Harvard honors Indian American students, organization

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At Harvard University’s second annual Student Leadership Recognition Awards ceremony, the Office of Student Life honored several undergraduates and student organizations including the South Asian Association on campus and other Indian Americans, for their achievements and contributions to the College.

Indian American Meena Venkataramanan along with Jackson C. Walker and Maya Jenkins were awarded the Thomas A. Dingman Emerging Leader Awards, an award specifically for freshmen leaders.

“Freshmen are not often in titled positions of leadership and so one of our motivations behind the awards in general was just to recognize people who are not formally recognized as leaders. It was really important to us to reserve a category for freshmen,” junior Dominique J. Erney said in a press release.

“Being at a ceremony like this and being able to have been nominated for this award and receive this award is something that I never expected. I am really grateful to my mentors and my nominators, and also obviously my family,” Venkataramanan said.

Indian American Nina Srivastava was awarded the Senior Veritas Award while students Gemma Collins, Juliana Rodriguez, Alisha Ukani and Evan M. Bonsall received the Spirit of Harvard College Awards.

“It’s really emotional, I was sitting in the back tearing up as other people were receiving their awards, just thinking about the different ways that students impact Harvard. It’s so humbling to just think about everything that Harvard has meant to me and thinking about seeing that recognized is really, really rewarding,” Srivastava said.

The Harvard College South Asian Association received the Inclusivity Award while the Harvard College VISION: Global Health Society received the Collaboration Award and MakeHarvard received the Innovation Award.

Alexander R. Miller, associate dean of student engagement said, “these awards are great ways to really acknowledge our students and student organizations while also acknowledging the work that they do that’s aligned with our mission. It’s always just very awe-inspiring to see people talk about their accomplishments and why their involved in what they are involved in, so that’s probably my favorite part.”