For the first time ever, a Clemson University student has been named a Gates Cambridge Scholar, one of only 24 chosen nationwide for the prestigious postgraduate award.
Venkata “Anish” Chaluvadi, an Honors College senior majoring in materials science and engineering, was chosen for his academic accomplishments as well as his leadership and commitment to improve the lives of others.
“We are so proud of his accomplishments,” said Provost Bob Jones. “This marks a milestone in Clemson University’s student success in the international arena.”
Clemson is among six institutions that have for the first time produced a Gates Cambridge Scholar. The others are Bowdoin College, Bucknell University, Temple University, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the University of Houston.
“His selection reflects his research accomplishments and his passion for materials discovery, which have impressed a worldwide audience of fellowship reviewers,” said Kyle Brinkman, chair of Clemson’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Anish’s interest in developing sustainable material solutions for environmental problems stems from his understanding of the rural South as well as his travels to India, where both his parents were born and raised.
He will pursue graduate study in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, the study and application of extremely small things (nanometers). Nanotechnology can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science and engineering. Anish will have an emphasis in Computational Modeling.
“To me, being awarded the Gates Cambridge Scholarship gave me the confidence to continue the pursuit of advanced energy solutions,” Anish said.
Established through a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, the scholarship fully funds postgraduate study and research at the University of Cambridge.
Anish’s research career at Clemson began the summer before his first year when he was accepted into the Honors College EUREKA! program, which matches incoming students with undergraduate research projects.
During his first year, he was selected as the honors undergraduate student to be part of the research lab led by Rachel Getman, the Murdoch Family Endowed Associate Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
“Anish’s accomplishments are remarkable,” said Thompson Mefford, an associate professor of materials science and engineering who is part of the research team. “I have especially enjoyed working with him as his computational findings have helped guide my lab’s experimental work. His efforts have allowed our team to better understand how the structure of our ferrite nanoparticles alter the magnetic properties.”
In addition to outstanding academic achievement, the program emphasizes social leadership in its selection process.
“Beyond the classroom, Anish is seen by his peers and professors as a leader,” said Jeffrey Fine, professor of political science. Fine traveled with Anish and 11 other students for a 10-day study abroad trip to France and Germany in 2018 as part of the Dixon Global Policy Scholars Program.
The program accepts 12 Honors College students each year and offers specialized seminars and experiences on public policy issues that shape the world.
Fine was also his faculty advisor for Tigers for Green Innovation, a student organization focused on sustainability on campus that Anish co-founded and for which he is the co-president.
“Tigers for Green Innovation was born out of a desire to have engineering students make a more impactful change on Clemson’s campus,” Anish said.
As part of that effort, Anish organized the inaugural Sustainability Summit, a two-day event where students were challenged to develop creative solutions to solve sustainability challenges. More than 200 students from Clemson and nearby universities attended the event.
“By fostering connections between interested students, faculty, and staff, I hope the Sustainability Summit becomes a launching pad for many students to execute their vision,” Anish said.
The group also launched community initiatives focused on encouraging sustainability at the point of purchase. Their efforts included a phased pilot of a single-use plastic ban in the city of Clemson. They are also in the process of developing a sustainability curriculum for ten local middle and high schools.
Anish mentored three student interns this year through the Getman Research Group, which virtually hosted 11 interns, ranging from high school to incoming Clemson freshmen to undergraduates from other universities.
“Through these efforts, I saw the opportunity for virtual experiences to increase access to research, an important tool in narrowing the education gap,” he said.
Anish, who is from Simpsonville, is a graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics. He’s earning minors in chemistry and business administration.
An award winning debater, Anish has competed nationally and internationally as a member of the Clemson Debate Society. He serves as president of the Indian Cultural Association and was a member of Clemson Dholna, Clemson’s Bollywood fusion dance team.
Gates Cambridge Class of 2021
The US Scholars-elect will join around 60 Scholars from other parts of the world, who will be announced in early April. The full class of 2021 will join current Gates Cambridge Scholars in October to form a community of approximately 240 current Scholars in residence at the world-leading University of Cambridge.
To learn more about this year’s Gates Cambridge Scholarship recipients: First Cohort of Gates Cambridge Class of 2021 announced