A&S Class of ’24: Rishi Raghavan Discovered New Worlds at UVA

Rishi Raghavan

This fall, Echols scholar Rishi Raghavan will start medical school, but his path to grad school hasn’t been the typical one.  This spring, he graduates with a bachelor’s in economics and a minor in data science.

Raghavan began his undergraduate journey as a biology major but soon realized that the degree didn’t entirely suit his interests.  After taking a course in macroeconomics, he realized he was seeing the world through a new lens. 

“I couldn’t stop seeing the applications of macroeconomics everywhere, and that’s what made me decide to pursue economics further,” Raghavan said.  “Every class I took had some sort of practical application, and I didn’t see it as a distraction from being a med student, I saw it as a perfect complement.  It helps you see how people think, and it helps you understand the social determinants of health.  That’s why I decided to go with the econ major, and I haven’t regretted it.”

A self-described introvert, Raghavan said the idea of coming to college was intimidating, but his first year roommate helped him see the University from a different perspective.

“He made me leave my desk to see what else is out there,” Raghavan said.  “That was a big step for me in becoming more confident in who I am and growing as a person…and for helping me realize that classroom experiences are important, but real-world experiences are important too.  As a result, I have a treasure trove of life experience that I didn’t think I’d have.”

One reason Raghavan chose UVA is that the UVA students he met as a high schooler always seemed to be confident, kind, and giving.

“As a shy high schooler…to think that I could be like that in four years…that was something that really attracted me to UVA, and I feel like I’ve gotten there in a way,” Raghavan said.

In addition to excelling in his coursework, Raghavan has been a teaching assistant in economics and in biochemistry, he’s done research in nephrology for the UVA School of Medicine, he’s worked as an EMT with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad, and he has been a senior leader with Madison House’s medical services division as a program director and a member of the senior leadership team, a position that gave him the opportunity to revamp the sign up system to make it more inclusive and more fair for students who also have work responsibilities.

He also plays violin and tennis is interested in photography and filmmaking.

“My interests are all over the place,” Raghavan joked, but he said that the University community has been supportive of all the interests he’s pursued.  “This is a collaborative university and you’re going to find people here who will support you and root for you.  It’s so diverse that no matter what your interests are or whatever your personality is, you’ll find your niche and you’ll go beyond it, and you’ll discover things you never thought you would do.”

As a doctor, Raghavan hopes to specialize in pediatric cardiology.

“I think the heart is fascinating, and it’s the most complex thing emotionally too.  I really love the energy kids have, and the energy that kids and their parents have together is really special too,” Raghavan said.


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