Student Spotlight October 2013
Mr. Gullapalli received his undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Technology, in Civil Engineering from V.R. Siddhartha Engineering College, India. He then came to the United States where he obtained a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Louisville and is now in his 4th year working towards a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research is focused on sustainable drinking water treatment for communities in developing countries.
Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):
My specific area of research is focused on green and sustainable water treatment techniques, but has the potential to change in the future because I love to work on interesting/ innovative concepts and I have found that many things in nature interest me. This specific area interested me because the world has had enough pollution, and we need to stop further pollution, whether we are able to clean it up or not.
Awards, honors, publications:
I was selected as a scholarship recipient from the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality (CODRE) at the University of Louisville (2013-2014), and I have had the opportunity to participate in poster presentations at the WateReuse conference (September 2012) and at the Water Professional Conference (July 2013).
Long term goals/ aspirations
My long term goal is to become a good teacher and a responsible citizen.
How would you describe your area of study/ specific research to your grandmother:
Simply put, we need to keep water in bright sunlight in order to kill bacteria making it safer to drink.
How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?
It depends on what society wants from me. I can be a good educator, environmental counselor, and a responsible citizen.
What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?
I am not yet proud of my accomplishments, but will be when I become an integral part of developing access to safe drinking water for people of my village (Pesaralanka, Andhra Pradesh, India) and neighboring villages.
What made you go into this field of study?
I chose this field because it allows me to work with both nature and people.
What was your favorite part of the graduate school experience?
My favorite part of the graduate school experience was challenging friends in racquet ball and losing to them.
What do you feel are the greatest challenges that graduate students face and how do you recommend dealing with these challenges?
As an international student I can address many of the challenges graduate students face. The challenges I was most affected by include cultural shock, slang, and academic style.
It is important to talk to seniors and professors regularly, keep your mind open in order to learn new things, and don’t predict USA by watching Hollywood movies and TV series. Live, feel and learn.
My family is in India. Though I miss them, I talk to them regularly on the phone.
A talent you have always wanted: I would love to be able to dance and skate board.
Favorite book: Mahaprasthanam (in Telugu).
Favorite quote: “God created objects to use and fellow humans to love. In confusion, we are using fellow humans and loving objects.”
Pet Peeve: My biggest pet peeve would be intellectual pollution.
Role Model: The list keeps rolling. Anyone that can do something which I am unable to do will be my role model. If asked to narrow this down, I will name two: my dad (Lakshmi Vara Reddiah Chowdary) and my mom (Suvarna).
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Farming.