Photo of Shivangi AgrawalName: Shivangi Agrawal
Year: Junior
Major: Psychology and Biocultural Anthropology

Shivangi Agrawal dreamed of coming to the United States to study while growing up in India. Though this is her third year on campus, Shivangi says she still occasionally experiences culture shock. Living and learning away from home has taught her to me more independent, as India is a collective society and the United States is more individualistic. However, being an International student has allowed her to meet so many amazing people that have motivated her; she wouldn’t have been able to do anything without their motivation. Along with Psychology, she is also studying Biocultural Anthropology, a subfield of the discipline. It incorporates the study of culture, race and Medical Anthropology. After graduation her plan is to work in a hospital or other environment within the holistic Medical Anthropology field. Shivangi aspires to work in the United Nations where she can make a positive impact internationally.

During her freshman year, Shivangi became involved in many on campus organizations including the Indian Student Association and The Women’s Center. It was there Shivangi volunteered with the cross-cultural Halloween party and enjoyed it so much she knew she wanted to work there as soon as possible. Volunteering at the women’s center helped her build connections. Her first year she also held a position at the Valley Library Information Desk which was an ideal first job because she learned about student life and got adjusted to the university. Shivangi became aware of services and departments that exist on campus. Greeting and helping people at the desk taught her to work with other people and adjust to their needs. Shivangi said she learned how to step in to other people’s shoes and this motivated her to apply for other positions.

As a sophomore, she began working at The Women’s Center and has worked there for two years. At the center, she is an Internal coordinator, and her responsibilities include supervising new staff that she helped hire and motivating the team. She also manages internal budgets, the Facebook page and listserv and has an active role in representing The Women’s Center by making it more visible. It is important to Shivangi to make women’s voices heard and address women’s issues, especially female students on campus.

As a student leader, Shivangi sees her peers expecting too much of themselves. “We try to be perfect in everything. We have so much going on with different campus positions, volunteering and starting new clubs. You have to be a representative of your campus and organization. [In] all these aspects of college life we try to be perfect, with grades and jobs and events. That’s the biggest struggle; that we always strive for perfection. It’s really hard to achieve that.”

Her advice to new leaders is to recognize it will be a learning experience. “It is going to be a struggle, sometimes you may feel like you can do better, and be more amazing, [but] go slowly. It’s [okay] to go slowly, college is hard, it’s a new experience and you have to decide what to do with your life. Don’t over exert. See failures as a learning experience, if you don’t experience failure you don’t experience life. You can’t always have a winning streak. It’s very important that student leaders self reflect. Wake up every day with a smile on your face and a goal in your mind.” Shivangi also said that a leader is someone who can see the potential in other people. “A true leader is someone who tries to bring the leader in other people and sees their true energy and is able to understand the struggles of their minority.”

“I think everyone should try to get involved on campus because it is amazing it opens up so many doors for you. I can’t imagine not being in a leadership position. Shivangi’s campus engagement has helped her connect with many different students and taught her how to be understanding to her peers and would like to see the Oregon State culture become more inviting and supportive to potential leaders from different backgrounds. “In a lot of aspects we need to be more encouraging, [for example] women in science and people of color. Every leader should be sensitive and a good listener.”

Thank you Shivangi for your involvement and contributions to making OSU a better place!