Shruti Jain ’24 knows a thing or two about building community.
Inspired by her upbringing, Jain creates communities everywhere she goes. They all stem from the idea of shared, lived experiences and supporting others.
Take, for example, her high school experience. Recognizing that many fellow students received financial aid, Jain created a space for the group to connect and share resources. “I found a voice in myself to become a leader and to support others,” she said. “That’s what being an entrepreneurial leader is—finding solutions, being unique and creative, and being someone who is supportive, inclusive, and understanding.”
Tell us about where you grew up.
My parents emigrated from India to the United States in the ’90s. I grew up in California and lived in a low-income community of color. I went to high school at a predominantly white private school, and I commuted about an hour to get there.
I think a lot about the bus ride I took to get to school. I started in my town, where I’d see people walking to work, people with their children. When I got to my school, the community was quiet—it didn’t feel as connected. I learned a lot from the experience, including that I’m from a supportive community who understands each other’s journeys.
What communities were you a part of, or did you create?
In middle school, I was a Next Generation Scholar. They are a nonprofit dedicated to leveling the playing field for underserved students, taught me about navigating the world as a low-income student. My Next Generation Scholar friends and I understood one another.
I received financial aid to attend high school. At first, I felt like I didn’t earn my place because of that financial aid, but I started to notice that a lot of my friends received some sort of financial aid. I created FASES, a group that speaks to the experience of being a low-income student at an elite school and provides a safe space for students.