola bottlers in honor of Sandy Williams, who served as chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors for 14 years and as President of Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Mississippi. Mr. Williams is a humble servant leader, dedicated to bettering his community and profession through selfless action, and the selected SWALS embodies and lives those values. Learn more about the Williams family and Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation celebrates and empowers visionary leaders who are refreshing the world. With its 32nd class of Coca-Cola Scholars, the Foundation has provided more than $70 million in scholarships to over 6,300 program alumni who together have become a powerful force for positive change.