Rajiv Ramdeo and Aswathi Sreedharan

UC Irvine students Rajiv Ramdeo and Aswathi Sreedharan had a private audience with the Dalai Lama as recipients of the university's inaugural XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship.

Captivated, but not tongue-tied, they told the Dalai Lama about their efforts to bring His Holiness' ideals to campus.

Each student was awarded a scholarship and funding to pursue projects related to ethics and leadership.

A group of private citizens created the annual scholarship after seeing the Dalai Lama speak at UC Irvine in April 2004. Rajiv also was in the audience that day, and the Dalai Lama inspired him to start a meditation club.

A biological sciences major, Rajiv will use the funds to expand the meditation club and bring a variety of leaders to campus to discuss meditation, humanitarian work and ethical leadership. Rajiv has excelled in his studies and spent two years carrying out sponsored research on meditation at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine. He plans to become a physician so he can work toward more effective public health policy.

Aswathi, a biomedical engineering and international studies major, plans to organize a camp where student leaders from colleges around the state will gather for activities that encourage unity among students and support world peace. An extremely active student on campus, she is a former Chancellor's Club Scholar. Aswathi is a member of several honor societies and holds a research fellowship through The Henry Samueli School of Engineering.

Rajiv Ramdeo and Aswathi Sreedharan

Rajiv Ramdeo and Aswathi Sreedharan

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