Profile: Anjani Sneha Vajrala
Anjani Sneha Vajrala may have been named after a goddess, but she believes it was a combination of hard work and divine intervention that got her into an exchange program to conduct graduate research at Mississippi State. Vajrala is the first student to come to MSU following a global engagement partnership forged in December 2012between the university and several institutions in India.
She is in the second year of her master's degree program at Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University in Hyderabad, doing a comparative study of crop insurance in India and the United States.
Vajrala said India's academic environment is highly competitive, and grades are the deciding factor for acceptance into schools, degree programs, and special programs, such as this exchange. Her closest competitor for the opportunity to study at MSU was a mere 0.06 points behind her on their exam, and she intends to prove she was the best choice for the program.
"Two universities and countries, my family and my colleagues here have all invested in me, and I can't let that go to waste," she said. "I feel a lot of responsibility for my work here."
Steve Turner, head of the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics, is Vajrala's supervising professor. She credits him with easing her transition to living and working in Mississippi.
"Dr. Turner puts me at ease and explains things to me," she said. "He takes time to discuss my project and is very motivating and encouraging."
Vajrala said one of the most significant differences between the two universities is that she is able to network and socialize with professors here at State.
"I've observed legends in my field, Dr. Keith Coble and Dr. Barry Barnett &mdash they greet me and ask how my work is going," she said. "You don't meet people at that level in India without appointments. In India there is a line of respect, and guru is the word we use for teacher. It means 'next to God.' We give our teachers a position just next to God."
In addition to being a certified yoga instructor, Vajrala enjoys sketching, watercolors, crafts, and scrapbooking. She also applies her work ethic to reusing or recycling materials to create what she needs.
"I believe in the go-green concept," she said. "The world's resources should not go to waste. Energy that goes in should be used to the maximum level in the most efficient way."Writer: Keri Lewis | Photo: Beth Wynn