Norwich Commencement | The Graduates: Shaili Patel ’16

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Shaili Patel ’16

Hometown: Nashua, NH
Double Major: Architecture + History
Student Path: Civilian

  • NU Honors Program
  • Student Government Association
  • Residence Advisor
  • CityLAB: Berlin Semester Abroad
  • NUVisions Abroad: Philippines
  • Undergraduate Research


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What Norwich Taught Me

“Norwich taught me to be a confident, independent woman,” Patel says. “It showed me that I have the capabilities to be a leader, as well as the capacity to grow and learn as a person.” She credits Norwich faculty for opening countless opportunities and Norwich friends who “helped me develop my backbone and break me out of my shy shell.”

Shaili Patel was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and immigrated to the United States when she was 10. In the U.S., she moved often as her parents—both professionals—sought better economic opportunities. She quips that the experience at least taught her how to pack.

Patel found an academic home at Norwich, where she double majored in architecture and history and seized numerous opportunities. She won a coveted NU Summer Research Fellowship and stipend that sent her to London to study the seminal work of architects Christopher Wren and John Gwynn. While at Norwich, Patel entered the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Collegiate Program. The day before Commencement, Norwich President Richard W. Schneider presented Patel with the one of two inaugural student leadership awards. In addition to her parents, her high school drafting teacher attended her graduation.

Patel plans to intern with Norwich chief administrative officer David Magida and his staff this summer as they continue work on bicentennial capital campaign building projects around campus. This fall, Patel continues her studies at NU’s School of Architecture + Art in the one-year master’s program. Upon completion, she will commission as a Civil Engineer Corps Officer in the U.S. Navy. “I want to pay it forward to the country that helped me become who I am.”