The Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges is an honor given to students who exemplify excellence from 1,000 schools across the country. Among the University of Miami inductees, senior Aalekhya Reddam was the only student from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) to be chosen.
The accomplished senior majoring in marine science has been deeply involved in campus life, serving as the chair for International Week and the Student Government (SG) executive-at-large internal in 2016 and as a residential assistant at Stanford Residential College from 2015 to 2017. She has also been inducted into many honor councils in the school, including Iron Arrow.
“I was surprised to be chosen and I feel very honored,” Reddam said. “I did everything on campus because I loved doing them. If I’m selected for this achievement because of it, then I am extremely grateful.”
Before Who’s Who, Reddam was recognized as Student Leader of the Year in 2016 in the Student Organization Award Recognition (SOAR), beating out 11 other nominated student leaders.
Only the university’s committee, made up of faculty, administrative members and student representatives, can submit nominations for exemplary students.
“She goes above and beyond on campus,” said Heather Stevens, coordinator in the Office of Vice President of Student Affairs. “She is extremely kind and she will always get the job done.”
Reddam, who moved to Miami from Singapore for college, initially had a rough time adapting to cultural differences – she stood out.
“When I told people I was from Singapore, people asked me to talk in my accent,” Reddam. “They exoticized me. Then I took a step back and I thought, ‘It’s weird, sometimes I forget I’m an international student.’ I feel very comfortable here and it has to do with the people – they make you feel at home.”
Reddam, who is also the leadership coordinator of SG Freshman Leadership Council (FLC) oversees more than 20 freshmen. Shamir Cetoute, who met Reddam in FLC, has high praises for her.
“She was a role model and guiding hand in my transition here in the university,” Cetoute said. “She helped me through a lot, helped with applications and projects. She is welcoming and always ready to help you when you need, she has just a warm heart.”
Reddam wanted to take full advantage of her four years at UM and wanted to explore as many organizations as she could.
“My parents are paying this much, they are sacrificing a lot, and that made me realize that I’m going to do everything, academic- and involvement-wise, to take full advantage of this amazing experience,” Reddam said.
Avisha Gopalakrishna, a senior international student from India, has been Reddam’s closest friend at UM since the first day they met at the international student orientation.
“It’s so stressful to be her friend because everyday I have to come up with a new way to congratulate her on her various achievements,” Gopalakrishna said. “No matter how many times I say congratulations, it will never actually match up to her achievements.”
Gopalakrishna said Reddam has been an inspiring leader and deserves the number of awards she’s received over the years.
“She has worked hard and sometimes I think she feels that we make it a big deal for her,” Gopalakrishna said. “But it’s not true. She’s too humble, and if you are that humble, someone needs to recognize you. And that’s what we, as her friends, hope to do for her. She is extremely friendly and kind, and good people in this world should be recognized.”
Other students recognized by the list include broadcast journalism major and previous Hurricane columnist Danny New, host of UMTV’s “Off the Wire” and a past intern on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.
The full list of winners will be released in July. Reddam’s accomplishment was first published in The Straits Times, Singapore’s national newspaper, earlier this week.