$75 raised • 1 campaign
Venkat is a Givebutter Changemaker - an elite group of young movers and shakers around the world that inspire those around them to give back through the incredible work that they do for others. Learn more about Changemakers.
Hello! My name is Venkat Suru and I am a second-year Medical Sciences major and psychology minor at the University of Cincinnati. I am the president and founder of Health Occupation Students of America, sponsorship director for TEDxUCincinnati, and secretary for the National Foundation of Leadership and Success. I truly enjoy playing basketball and the violin when I need to expunge my stress. I am passionate about traveling the world and providing service to those in need. For example, this past summer I visited Peru and had the opportunity to give back to the community through a medical project at a local clinic. I wish to have similar experiences in the future. My greatest goal is to attend a reputed medical school and specialize in neurology or psychiatry.
What is the cause that you are most passionate about?
HOSA is a competitive medically-based club that allows students to pursue their respective passions in the medical field and compete in events against other universities. I have been involved in HOSA for 3 years. I first got involved with HOSA when I decided to found a chapter of the organization at my high school. I truly believed (and still do) that HOSA's mission is for students to find a special interest or passion relating to the medical field and then follow that passion in a competitive environment. The addition of the competitive aspect urges students toward a goal of becoming recognized at the state or even the national level. This experience correlates well with the focus area of professional growth because it involves personal/professional development in the healthcare professions. Students actively participate and compete but learn to not have to rely on anyone for their successes. HOSA is a self-paced learning experience that serves to provide knowledge to pursuers who are rewarded by the chance to implement learned material in a professional environment. Since I recently founded a new chapter of the organization at my university, I do a significant amount of the work to fully establish the organization. Every Monday, I hold general meetings to provide national and state HOSA updates to all current members. I also hold executive meetings where we solve current problems and figure out how to eradicate future potential problems.
Tell us more about yourself.
Most people are born in one country and stay in that country throughout their lives. However, I was different. By the time I was eight years old, I regarded airplanes as my second home. I became accustomed to the illuminating “fasten seatbelt” signs, the personal airplane televisions, and the silver buttons that controlled the air conditioning and lighting. I was used to feeling the turbulence that was generated by fluffy white clouds outside the steel plane. I have adapted so well to my life in the skies because I had the privilege, or a misfortune, to have to move recurrently from nation to nation, from India to Singapore, and from Canada to the United States.
Some may consider me lucky to have traveled from nation to nation since my childhood, but I always considered it as a fallback. It felt like I was running an endless marathon. I was even devoid of having the luxury of a childhood friend. Moving meant nothing but the fact that I had to leave my best friends and my most beloved belongings so that I could start from scratch again somewhere else. However, I realized that I have failed to acknowledge the benefits of such a nomadic lifestyle. Looking back, moving internationally has impacted me in innumerable ways. I started my life in India where everybody and everything was connected by an invisible yet effective force and I felt that I was a part of this connection. As a result, I acquired a selfless nature which gave rise to my passion for giving back. Singapore, on the other hand, was replete with a variety of cultures, and it was there that I increased my knowledge of the customs and traditions that I was unfamiliar with. I learned not to judge others just based on their practices and appearances. Acceptance has found a way to become a part of me.
Canada was where I was subject to bullying. However, it was an overall positive experience since I learned how to cope with pain. I learned that hardship must be endured and that a valuable reputation can only be met through excelling in a corresponding passion, which in my case was academics. Excelling in academics was ultimately what allowed me to prove to my oppressors my potential.
Lastly, America taught me that if I wanted something, I would have to fight for it myself, whether it was trying to obtain a laptop in the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping or insisting on skipping rudimentary physical science courses regardless of the teacher calling you a potential "burnout".
Each country I encountered acted as a key that unlocked an unknown personality. Each destination served to elicit my attributes. I am as unique as the arrangement of filiform papillae on each person’s tongue. I am a leader who can take a stand, is self-reliant, hardworking, and independent yet connected to the environment that I am encompassed by. I am the international traveler.
Who in your life most inspires you and why?
During my freshman year of high school, I met an exceptional teacher named Mr. Mann. He taught world history, a subject that I was not too fond of. However, Mr. Mann drastically changed my preconceived notion and made world history come to life. The way his eyes lit up when he talked about the bourgeoisie of the Proletarian revolution or the flaws of the East India Company was fascinating to witness. With my newfound interest and enthusiasm for world history, I was able to connect with Mr. Mann. By my sophomore year, he was no longer a teacher but a mentor and a dear friend. Though I did not have him as a teacher for the rest of my high school career, I kept in touch by meeting him twice a week in his classroom. Our relationship as mentor and mentee proved to be valuable because Mr. Mann wanted nothing but success for me. His sympathy and supportive nature were completely genuine. He perpetually explained to me what I needed to do in order to get the most out of my high school experience. Mr. Mann was tantamount to an omniscient guru because it seems he knew how to diagnose any dilemma whether it was regarding academics, athletics, or extracurricular activities. In return for his help, he asked me to talk to some of his freshman students about how I triumphed in my advanced placement courses to give them an idea of what they would need to do to assume such high-level courses. From this experience of helping underclassmen, I noticed that Mr. Mann’s guiding nature was rubbing off on me. Mr. Mann was also the most inspirational because he demonstrated that education is something that is acquirable regardless of age. Mr. Mann went on to pursue an education at the University of Cambridge to become a lawyer at the conclusion of my junior year. Aside from my parents and friends, Mr. Mann was my encouragement and drive to put my heart into anything I commit to.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
My greatest negative characteristic is how quick I am to stress prematurely and how I wish to be a perfectionist in anything that I commit to. I have a bad habit of taking too long on tasks that sometimes do not matter as much as others. At the same time, I tend to overpack my schedule and assume more things than I can handle without the added stress. Aware of these two characteristics, the best advice that I have ever received was from my research advisor. After empathizing with me, she told me that there is no reason to stress over things in life, as life is shorter than I will want it to be and very precious. She told me that I was not born to stress and that no one is a perfectionist, and that mistakes and failures are meant to contribute to my drive to fulfill my goals. Receiving this advice from her was immensely eye-opening because it made me realize that by encompassing such detrimental characteristics, I was reducing the amount of contentment I felt on a day to day basis. Following her advice increased my level of happiness and helped me focus on the things that matter.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
I am proud to have accomplished many things thus far in my life. However, I consider my greatest achievement to be my first year of establishing HOSA at my high school. During this year, I not only led a team, but was also fortunate to have assumed Medical Terminology as my choice of competitive event and qualify for both the state and national conferences. I learned a lot about myself through this experience and also had the opportunity to meet many new and important people throughout the nation, including the surgeon general. I wish to once again achieve this great feat while bringing a reputed name to the University of Cincinnati.
Describe yourself in three words.
Determined, Vigilant, Intellectual.
What does giving mean to you?
Giving to me is more than just an act of humanity but is rather a gesture that comes from the heart and touches more than just the receiver. Giving is rather much more than meets the eye. Witnessing the act of giving often seems superficial but understanding what goes on emotionally is sometimes difficult. When I give to someone, I do not wish for anything in return because giving is not an exchange but is rather the displacement of abundance to need, although the potential amount someone gives is not always characterized by their wealth or status. Though giving is often masked by the presence of tangible objects, I believe it ameliorates the mental state and induces a state of contentment in both the giver and the receiver. Ultimately, giving to me is an exchange of understanding, appreciation, and positivity.