If school is open, Minal Chawla ‘22 is bound to be present.
Minal, a freshman biology major, is an attendance superstar. In her home country, India, she has set national records for perfect attendance. As noted in the 2018 India Book of Records, she is the only girl to have held the title of “Longest Full Attendance in India” for 14 consecutive years.
Quoted in the Ludhiana Times of India, school principal Balmit Kaur called Minal’s attendance record “unique and awe-inspiring.”
“What is even more remarkable is that her brother is following in her footsteps and has 100 percent attendance record,” Kaur said.
Perfection runs in the family. Her brother, Jasper, has also maintained perfect attendance for 10 consecutive academic years, and the pair are recognized for achieving the “Longest Full Attendance by Siblings” in the India Book of Records.
“Growing up, I’ve always guided my brother and he’s always looked up to me both in personal life and curriculum,” Minal said. “We go as a pair.”
At Delhi Public School in Ludhiana, Punjab, Minal never missed a day from nursery school through the highest level, the medical section of Class XII.
Minal credits her parents with supporting her pursuit of perfection.
“My parents always inspired and motivated both me and my brother,” she said. “They were not strict at all about it, but rather they just wanted the best for us.”
While setting her record, Minal found plenty of time for extracurricular activities. She worked on sustainability and water management projects and attended two wilderness camps. Her knowledge of sustainability allowed her to give lessons her school’s working staff on adopting environmental best practices. Meanwhile she crafted and sold handmade goods, donating the funds to a local hospital.
Minal chose Stony Brook because “it’s a top school for medical studies.”
“I’ve always wanted to study in the U.S. and I like that there’s diversity, different people, different languages and different cultures here,” she said.
At Stony Brook, she concedes, her attendance has fallen a little shy of perfect – which is no wonder, given the extent of her involvement. She is a fellow of the Undergraduate College for Leadership and Service and serves as event coordinator for the International Students Organization, as well as volunteering as an International Student Ambassador.
Her passions include playing basketball, writing and reading. “I like to keep busy, join new things and spend my free time writing,” she said.
Minal has big dreams and hopes to become a doctor. She believes that the discipline she learned while setting her attendance record will help her realize her ambition.
“I know that I want to save lives, and the qualities I have learned due to this award definitely help with that,” she said. “It has changed me and made me a better individual.”
— Maya Brown