Four Scholarship Awards to be presented at 16th Annual TWU Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon
Honoring Norman Bagwell for his leadership in the community and his commitment to education
With a love for science, first ignited by her grandmother during her childhood, Geethanjali Ravindranathan, an aspirant from India, is pursuing her master’s in biology from Texas Woman’s University, with a 4.0 GPA and plans to graduate in May. Ravindranathan is receiving one of four prestigious scholarships given by Texas Woman’s University at the 16th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon, presented by Bank of Texas, Texas Woman’s University, and the Texas Woman’s University Foundation, February 21, at noon, at The Belo Mansion and Pavilion.
“While studying in second grade in a small town in India, my grandma used a globe, a tennis ball and a flashlight in a dark room to teach me about eclipses,” said Ravindranathan. “That was the night the seed of my passion for science was sown. When she passed away from a combination of diabetes and liver disease, I resolved to take a career path wherein I would be able to understand the basis of diseases and identify treatments by manipulating the most basic component of humans that hold all the information: their genes.”
Ravindranathan is a third-year biology graduate research student working toward her master’s. She would like to work for a research institute dedicated to population genetics, a field that studies variations in genes of a population with a particular disease and uses that information to treat and cure that disease.
“Ultimately, I would like to become a professor with my own lab setup so that I can continue my passions for both research and teaching and hopefully influence other young minds to pursue this amazing field of study,” added Ravindranathan.
She received her undergraduate degree in biotechnology in India. Due to the lack of research in her field of interest in India, she looked for higher education abroad and chose TWU. She became the first female in her family to ever pursue a graduate degree and in a foreign country.
“I became an example and inspiration to my younger female cousins,” she added. “My parents were very supportive and ensured their children’s educations were always prioritized. They were very proud of me when I excelled at math and sciences.”
“My family is proud that I am receiving this scholarship and grateful for the financial assistance,” she added. “The visionary woman Virginia Chandler Dykes is one of my idols. It is an extreme honor to receive this scholarship, established by her, primarily for what it stands for. To know that I have been deemed worthy of this honor is a wonderful, life-changing and defining feeling. It confirms that my career decisions and the paths I am taking are headed in the right direction.”
Ravindranathan is grateful for the many opportunities TWU has provided to help her to grow intellectually, professionally, and socially.
“TWU is a wonderfully nurturing environment with people always ready to help,” she added. “It is one of the best universities in the nation, not just in terms of costs efficiency but also the value of the educational experience. My time here has been an amazing journey.”
Ravindranathan resides in Denton. She is a member of numerous professional organizations, an active volunteer, and holds several leadership roles, including serving as a student senator representing the biology department of TWU for the Graduate Student Council. Additionally, she serves as the current vice president of excellence within the council. She is also the president of the biology graduate student organization.
In addition to Ravindranathan, graduate students from the remaining three TWU colleges will be honored at the luncheon as recipients of Virginia Chandler Dykes scholarship funds:Dawn Murphy, College of Nursing; Lorraine Cadwallader, College of Professional Education (COPE); and Kaye C. Rubio, College of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy).
In the past 15 years, more than $700,000 has been raised for scholarships from the proceeds of this luncheon. TWU’s 16th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon, on February 21 at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion, will honor Norman P. Bagwell, CEO of Bank of Texas and Executive Vice President of BOK Financial, as the 2018 recipient of the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award. Tickets are $175 for silver patron; $250 for gold patron. For more information, call 940-898-3872, visit www.twu.edu/vcd, or email TRupani@twu.edu.