Krishna Mehta: In the Middle of Everything, Still Standing Out
Georgia State’s Presidential Scholars arrive on campus as incoming freshmen with more than just good grades. They possess the open minds, creativity, and dedication to hard work and discovery upon which our university was founded. In return, the Presidential Scholarship covers full tuition and fees and provides stipends for living expenses and study-abroad opportunities. Presidential Scholars are also part of the Honors College and receive specialized advising and mentoring by faculty and staff. We’d like to introduce you to each member of Georgia State’s 2013 class of Presidential Scholars, a diverse group of students with widely varying interests and goals for their futures. We’re proud to call them Georgia State Panthers — and to have invested in their future success.
Krishna Mehta had two main priorities in selecting a college. “I was looking for somewhere that I wouldn’t just be a number, somewhere that I would actually stand out and could be an individual,” she says. “I also wanted the urban environment — I really didn’t want to study in one of those small college towns in the middle of nowhere.”
Being in the middle of everything and still managing to stand out from the crowd might seem like two goals at odds with one another, but Krishna didn’t think so, and she found that Georgia State didn’t, either. “There are so many schools that just gather hundreds of students together and stick them in classrooms, but it’s different here,” she says. “My class sizes have been small, so it has been easy to build relationships with my professors, ask questions, and participate in discussions. Yet they’re still right in the middle of Atlanta by all these major corporations, the hospitals, different things to do. I grew up in the suburbs, which is definitely kind of a ‘bubble,’ so it’s nice to get out of a small community and explore.”
Following a Childhood Dream
Proximity to a hospital is important to Krishna because she sees herself going into the medical field. “Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a doctor,” she says. “My mom’s a nurse, and she actually went to Georgia State for nursing school when I was very little. Through the Emory Johns Creek Hospital VolunTeen Program, I’ve gotten to volunteer in hospitals for about three summers now, and have shadowed doctors and nurses, and I absolutely love that lifestyle. I like having that influence on people, building a connection with them and helping them get better day by day.
“I’ve also sat in on many surgeries and observed what was going on — hysterectomies, gallbladder surgeries, hip replacements, several different kinds,” she says. “I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. Blood doesn’t make me squeamish.”
Krishna’s mother is still a registered nurse in a cardiac catheterization lab, and while Krishna won’t decide on a specialization for a while yet, she says she’s leaning toward cardiology. “I had a really inspiring mentor in high school and he is extremely enthusiastic about cardiology. He motivated me to lean toward that direction,” she says.
Hitting the Ground Running
Regardless of what medical specialty she goes into, Krishna has plenty of schooling ahead of her, but she says she’s gotten off to a strong start at Georgia State. “I think I’ve gotten the hang of where everything is now, and I am so grateful for all the connections I have gotten to make,” she says. “The Honors College has given me so many resources and opportunities that I cannot find anywhere else. I couldn’t even imagine that I could build a network so big and have that kind of personal relationship with them.”
Before she’s even finished with her freshman year, Krishna will be supplementing her pre-med classes with a university assistantship. “I’ll be working in the Neuroscience Institute with Dr. Geert DeVries in his lab. I’m so excited to be exposed to his research and expand my lab knowledge. It’s a new experience — it’s definitely not what you see in a typical classroom setting.”
The Personal Touch
As much as she’s got going on in the lab and the classroom, Krishna has a life outside academics — she’s an avid reader and a trained performer of Bharata Natyam, a traditional Indian style of dance. “I’ve been learning it since the age of 8,” she says. “It involves a lot of facial expressions, complicated footwork, and hand gestures — it’s storytelling of Hindu folktales and culture, through dance.”
Krishna has found that Georgia State offered the chance to build satisfying connections outside the classroom as well. “Living on the Honors floor of University Commons really allowed me to make more friends,” she says. “We have get-togethers on weeknights that the RAs put together, which are fun to attend. I wasn’t expecting the community to be so close-knit, but we’ve also started to build more personal relationships within the Presidential Scholars, with those that are in their junior and senior years, which helps us out even more.
Not bad for someone who says she didn’t even expect to be awarded the Presidential Scholarship to begin with. “I told my mom if I ever got a phone call that said Georgia State on the caller ID, not to answer it, but she answered it anyway,” Krishna remembers, smiling.
“When Dr. Mansfield called to tell me I’d gotten the scholarship, I was really surprised. I met so many people at the interviews who were so gifted, and I definitely didn’t think I would be one of the few to get the full ride. But for them to invest that much in me, for them to think that I have the potential to do more, is truly an honor, and it feels great.”