CARLSBAD–Anisha Mudaliar, a senior at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, has been named the first Distinguished Young Woman for the State of California, following three days of competition among 39 other women in Bakersfield, Calif. Previously known as the Junior Miss competition, Anisha joins only two other San Diego women since 1958 to win the top honors at the state level. In June 2011, Anisha will travel to Mobile, Ala., to compete in the Distinguished Young Women of America program.
Distinguished Young Women are recognized for scholastic achievement, community involvement, creativity and the quest for excellence in every facet of life. All of the young women competed in five categories: interview, scholastic, talent, self-expression and fitness. In addition to winning the overall title and $19,250 in scholarships, Anisha also won first place in the scholastic, talent and self-expression competitions.
While maintaining a 4.82 GPA, Anisha has been recognized for her academic achievements in recent years, including:
- National Finalist, Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition (2010)
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Grant (2010)
- First Place, Medicine & Health Sciences Category, Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair (2010)
- Kaiser Permanente Award, Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair (2010)
- Second Place, Animal Sciences Category, Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair (2010)
- Ethical Responsibility Award, Pacific Ridge School (2010)
- San Diego Oceans Foundation Award, Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair (2009)
- Best Delegate, Outstanding Delegate, and Best Research Award Winner, Model UN Conferences (Stanford University, UCSD, University of Washington, respectively) (2009)
- Founder’s Award, Pacific Ridge School (2009)
- Intel Research Grant (2008)
- Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship (2006-Present)
Active in the community as well, Anisha spent three weeks building a classroom in Kenya (2009) and two weeks constructing a water system in Ecuador (2008) as part of the Free the Children service learning group at Pacific Ridge School. In 2009, after founding the Otesha service learning chapter at Pacific Ridge School, Anisha led the fundraising of $9,000 to construct a schoolhouse in Kenya and the fundraising of another $6,000 to build a Children’s Resource Center in India. A few years prior, Anisha founded the House of India Project in Balboa Park and remains one of its four young cultural ambassadors. She has assisted in establishing the economic rehabilitation program for the Thirumani Leprosy Community and spent over a month teaching English at an orphanage in India.
Anisha is also an experienced tabla drums player and has had 10 years of training in Bharathanatyam Dance, a 5,000-year-old Indian classical dance form.
The Distinguished Young Women program is a unique opportunity for young women to showcase their achievements, participate in a six-week mentorship program, and learn the true meaning of Be Your Best Self,” said Larry Frum, a volunteer with the San Diego County chapter of the Distinguished Young Women. “We are proud that Anisha Mudaliar is the State of California’s Distinguished Young Woman this year, as she has not only excelled in her academics and community service work, but also in her character and humility. We congratulate Anisha for this well-deserved recognition and look forward to watching her compete for the national title next year.”
The Distinguished Young Women Scholarship Program (formerly America’s Junior Miss) spans the country, with more than 5,000 of the nation’s brightest and most talented young women participating at the local, state and national levels each year. It is the oldest and largest national scholarship program of its type for high school females. Distinguished Young Women inspires high school females to develop their full, individual potential through a fun, transformative experience that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments. The program encourages continued education by providing college scholarships, develops self-confidence and the ability to interview effectively; encourages and showcases excellence in academic achievement, physical fitness, on-stage performance skills, and the ability to think and communicate clearly; and creates opportunities to beneficially inspire the lives of others. Headquartered in Mobile, Ala., Distinguished Young Women has provided life-changing experiences for more than 700,000 young women and more than $92 million in cash and college-granted scholarships, with previous participants and winners that include Diane Sawyer, Dr. Kiersten Richkenbach, Deborah Norville, Kim Bassinger, Debra Messing, Dr. Linda Rutledge and Judge Kay Kingsley. The program is supported by the more than 17,000 volunteers across the nation, and sponsors which include Regions Bank and Carlsbad-based Jazzercise, Inc.