Amazing Students

Shivani Rangaswamy

Shivani Rangaswamy
Shivani Rangaswamy

Shivani Rangaswamy is passionate about rural health care and alleviating health disparities, and the future doctor has already led an Archway Partnership project to reduce low birth weight rates in eight rural Georgia communities.


Cumming, GA

High school:

South Forsyth High School

Expected graduation:

Spring 2019

Degree objective:

B.S. Biology

A.B. Anthropology

Certificate in nonprofit management

University highlights, achievements and awards:

Over the past three years, the University of Georgia has provided me with so many incredible opportunities to grow as a servant leader, scholar, and active citizen.

Some of my most memorable experiences at UGA have been through my involvement with campus organizations. One organization that has truly transformed my outlook on sustainable service is ServeUGA. I have had the opportunity to facilitate our first service networking conference, a social justice event on refugee issues, and lead service events with local nonprofits. As the current executive director, I work alongside our executive board to promote service and community involvement across campus. Another organization I am deeply passionate about is RefUGA. As the vice president of events, I lead campus events such as simulations, speaker panels and movie screenings to educate the student body on refugee issues. One of the most exciting opportunities I have had at UGA was a collaboration with University Union to create a refugee simulation. Watching Tate Grand Hall transform from an empty room into a maze of border patrols, camps and war zones and witnessing the reactions of the participants was a truly rewarding experience.

I am also a member of the 2016-2017 Public Service and Outreach cohort. After completing six months of training, I was placed to intern with a UGA extension called Archway Partnership on an independent project to reduce low birth weight rates in eight rural communities in Georgia. With the generous support of the Ash Service Award and the PSO Scholarship, I spent the summer after my sophomore year traveling to our communities to develop an implementation component of my policy. I currently serve as the alumni mentor for the PSO program, and advise our new cohort as they achieve amazing things through their training and internships. Another organization I have interned with is Pack to Plate, which is a nutritional advocacy group based in Athens. I helped develop and teach curriculum related to food literacy and education in summer camps and hand delivered healthy lunches to children in underserved communities. Spending my summer exploring Athens and hanging out with kids was such a memorable and heartwarming way to spend my months off from school!

As an aspiring rural physician, I always look forward to my Thursday afternoons when I volunteer at Mercy Health Center as a medical scribe. I have the incredible opportunity to interact with patients and doctors as I assist in the charting process and expand my medical knowledge. The physicians and nurses I serve alongside have also been great mentors and supporters these past few years. I have also had the opportunity to explore my love of science and medicine by working as an undergraduate research assistant in a cellular biology lab under Dr. Ping Shen. I focused on experiments that explored the neuronal pathways involved in olfactory memory decay patterns. I was able to test my surgical skills by dissecting tiny fly brains and learned to use powerful microscopes to image and analyze data. I am truly grateful to Dr. Shen and the graduate students for teaching me how to be a critical thinker and problem solver.

Another one of my passions is mentoring. Over the past two years, I have worked as the lead peer learning assistant and lab assistant for the biology department. I am also employed through the Rankin Smith Center as an athletic tutor for biology, chemistry and anthropology. I love getting the opportunity to spread my love for science and academics with younger Bulldogs. It is also so inspiring to see the growth in ability and confidence in my students as they progress through the semester.

My other involvements at the university include the Dean William Tate Honor Society, Crane Leadership Scholars, Palladia Women’s Honor Society, and Phi Beta Kappa where I have been able to meet and learn from wonderful student leaders at UGA. I also have had the opportunity to study abroad to Cortona, Italy, as an experiential learning scholar.

The breath and depth of opportunities provided to me by this university is unparalleled, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Family ties:

I actually have no family ties here! Unfortunately, I come from a family of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. However, I hope I will be the first of many Rangaswamy Bulldogs in the coming generations!

I chose to attend UGA because…

I truly admire and value the balance UGA strikes between classroom and experiential opportunities. Although academics will always be at the forefront of the college experience, UGA provides so many cool opportunities to expand and apply the things we learn in the classroom to make a difference in our communities.

My favorite things to do on campus are …

… hanging out in the Center for Leadership and Service. The CLS has been integral to my professional and personal development at UGA, and whether I want to unload after a stressful day or relax with my friends, I can always find a home within the CLS.

When I have free time, I like …

… to binge watch my favorite horror movies! From “Rosemary’s Baby” to “The Shining” to “Babadook,” I love transporting to another world and experiencing terrifying scenarios and storylines — from the comfort of my own home of course.

The craziest thing I’ve ever done is …

… going skydiving!

My favorite place to study is …

… Two Story Coffee in Five Points. They create the perfect atmosphere that is both comforting and conducive to cranking out assignments. I was devastated when they closed down this past year, so I am currently on the hunt for a new favorite study spot.

My favorite professor is …

To be honest, there is no way I could narrow down my favorite mentors at UGA. My research professor, Dr. Shen, my student teaching coordinator, Dr. Miller, and my Public Service and Outreach Scholars Coordinator, Mrs. Elliot, have all been so integral to my development at UGA and I could not be the person I am without them.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with …

… Frances Oldham Kelsey. She was a member of the Food and Drug Administration and was instrumental in preventing the approval of a morning sickness drug that later was discovered to cause horrendous birth deformities in other countries. Even with immense political pressure from drug companies, she stood her ground and refused to approve the drug without further testing. I think she embodies the definition of a true public servant, and I would love to spend an afternoon with her to learn more about her views and beliefs about public service.

If I knew I could not fail, I would …

… learn how to code to develop apps! Although I am terrible with technology, if I knew I couldn’t fail, I would love to know how to write software to design cool apps to assist me in my day-to-day life.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to …

… build and fund hospitals all across rural Georgia. This summer I had the opportunity to travel throughout South Georgia and I witnessed how lack of access to health care helped contribute to increasing rates of chronic illness. Some counties I visited didn’t even have an ambulance system! As someone who is passionate about and wants to work in rural health care, the ability to reduce health care disparities between rural and urban communities by improving geographical access would be a dream come true!

How are you committed to pursuing your passion?

I am primarily passionate about rural health care and alleviating health disparities. I hope to tackle these issues by pursuing a medical degree and using my training to develop policy to address these issues at the local level. I hope to either work in local nonprofits or government agencies that have an emphasis on public service.

After graduation, I plan to …

… get accepted and attend medical school!

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be …

… my very first football game. I grew up in a Georgia Tech family, so I entered UGA still a little unsure where my allegiances were. However, after experiencing my first game, and all the tradition and spirit associated with that, I realized I was always meant to bleed red and black.