A Conversation With Alumnus Sonia Boyapti

Justin Gung, Assistant Director of Leadership Annual Giving & Alumni Engagement, spoke with Sonia Boyapti about her time at Vanderbilt and how she remains involved in her Alma Mater. 

Justin: What was your area of concentration at the Graduate School? What are you focused on now?

Sonia: After receiving a master’s degree in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt, I moved to South Carolina with my husband. I decided to continue my studies during our four years in South Carolina and was accepted into the biostatistics program at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. I graduated with a doctoral degree in epidemiology (joint department with biostatistics) and came back to Vanderbilt for a postdoctoral fellowship. Shortly after completing my fellowship, my first child was born. I decided to stay at home with her while focusing on giving back to my community. I am thankful for every opportunity I had to further my studies and am amazed at the twists and turns that my life took to get where I am now.

Justin: Successive deans of the Graduate School have spearheaded, funded and supported the soon-to-be-completed graduate and professional student housing complex that’s currently under construction at Vanderbilt. What excites you the most about sponsoring this project as part of the Advisory Board?

Sonia: I am thrilled to support a program that provides an environment tailored to the needs of graduate students that fosters the development of relationships across different academic groups and encourages growth as a community. The needs of graduate students are inherently different from those of undergraduates. Supporting a project that provides a space that is affordable with community amenities (study and recreational areas, dining), has flexible living plans (single, married, multi-family), and is conveniently located on campus, is very exciting!

Justin: Share with us your vision for the Graduate School as we move through a time of great change and challenge in our world.

Sonia: Part of what I would like to see for the Graduate School at Vanderbilt is the creation of innovative work opportunities connecting alumni to current graduate school students. These opportunities will enable our graduates to make a lasting impact both locally and globally.