Smitha Ganeshan, a May University of Georgia graduate, was one of six students nationwide to receive a $15,000 Marcus L. Urann Fellowship from the Phi Kappa Phi honor society.
Ganeshan was a UGA Honors student, a recipient of UGA's Foundation Fellowship and a 2013 Truman Scholar. She earned a bachelor's degree in biology with a minor in anthropology from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She will begin her studies at Harvard Medical School in the fall.
"One of Phi Kappa Phi's core ideals is the promotion of the love of learning, and Smitha Ganeshan is one of those rare individuals whose outstanding academic achievement and intellectual curiosity truly embody this high ideal," said Shannon Wilder, president of the UGA chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and director of the UGA Office of Service-Learning. "The UGA chapter of Phi Kappa Phi was very pleased to nominate Smitha because she is so accomplished and has such high aspirations for graduate work, so it is wonderful to see her potential recognized with the Marcus L. Urann Fellowship."
Ganeshan's undergraduate career at UGA focused on the intersection between health and policy. She directed the health policy center and the environmental policy center at the Roosevelt Institute, a student-run think tank. Through the Roosevelt Institute, she drafted a federal Health Professional Shortage Area designation application on behalf of Athens/Clarke County that has enhanced the ability of safety net providers to compete for grants. She conducted research under the guidance of faculty in the UGA College of Public Health and has interned at the Greater New York Hospital Association and the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
Ganeshan studied at Oxford University through the UGA at Oxford program, interned at the World Health Organization's M.V. Hospital for Diabetes in Chennai, India and has assisted physicians in Peru and Nicaragua. She volunteered at the Athens Nurses Clinic and interned at the Athens Health Network, which works to reduce health care disparities by coordinating health services for the indigent population.
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi awards 51 fellowships of $5,000 each and six at $15,000 each to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study. Each active Phi Kappa Phi chapter may select one candidate from among its local applicants to compete for the Society-wide awards.
Selection is based on the applicant's promise of success in graduate or professional study, including academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement and career goals, and acceptance at an approved graduate or professional program.
Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, and now headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Phi Kappa Phi inducts annually more than 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The society has chapters on more than 300 select college and university campuses in North America and the Philippines. Since Phi Kappa Phi's founding, more than 1 million members have been initiated into its ranks. The UGA chapter has been active since 1923.