Last weekend, Kanika Manchanda walked down the aisle at commencement with not one but two honors in hand: her bachelor’s in economics with a minor in math and her master’s in economics.
She’s the first “4+1 student” in the Department of Economics, according to Brian Duncan, PhD, the department’s director of graduate studies. Meaning “she was both a CU Denver undergraduate and graduate student,” said Duncan. He added, “She was a very good and hardworking student at both levels.”
Kanika moved from India to Denver in 2016 to pursue an undergraduate degree at CU Denver. She was set on studying economics, until an advisor mentioned the possibility of concurrently earning a master’s. “I wasn’t sure,” she said, “but I just took a leap of faith.”
In order to graduate in four years, Kanika packed her schedule with at least five classes during the school year and three over the summer. Feeling defeated and struggling in one class, she considered quitting at one point. Duncan, one of her professors, made all the difference. “He really motivated me to continue with this program,” Kanika said. “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
In October, Kanika landed an internship at Centura Health’s corporate office in Centennial, where she’s a data intern in the supply chain department. She’s on track to land a full-time job at the mega healthcare network.
When she looks back at her time at CU Denver, Kanika’s especially proud of her personal growth. Once shy and fearful, she took on a teaching assistant role in the math department that pushed her out of her comfort zone. She met new people and made new friends. “The experiences I had, I’m going to cherish them for all of my life,” she said.