Padmavathi Ganduri, BHC Scholar and integrated business major, spent her summer participating in a virtual program hosted by The Fund for American Studies. Through the program, she was able to intern with Public Spend Forum as a research analyst, researching personal protective equipment suppliers in European countries. She also took a course at George Mason University, attended guest lectures featuring leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives, Department of State, and the White House, and virtually toured historical sites in Washington D.C. At UCF, Padmavathi is the President of Honors Congress, and she is also involved in the Judicial Branch of SGA, the LEAD Scholars Academy, Relay for Life, and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, among other extracurriculars. She plans to attend law school after graduation to reach her long-term goal of becoming an attorney.

Tell us about yourself. Why did you choose UCF? Why are you interested in pursuing your particular major?

My name is Padmavathi Ganduri and I'm from Tampa, Florida! I chose to come to UCF because I felt really at home from the first time I toured campus. I met so many people in the honors college and I loved the community and atmosphere. I am majoring in integrated business with minors in political science and leadership studies.

What influential leadership positions, research experiences, internship experiences, study abroad experiences, etc., have you had so far while at UCF? What did you learn from them and how do you think they helped you get where you are today?

I’m currently serving as the President of Honors Congress. I have been involved in Honors Congress since my first semester at UCF, first serving on the social committee, and later as the Director of Fundraising and Treasurer. I was initially drawn to Honors Congress because I felt like it was a great way to meet people and build connections within the honors community. This definitely proved to be true for me since I’ve met and worked alongside some of the most incredible people I’ve ever known! Although this year threw some challenges our way, I was able to use this opportunity to learn how important it is to be adaptable and creative as a leader.

I have also been involved in the Judicial Branch of Student Government, the Relay for Life executive board, LEAD Scholars Academy, and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. I’ve volunteered with the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, the Orange County Environmental Protection Division, and the Creative School for Children. I’ve also worked as a CWEP Intern at Lockheed Martin, as an Honors Symposium Team Leader, as a Housing Ambassador for the UCF Department of Housing and Residence Life, and as an Intern on the 2018 Second Chances Florida campaign. I’ve played flute in UCF’s Concert Band and sang a capella with Knights Kahaani!

Tell us about your internship experiences with The Fund for American Studies and Public Spend Forum? Why were you interested in this opportunity? What did you do? What do you think you got out of the experience that will help you later on?

This summer, I participated in the Leadership and the American Presidency (LTAP) track of the summer programs hosted by The Fund for American Studies (TFAS). Typically, TFAS hosts these summer programs in person in Washington D.C., but this year the program was held virtually. Although the entire program was held through a series of Zoom meetings, I had the chance to meet so many amazing people from around the country. My peers were all college students attending universities in many states around the country, from California to Ohio. Through this program, I took a course at George Mason University taught by a former United States Congressman. I attended guest lectures featuring leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives, the Department of State, and the White House. I virtually toured so many historical sites including Mount Vernon, Lincoln’s Cottage, Ford’s Theatre, and the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum.

Through TFAS, I was able to intern with Public Spend Forum, which is a company that aims to create open government markets by restricting barriers to entry in these markets. In my role as a research analyst, I was able to find personal protective equipment suppliers in European countries to add to the GovShop database that Public Spend Forum operates. I was interested in the LTAP program and Public Spend Forum because I wanted to expand my leadership skills and develop stronger research skills. Over the course of the summer, I was able to build connections with lawyers, politicians, and strategists in D.C., and explore my personal leadership journey. I completed the program with a deeper understanding of the legal and political systems in our country and invaluable insight into how I can contribute to these systems.

What is your long-term goal/future plans? What are you doing after graduation? How is the BHC helping you to achieve these goals? 

I’m applying to law school this semester and I hope to matriculate next fall! The Burnett Honors College has given me immense support and countless opportunities over the past few years. Through BHC, I’ve held leadership positions, met alumni who have mentored me along the way, and learned about internship and scholarship opportunities. The staff have also been amazing resources and have supported me and advised me on so many things from classes to important life decisions. I will always be incredibly grateful to have been a part of this community.

Fill in the blank: If all things go right, 10 years from now I will most likely be: ______________.

An attorney!

What advice do you have for other students who may be interested in following a similar path?

My advice is to keep trying new things! I think that the best way to figure out what you’re good at and what you’re interested in is to pursue different leadership and service opportunities. Even if you don’t end up loving every single thing you try, you’ll still leave with more experience and a better idea of your skills and interests.

Any top hobbies?

My top hobbies are singing, playing the flute, photography, and traveling! I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily a hidden talent, but I have been singing since I was really little and I’ve been playing flute since sixth grade.