Vani Pandian Awarded Cooke College Scholarship from Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

NATCHITOCHES, LA- The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has selected Vani Pandian, a senior at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) as one of the 61 graduating high school seniors to receive the Cooke College Scholarship. This year’s recipients, who represent 26 states, will receive up to $40,000 annually to cover costs associated with their undergraduate education, as they go on to attend some of the nation’s top colleges and universities next fall.

Vani, who also received the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholar Scholarship when she was in eighth grade, plans on going to Princeton to major in Electrical Engineering after she graduates from the Louisiana School.

“Thankfully, due to guidance and recommendations from my professors and my advisors, I was able to get the College Scholarship,” she said. “LSMSA made it possible for me to push my boundaries regarding my interests. I discovered new passions, and I learned how to become more involved within my community. This scholarship will allow me to not have to worry as much about how I will afford college, which is a big relief. Thank you so much!”

The Cooke College Scholarship Program seeks to close the gaps in higher education access for driven students with financial need. Cooke College Scholars will receive financial support, along with ongoing educational advising from Foundation staff and access to a network of over 2,800 active Scholars and Alumni. Scholars will also receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and access to graduate school funding.

“The class of 2021 is incredibly inspiring — they’ve persisted through a year of unprecedented trials as they navigated remote learning, rapidly changing family finances, and of course, deep concerns over the health of their communities. Paying for college shouldn’t be another barrier,” said Seppy Basili, Executive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “At the Foundation, we remain deeply committed to ensuring that finances do not stand in the way of college success for the Scholars we are able to support. We know the resilience and accomplishments of these students will only add to our community of Scholars, and we are very excited to welcome them.”

This year, students applied for the Cooke College Scholarship from all 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Marianas, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. The Foundation evaluated each submission, and selected Scholars based on their academic ability, persistence, leadership, and financial need. Scholars will go on to study in fields such as biological science, engineering, computer science, and political science.

These 61 Scholars join the 43 current Cooke Young Scholars selected in February to continue to receive the organization’s support to form the 2021 cohort of 104 new College Scholars.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded over $222 million in scholarships to over 2,800 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $115 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.


The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, a preeminent state-supported residential high school with competitive admissions for high-achieving, highly-motivated students, fosters in young scholars lifelong growth toward reaching individual potentials and finding places of work and service in a global society through the examination and exchange of ideas in a community of learners.


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