Nitheyaa Shree entered her first semester of college with the typical freshman priorities: getting acclimated to new academic challenges, learning her way around an unfamiliar city, settling into her new living quarters, making new friends, and so on. The Georgia State University Presidential Scholar of the Class of 2021 was also preparing for her scheduled concert in London during the semester break in December.
Nitheyaa and her sister, Shree Varshenee, are a musical duo that performs locally and internationally. While proficient in “only” six musical instruments, Nitheyaa mostly doesn’t use these instruments in their act, the primarily vocal Carnatic music, a traditional form of Indian classical music.
Despite her passion for music, Nitheyaa did not participate in band or music classes during her years at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee; she wanted to maximize the number of AP classes she could take. Her dedication to her studies opened up doors for an internship that set her on her chosen course of study at Georgia State.
Nitheyaa has long had a love for science and an interest in the human body; one of her earliest memories was of her mother explaining how the three-pound organ inside her skull, her brain, controlled everything. This interest led her to an internship at Emory University’s Gross Translational Neuroengineering Lab during her senior year at Peachtree Ridge. This opportunity stoked her passion and clarified and focused her academic interests.
“Assisting in experiments and research made me realize that my studies and research have the potential to make a difference in the world,” said Nitheyaa. “And I learned that making a difference is important to me.”
Nitheyaa’s choice to study neuroscience is a departure from what I somewhat an academic tradition in her family. Both her parents studied computer science in college and have careers in computer-related fields. They encouraged their daughters to do the same and Nitheyaa’s older sister, Shree, is in her fourth year studying computer science at Georgia State. Shree’s experience at Georgia State was pivotal in Nitheyaa’s choice of college, if not major.
“I knew from my sister that Georgia State professors are really accessible and are supportive in helping you pursue your interests,” said Nitheyaa. “The Presidential Scholarship provided me the perfect fit for college: I get to live in the heart of Atlanta, have the academic, internship, and research opportunities of a large school, while also belonging to a smaller community within the Honors College.”
Despite her omnivorous pursuit in high school of AP classes, regardless of subject matter, Nitheyaa is hungry for a concentration of coursework in her major. She also plans to continue lab internships where she can assist in and, ultimately conduct, research. Perhaps between classes and labs and internships and socializing with friends and other Honors College peers, she can meet up with her sister to rehearse for their international tour.
Just like a typical freshman.