This Month at UT Tyler
SGA President: UT Tyler was the Perfect Choice
Divya Srinivasan, 22, of The Woodlands, is the current president of the UT Tyler Student Government Association. She is part of the University's Class of Spring 2017 and will graduate this week.
Divya Srinivasan thought her time at The University of Texas at Tyler would be short. Changing her mind changed her life.
The 22-year-old native of The Woodlands will be one of more than 1,100 graduates earning degrees this week at UT Tyler. As she reflects on the past four years, she can clearly see the significant impact the University has had on her life and how well-prepared she is for her future in the medical field.
“I’ve absolutely loved being at UT Tyler,” said Srinivasan, who is the current president of the Student Government Association. “The campus is gorgeous and I love how everyone is so personable, open and friendly.”
Srinivasan was born in Birmingham, Alabama after her parents immigrated from South India. The family relocated to The Woodlands when she was two and she spent her childhood there.
When Srinivasan first came to UT Tyler as a freshman, her intention was to go to UT Austin. She was admitted to the CAP program, an initiative that allows students to attend another University of Texas institution and possibly transfer into UT Austin after the first year. She intended to major in biomechanical engineering at UT Austin as soon as she could get into the program.
“As an incoming freshman, I didn't feel the need to make any friends or join organizations because I was under the assumption that I would be heading to Austin” she said.
Although she did get into the program at UT Austin the second year, her parents recommended she stay, and she took their advice.
“Once I came to the realization that I was actually staying in Tyler, I tried to make the most out of it and started making friends and joining organizations. I remember during my sophomore year I was eating lunch with my friend and we saw a table which was advertising Student Government Association. I went up, asked questions, ran for a position and thankfully won. From then on I got elected for Secretary and now President. It has been such an amazing experience,” she said.
2016-17 SGA Officers
SGA President Divya Srinivasan (center left) with her fellow UT Tyler 2016-17 Student Government Association officers (from left) Vice President Preston Templeman, Secretary Devyn Martin, and Treasurer Radha Nabar.
Before that day, Srinivasan describes herself as “quiet and closed off.” Today, she’s a different person.
“I've always had a terrible fear of public speaking. When I initially joined SGA, I would never speak up during meetings. But I learned the importance of changing that and learned to become a leader,” said Srinivasan. “Today, I love to speak and know I have a voice.”
With the support of her professors and the advisory staff for SGA, she is now graduating with a degree in Health and Kinesiology with a minor in Biology and feels well-prepared for what comes next. During her time at UT Tyler, she has participated in two professional internships, one in a vascular clinic and one in dermatology.
She was a tutor for anatomy and physiology, is currently in the Honors Program, a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and serves as a Leadership Service Ambassador, where she coordinates community service efforts for students. She has also served as secretary for the UT System Student Advisory Council, a group that develops student-led initiatives throughout all the UT System schools.
During her time in the student government, the organization has worked through several major initiatives, including getting UT Tyler declared a tobacco free campus, the beginning of campus recycling initiatives, the building of an Interfaith room, and a full day dedicated to public service both on the campus and in the community.
“I really feel like I have made my mark on this campus,” said Srinivasan. “I hope that I have helped make changes, build new ideas, and have made a difference to other students. I’ve enjoyed encouraging other students to take a leadership role as well.”
Following this week’s ceremony, she will spend her first summer in India before returning to Dallas. Her plan is to work for a year as a medical assistant or scribe before going back to school to become a physician’s assistant and perhaps spend some time serving in underdeveloped countries.
But no matter where she goes, she said she will be keeping in touch with UT Tyler.
“I would like to think I set a good foundation for how SGA ran this year. It would be nice to come back and see the changes that have been made by the students through SGA,” she said. “If I had gone on to Austin I definitely would not have had the opportunities I have had here to make a real impact."