staff, staff, March 14, 2015

Sraavya Undurty, a senior studying biomedical engineering at the University of Iowa, has a unique attitude towards free time.

?If there is too much sitting around and not doing anything, I get restless,? Undurty said. ?I try to find another thing to occupy my time.?

Accordingly, this Hawkeye from West Des Moines is involved in an impressive array of pursuits. Upon coming to the University of Iowa, she quickly made a good (if also somewhat unsettling) impression on her professors when she asked about working in the cardiovascular mechanics laboratory just weeks after starting school. She?s since worked at two faculty research labs, and she serves as a teaching assistant in the university?s engineering department.

?The biomedical engineering work has been challenging for me,? she said. ?But because it was something that I really wanted to do, I made the decision on my own to get through it.?

After a short internship, Undurty began working with a post-doctoral researcher and graduate student on a project involving implanted medical devices and how they may impede blood flow.

That level of academic activity would be wholly consuming for most college students, but Undurty takes on a good deal more. As an aspiring clinical pediatric physician, Undurty decided to get involved with genetic research - specifically with cases of physical deformities such as cleft palates. So far, she?s taken one trip to Honduras to work with children who have deformities.

She also serves as a Spanish interpreter for Iowa City residents who speak little to no English and need assistance with medical care, something she began volunteering for three years ago with the cardiology team at University of Iowa hospitals and clinics.

?This is something I am passionate about,? Undurty said. ?I am interested in learning about the local health care needs of my community. I think it is great to add some perspective about health care, and why I want to go into it. And I have always wanted to do something with different kinds of people.?

[btn-post-package]On top of juggling her studies and volunteer work, Undurty still managed to carve out time to reinstate Take Note, an a capella singing group on campus that performs both American pop tunes and songs from Bollywood. The group performs frequently, and one of its most anticipated engagements every year is the University of Iowa?s own South Asian singing competition, Gathe Raho, which is sponsored by the Indian Student Alliance and features teams from schools around the country.

?I had some family friends I knew in high school who talked about it when they were in college,? Undurty said. ?I was interested in singing from a young age and thought it would be great to have a team of our own, since we were hosting the competition.?

Many people might feel overwhelmed by all that activity, but Undurty is nothing but grateful. She credits the University of Iowa with providing so many opportunities to be involved in things she?s passionate about.

?I?m thankful to be at a school that gives me the opportunity to explore the interests that I have and provides me with all of these opportunities,? she said. ?Even though it is a huge school and it?s easy to get lost, I have felt it has done a very good job of helping me find my place here so I don?t just feel like a number and get lost in the crowd. There are people who clearly want to see me succeed and get [me] the opportunities I need to do that.?

By Kent McDill