People of Patriot: Merging multiculturalism and medicine

Through her passion for medicine and global cultures, Ritika Bawa (’22) strives to help others.

People of Patriot: Merging multiculturalism and medicine
“In the future, I hope to see the smiles of my future patient brighten up the room,” Ritika Bawa (’22) of Patriot high school said.

A child sits eagerly on a couch, staring at the TV in front of her. Dressed in scrubs, a physician appears on the screen, performing surgery on a patient. A younger Ritika Bawa (’22) watches fascinatedly, her attention completely captivated by the TLC series: Untold Stories of the ER.

“I used to watch Untold Stories of the ER and embarrassingly enough, I think that first sparked my passion for medicine,” Bawa said. “I felt ‘alive’ watching the show. I was interested in how they diagnosed and treated the patients.”

Helping others is the core of why Bawa gravitates towards a career in medicine. 

“In the future, I hope to see the smiles of my future patient brighten up the room,” Bawa said.

Bawa also finds great joy in public speaking and educating herself on different cultures. She believes that her love for cultures will build on her future aspirations as a physician. 

“I enjoy learning about cultures because you’re able to juxtapose yours with others and see all of the amazing similarities. I educate people about my own culture and my love for my Punjabi culture,” Bawa said. “I want to apply my passion for international cultures overseas and help those who need it across the world.”

Bawa carries her goal of spreading goodwill by valuing the opportunity to lead others. She supports others through her role as the president of International Club, FBLA, Pioneer Ambassadors, Science Olympiad, and South Asian Student Association.

“Leadership means to take on something you’re really passionate about,” Bawa said. “It means to take that passion and then to expand on it by being able to build and connect people. 

During a public health emergency, Bawa realized that she wanted to study Public Health as a major in college. 

“The pandemic was what specifically made me want to study Public Health. I found inspiration within individuals such as the chief medical advisor to the deputy health minister, Supriya Sharma,” Bawa said. “Through  hearing her opinion on vaccinations and masks, I admired her as a great public speaker. Using her as my inspiration was really key in combining my love for public speaking, public health, and medicine as the core center of that. She showed me that I could bridge all of my interests into this one amazing topic: medicine.”

Through all of her accomplishments—whether placing first place in the Science Olympiad regional tournament for the Disease Detectives Category or for qualifying in the FBLA Public Speaking Nationals—Bawa understands the importance of hardwork. Her motivation behind all of her educational pursuits trace back to elementary school. 

“I’ve always valued education. It all started in third grade when I read I am Malala,” Bawa said. “She really made me appreciate the education I have in America.”

10 Quick Q’s With Ritika

What was your most memorable moment in high school?

When our school had a Silento concert.

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?

I was standing by the library and my big hydro flask fell from my backpack. The sound of it falling was so loud that everyone stopped to look at me. 

Favorite class ever taken in high school?

AP Econ, AP Bio, and AP World

What is your favorite quote?

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring- Unknown

Books or Movies?


What’s your favorite tv show?

Grey’s Anatomy

What is your least favorite animal?

I dislike seagulls. I was in Finland, and some seagulls chased me while I was eating my fish sandwich. 

What’s your favorite song(s)?

Right now it’s Heatwaves by Glass Animals and Iann Dior

What is your favorite food?

Ice cream, I could have it for every meal.

If you could give advice to a rising freshman in high school, what would it be?

Work hard and get involved as fast as you can. It gives you amazing friends and you discover your interests.