Student Spotlights: Lakshmi Vrittamani and Robert Dang
Lakshmi Vrittamani is entering her fourth year at the Biological Sciences School, majoring in Human Biology, with a minor in Management. She will be graduating at the end of the 2016-17 school year and plans to pursue a medical degree, and a master’s in business, thereafter.
Since her first year at UCI, Lakshmi has sought various opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities to give back to the university and the community around her. During her second year, Lakshmi served as a mentor for incoming freshmen in the Campuswide Honors Program, and studied physics abroad in England. At the start of her third year, she enrolled in the Biological Sciences 199 undergraduate research program, and has since been working in Dr. Gehricke’s lab at the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Santa Ana. As an undergraduate researcher, Lakshmi explores different treatment options for autistic and ADHD children and adolescents.
In addition to her research, Lakshmi serves as the co-director of Initiatives for Project RISHI, a humanitarian student run organization dedicated to providing sustainable solutions to social and health problems in rural Indian communities. In addition, she is the co-president of the Biological Sciences Student Council, a campus organization that strives to provide students with the necessary resources and support to help them make the most of their undergraduate career at the School. This upcoming year, Lakshmi plans to work closely with her fellow students to familiarize them with school faculty and the scientific community around us.
Outside of UCI, Lakshmi is often found hiking or drinking coffee, sometimes both at the same time.
Robert Dang is an undergraduate majoring in Human Biology at the Biological Sciences School. He will be graduating in spring 2017, and hopes to pursue Emergency Medicine in the future.
Along with his studies, Robert has participated in several extracurricular activities designed to help the community and explore the field of medicine. He joined the undergraduate research program during his first year, where he worked for Professor German, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology where he studied rapid evolution in a population of P. Sicula. During his second year, Robert began working in Professor Patterson’s lab, Neurobiology and Behavior, where his research focuses on finding biomarkers between schizophrenia, schizo affect, and bipolar patients using EEG and psych evaluations.
In addition to his research, Robert began volunteering at the UCI Medical Center during his second year and currently works in their emergency department. That same year, he was also granted the opportunity to attend a medical mission to Vietnam, with the university organization Medical Educational Mission Outreach (MEMO), where he gained both medical and volunteer experiences. During his third year, Robert became a member of the Pre-Health Fraternity Delta Epsilon Mu, where he participates in training events for students working towards careers in the healthcare field. These combined experiences have helped him achieve his altruistic goals and helped prepare him for a career in medicine.
Now, at the start of his fourth year, Robert will be serving as co-president of the Biological Sciences Student Council (BSC), a campus organization that strives to provide students with the necessary resources and support to help them make the most of their undergraduate career at the School. He has been an active member of BSC since his second year. He served as a board member during his third year and is excited to continue the mission of BSC.
Robert has always been a strong advocate that physical and mental health are key to success. He picked up powerlifting and basketball after coming to college and tried Karate during his third year. When he needs to relax from stress, he enjoys making music and cooking. His advice to the incoming freshman, “Try something new every quarter!”