Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Shreya Desikan

Shreya Desikan

Biological Sciences and Psychology, Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Bio

“I am forever inspired by the individuals that make up Carnegie Mellon, by a community of people that work from their hearts and imbues everything that they do with passion, love and care. This community that has pushed me to learn and grow, but also has supported me through every success and failure. I want every student here to discover the passion, support and love that I see every day: in each interaction with peers, faculty, staff and senior leadership. I believe the essence of enabling this discovery is changing campus culture around wellness. We, as a community, need to work together to build from the bottom up the proactive wellness culture that this Carnegie Mellon needs.”

Originally from Westchester, New York, Shreya has come to fall in love with Pittsburgh while studying Biology and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon. At Carnegie Mellon, she has not only found a place to nurture her passions for medical research, but also somewhere for her to widen her personal narrative and to grow as a person. Her most meaningful experiences have been working in Residential Education as a Resident Assistant & Community Advisor, performing with the CMU Soundbytes, and the philanthropy work she has done with her chapter of Delta Delta Delta. As a first year, Shreya was introduced to campus wellness initiatives through CMU’s Mindfulness Room, and she has been committed to helping the Carnegie Mellon Community on its own wellness journey ever since. With her Fifth Year Scholar project, Shreya is working to empower student leadership to come together to achieve a proactive wellness culture on campus and to create a more holistic, supportive experience for every member of the Carnegie Mellon Community to come.

Andrew Edwards

Andrew Edwards

Art, Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Bio

“It was essential that I attend a university that would push me. I wanted to be propelled towards personal and professional growth, and in no way coddled. Visiting the CMU campus for the first time, I knew I’d found that. While it has been incredibly demanding, my time at CMU has expanded my thinking and my art more than I ever anticipated. At CMU I’ve enjoyed a refreshingly balanced academic and artistic focus in the School of Art, learning not just how to create but how to conceive. Outside of class, I am constantly inspired and energized by the work of my peers. The various students here pour so much of themselves into their work, creating a contagiously passionate environment that I can’t get enough of. As a Fifth Year Scholar, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to continue to partake in the CMU experience for another year, but more importantly give back to the amazing community I’ve grown to love.”

A first-generation college student and Texas native, Andrew Edwards is a Fine Arts Major with a minor in Special Effects and Animation. Andrew believes that when art is made accessible, it has the power to be a powerful cultural catalyst. In his work, Andrew has found a timeless accessibility in animation. He has always found animation to be intrinsically immersive, communicative, and memorable. Andrew aims to capitalize on these qualities to create enchanting visual experiences, providing spaces for escape, pedagogy, and growth.Through this, he aspires to positively shape the culture of future generations, just as animations from his young age have done for him. Andrew also seeks to make art accessible by bolstering visibility and technological literacy. Having access to CMU’s creative facilities was extremely formative for Andrew, but not the norm among students, so Andrew has dedicated his fifth year to remedy this. The more people acting as forces of creation, the more we can learn and grow together.

Russell Holbert

Russell Holbert

Music Performance, Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Bio

"Carnegie Mellon has been a place of turning points for me. In my time here, I have not found success or failure without meaning, and my identity as a student and an artist has been deeply shaped by those experiences. I believe in reflection of experience in the form of music, and see the creation and cultivation of our musical culture as a way to enhance how our campus community celebrates."

Russell Holbert is a senior Vocal Performance Major with a passion for contemporary art music. His project seeks to integrate new music into celebrations and major events for the campus community, to better explore the shared student experience through art. Originally from Fitchburg, MA, he came to Carnegie Mellon with the sole purpose of studying music, but soon found many roles to fill in the campus community. As a peer leader, Russell has worked in the Office of Residential Education for both the summer PreCollege Program and as a Community Advisor for the Intersection residential community. As a performer, he has performed in several operatic productions within the School of Music, as well as with the CMU Treblemakers a cappella group. As a creator, Russell is a student of music composition and has collaborated on multiple writing initiatives with Scotch'n'Soda Theatre.

Joseph Paetz

Joseph Paetz

Electrical and Computer Engineering, Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Bio

“I am in love with the Carnegie Mellon community.  One of the things that make our community so wonderful is its very diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives.  I think we can do more to explore the distance between these backgrounds and perspectives, both for the voices in our community which are not heard, but also for those in our community who do not understand those voices.  The exploration and questioning of my own identity privileges is helping me to both understand my current self better, as well as become a better person.  These questions about privilege and identity are often messy and imperfect, but I am always glad to have asked.  Through the Fifth Year Scholar program, I hope to continue this exploration and challenge for myself, but also to share in this questioning with other members of our campus community.”  

Nick came to Carnegie Mellon from Blacksburg, Virginia, a small college town in the Appalachian Mountains. Nick is majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering, with a double major in Engineering and Public Policy. While he has learned a lot in his classes, some of his most salient growing experiences have been through other campus involvements: being a Community Advisor, a Course Assistant, an upper class Ambassador for first year students, an Orientation Counselor, and a member of the University Disciplinary Committee and Academic Review Board. These experiences, as well as his everyday interactions with his fellow students, have helped Nick to learn from the perspectives of others. His project goal is to imbue campus culture with a comfort in uncomfortable dialogue. He hopes to accomplish this through a recurring retreat for student leaders, to develop listening and dialogue skills.