Undergraduate Award Winner: Siya Sakhardande

Portrait of Siya Sakhardande

Siya Sakhardande is a triple threat: with majors in English, history, and psychology, this rising junior has her hands full. Sakhardande is a recent recipient of the 2023 President’s Student Leadership and Service Award, an honor given to students who show exemplary leadership. During her time in the Undergraduate Student Government, she has made real change on campus and is “excited to continue being an advocate for our student body.” 

What brought you to the University of Minnesota?

As an out-of-state student, the biggest reason why I wanted to come to the U was because of my interest in the psychology department. I heard wonderful things about it during high school, so I was ecstatic when I learned that I got accepted into the College of Liberal Arts for psychology. Another aspect of college that I was excited about was being a part of the University Honors Program, which has been such a fulfilling experience!

What relevant experiences have you had outside of the classroom? How have they influenced your career goals or other ambitions?

Two experiences outside of the classroom have really enhanced my experience on-campus: the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the University Honors Student Association (UHSA). 

Participating in USG has allowed me to work on projects on-campus to increase student wages to $15 per hour and off-campus at the Minnesota State Capitol to advocate for policies to support student basic needs at the U and across the state, which is something that I would love to continue doing once I leave USG!

Being a part of UHSA has allowed me to be a part of creating and facilitating a community for newer students as the Mentor Program Chair. Every time I hear a story about a successful pairing of students, I am proud to have given back to a program that helped me transition into college during my first semester at the U.

What has been your favorite part of your experience with your departments?

As I navigate college with three majors from three different CLA departments, the best part of it has been the support I have received from all three departments! Each department has been able to support me in pursuing the experiences I want to have during college, like studying abroad this summer in Europe or getting involved in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), which is something I was initially worried about when deciding to pursue more than one major.

What is your dream job? How is your liberal arts education helping you reach your post-graduation goals?

After completing my undergraduate studies, I hope to attend law school to become an attorney. Having a liberal arts education in three different fields has allowed me to become a well-rounded student and to be able to participate in fields that are different than my chosen ones. Although the rigor of law school will be much different than right now, I hope to take my experiences within CLA along with me!

What's next on the horizon?

As I head into my junior year at the U, I am excited to continue being an advocate for our student body! Currently, I am involved in efforts to make it easier for students to access mental health support on our campus and I hope to see this come to fruition before I graduate.

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