Student Scholarship Award recipients

India Association of Minnesota (IAM), each year, grants Student Fellowship Award to Minnesota based High School students. This scholarship recognizes graduating students who demonstrate leadership & community involvement within the Asian Indian Community

We received several applications representing a diverse group of young smart and talented students who we feel will represent our community well in the years to come. The selection committee has taken careful consideration in reviewing this year’s impressive and diverse pool of applicants. We thank all the applicants for their participation and wish all a bright future.

Here are 2016 Award Recipients...

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divya vundamt 01 neeraja gollamudi 01 nehabhatt 01 shreya raghavan 01 paviguttipatti 01
Vikram Puram Divya Vundamati Neeraja Gollamudi Neha Bhatt Shreya Raghavan Pavithran Guttipatti

Vikram Puram

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Vikram graduated from Edina High School in the top of this class. He has just completed his second year at the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering and is pursuing a dual degree in Biomedical Engineering and Integrative Biology and Physiology. In high school, he won numerous debate tournaments and was a captain of the Debate and Speech Teams, passed numerous AP exams, and played 2 instruments. As a 15-year piano player and 9-year flute player, Vikram is very passionate about music: He has received a certificate in Piano Performance at the MacPhail Center for Music, has won two flute concerto competitions, and has played in many prestigious bands and orchestras. Vikram is active in the Indian community, playing South Indian Carnatic Music, engaging with the U of M’s Indian Student Association, and participated in Geetmala’s Sabrang Show earlier this summer.

He is a university honors student, VP of the Biomedical Engineering society, and conducts research on using cancer drugs to treat HIV/AIDS in the department of Microvirology. Last summer he did medical device development and animal testing at a biotechnology startup and currently works at the Hennepin County Medical Center’s Emergency Department conducting clinical research. Above all, Vikram works tirelessly to achieve what he sets his mind to and does everything with compassion and humility. He is excited to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and hopes to continue on to Medical school upon graduation. 

Divya Vundamati

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Divya graduated from Woodbury High School with Summa Cumme Laude honors in 2016. In high school, she participated in National Honors Society, Science Olympiad, Key Club, and played tennis. She took rigorous classes which granted the AP Scholar with Distinction Award.

Outside of school, Divya loved to volunteer at the Minnesota Children’s Museum and the United Hospital. She was involved in the Indian community by attending SILC, volunteering at SILC as an assistant social studies teacher, and also participated in dance, performing at the Festival of Nations. She has always been interested in medicine and pursued her interest by performing research about the effect of GCSF in patients with Severe Congenital Neutropenia post bone marrow transplant at the University of Minnesota. Additionally, she published a paper about a unique case of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with Monosomy 7. She is a two time recipient of the Minnesota Scholars of Distinction Award in Science for her research. Divya continues to develop her knowledge in medicine by attending University of MissouriKansas City’s combined BS/MD program.

Neeraja Gollamudi

neeraja gollamudi 01Neeraja graduated from Eastview High School with Highest Honors and National Honors Society recognition. She was also a member of the National Spanish Honors Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. Throughout high school she was an active member of the classic debate team and a three time Letter recipient. She was recognized as a top speaker at many tournaments as well as being a competitor at the State tournament multiple times. Additionally, she was a debate mentor for the younger students during her senior year. She was also an active member of her speech team and a Letter recipient. She competed in the category of discussion and placed in the top 14 speakers at multiple tournaments throughout high school. Academically, she was an AP Scholar with Distinction and a STEM Scholar.

Neeraja is also actively involved in the community. She has volunteered at multiple school events, including Elementary school carnivals, Art Festivals, Red Cross Blood Drives, and the Dakota County Library. She volunteered at Fairview Ridges hospital throughout high school for over 400 hours. She also received the Fairview Ridges Junior Volunteer Scholarship.

Neeraja has been a Peer leader throughout high school, as well as a tutor in math and reading comprehension in her community. She participated in several Cultural programs and Fundraising events. Neeraja has been dancing since she was five, and completed her Bharatanatyam Arangetram in 2013.

She will be attending Georgia Institute of Technology, with an interest in pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering. 


Neha Bhatt

nehabhatt 01Neha attended Wayzata High School and graduated among the top 10 in her class of around 800. During her time at Wayzata, she took 13 AP classes and received the National AP Scholar award. She was also a National Merit Finalist and received the National Merit Scholarship.

Neha was a Science Olympiad captain and competed on the varsity team, winning first place medals at state, regional, and invitational tournaments. She also participated in Speech and was a section finalist in Informative Speaking. Neha won 3rd place in the 2015 Minnesota Brain Bee, which has lead her to an interest in neuroscience. Neha loves music and is very involved in it. She plays piano and was an MMTA Senior Young Artist winner. She also completed the superior level of the Upper Midwest Music Festival. Neha sings and was a member of the Wayzata Concert Choir, Wayzata Madrigals, and Wayzata Chamber Singers, the highest-level auditioned small group at the school. She also sang in the 2015-2016 Minnesota All-State Women’s Choir as an Alto II and had a solo at Orchestra Hall.

As a member of her school’s National Honor Society, Neha took part in school and community service. Neha earned her Girl Scout Silver Award, volunteering and providing company to elderly patients at North Memorial Hospital. She also earned the Girl Scout Gold Award with a project designed to highlight educational features of iPads at her school. Neha has been involved in her Indian community from a young age. She has choreographed and performed many dances at Diwali, Vaisakhi, and Holi functions, as well as at IndiaFest. She sang with the Hindu Temple’s All-in-One youth chorus as a lead singer, working with other students to perform bhajans in over 10 Indian languages. Neha will attend Yale University this fall. 

Shreya Raghavan

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Shreya Raghavan graduated from Wayzata High School with the National Honors Society recognition in June of 2016. As an AP Scholar recipient, a member of the National Honors Society of High School Scholars, and a four-time Presidential Service awardee, Shreya has shown excellence in academics and within the community. In high school, Shreya actively participated on Wayzata’s Speech team; she received multiple awards over the three years and was a sectionals finalist during her senior year. Additionally, she has participated in DECA, an international marketing, management, and entrepreneurship organization that develops merging leaders. During her senior year, she was awarded first place in her events and proceeded to the Internationals Competition in Nashville, Tennessee.

Outside of school, Shreya has dedicated her time on the Hindu Youth of Minnesota (HYMN) Board where she was able to promote a close-knit community through cultural/social events and volunteer initiatives. Additionally, she was a student teacher in the Hindu American Temple School (HATS), and a Youth Camp Leader at the Hindu Mandir for the past several years. Shreya has also been an Indian Classical Dancer for the past 13 years, and continues to teach Bollywood dance to elementary, middle school, and high schoolers. Last year, she was able to work directly with the founder of Sankara USA, Murali Krishnamurthy, to open a functioning branch of Sankara Eye Foundation in Minnesota and organize fundraising initiatives. She was personally able to set up informational booths at several events in the Twin Cities including IndiaFest and MATA’s cultural events. Through such events, Shreya was able to bring increased awareness to the foundation and fundraise for the great cause!

In the fall, Shreya will attend St. Olaf College and pursue a double major in Biology and Business, as well as a concentration in Studio Art. She hopes to use the interdisciplinary education that St. Olaf has to offer to find the perfect balance between Business and Biology, while also tying in her passion for the arts.

Pavithran Guttipatti

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A graduate of the Eastview Class of 2016, Pavi pursued his passions both in and outside of high school. As a National AP Scholar, National Merit Finalist, and graduate in the top 10% of his class, Pavi consistently challenged himself academically. Outside of class Pavi was also greatly involved in debate at Eastview, where he served as Captain of the Public Forum debate team his senior year. Additionally, Pavi was also successful competitively, placing as a Semifinalist at the Varsity Public Forum State Tournament in 2015, and 4th in Extemporaneous Debate at the National Speech and Debate Tournament this year. Aside from debate, Science Olympiad also captured Pavi’s interest. In his main event, Cell Biology, Pavi placed 1st at the State Tournament in 2015 and 2nd at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Invitational. To further pursue his interest in cell biology, Pavi interned in a lab at the University of Minnesota researching thymine starvation in E. coli the summer before his senior year.

Pavi is also dedicated to the community, serving as an officer for the Eastview National Honor Society. He also helped found a new Project C.U.R.E chapter in Minnesota, aimed at collecting unused and surplus medical supplies from hospitals and distributing them to developing countries. This fall Pavi will be attending the University of Pennsylvania, where he will have the opportunity to further explore his interests in biology as part of the Vagelos Program in the Molecular Life Sciences.



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