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The family of Fairleigh Dickinson University student Divyansh Atman Poddar has established an endowed scholarship at the University in his memory.

Divyansh, who was first diagnosed with leukemia at age 12, was studying electrical engineering at FDU when he died of the disease in 2019. He was 22. The Divyansh Atman Poddar Student Scholarship will be awarded to deserving students and will also support student research projects directed by faculty members in the Gildart Haase School of Computer Science and Engineering, where Divyansh was a student.

Born in Patna, India to Nidhi and Sushil Poddar, Divyansh excelled in math and sciences and was also a gifted writer whose blog is filled with his poetry, prose, and short observations about the people he met and with whom he interacted.

In one post, Divyansh reconsiders the character of Darth Vader, the uber-villain of the Star Wars series, wondering if the soul of the heavy breathing bad guy ultimately finds redemption. In another, he writes about a brief encounter with an Uber driver who drops him off at a cancer treatment center. His parents have co-authored a book, Blaze: A Son’s Trial By Fire, about his short but rich life.

It was Divyansh’s dream to study at an American university, according to his uncle, Dr. Ajay Poddar, chief scientist at Synergy Microwave. Divyansh lived with Dr. Poddar and his aunt, Kavita Poddar while attending FDU. And even in the face of his increasingly aggressive disease, he continued to attend classes. Poddar says that he even continued to do classwork from his bed in the intensive care unit.

“He worked to hide the pain and suffering that his disease caused,” said Poddar. “He didn’t want to make his caregivers sad.”

Poddar says that the decision to create an endowed scholarship in Divyansh’s memory was an easy one.

“He had a very strong desire to continue his education. He would have been happy and proud to make that possible for others.”

Dr. Ajay Poddar

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