Stronger than Any Storm

Praveen SahabanduIf you’ve ever doubted that adversity can make a person—and not break him—you have not met Praveen Sahabandu. He did not have an easy childhood, but the difficult circumstances life dealt him would only make him stronger.

Praveen’s mother passed away when he was 17. Soon after, and while working full time, he enrolled in a university in his native Halifax, but he floundered, “just scraping by,” he says. Then, a cousin of his—who had attended Santa Monica College—told Praveen what a great college it was, somewhere one could “start over.”

At SMC, Praveen found a community—staff and other students—who helped him discover his incredible potential. He joined the STEM program, became a President’s Ambassador, and served on institutional committees. This summer, he will be working at a UCLA biochemistry lab as a paid intern, one of only a handful to be selected.

Praveen hopes to do research on heart disease, and on the optimization of drugs within the human body, a desire that he has had since he was a young boy. His mother—who suffered from a number of health issues—had to take many different kinds of pain medication. “I remember thinking,” says Praveen, “there’s got to be a way to make this better.”

Praveen wants to support and be a strong model for his family, and that always makes him “try a little harder.” He graduates with an Associate Degree in General Science and is transferring to California State University, Long Beach, as a biochemistry major.​​

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