Meet Athithi Janakiraman

Peer Advisor
Athithi Janakiraman, Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Major: Political Science & History
Graduation: Planning to graduate in spring 2023.

Athithi is a student from California with a wide variety of interests. Besides working with students in the Department of Political Science, Athithi is also an avid researcher and writer who enjoys gathering and interpreting information for fiction and nonfiction writing. In addition, Athithi loves music and can play both the piano and the flute. He is also currently learning guitar.

In the context of his majors, Athithi is focusing on the history of race in America and Marxist political theory.

What experience in politics do you have?

Athithi worked with former Fremont city council member David Bonaccorsi in California, who was running for reelection to the city council on the platform of affordable housing and against excessive development. He was also involved in affordable housing initiatives in his hometown, including Habitat for Humanity’s housing project on Central Avenue, which had several environmental initiatives included in its construction plan. In addition, Athithi had a chance to go to Washington DC and meet with Representatives Ro Khanna and Eric Swalwell in 2018.

Currently, Athithi is doing remote canvassing for a political campaign back in Oakland, California.

What is your favorite resource to use on campus?

Athithi’s favorite resource to use on campus is the Student Writing Center. He believes it’s a valuable resource for students who struggle with writing.

As someone who is passionate about writing, he found that the center really does try to empower students to think through the problems they are facing in writing a paper. Staff are usually excited to read a student’s paper and learn about their topic, providing helpful feedback that can sometimes recontextualize how the student views their paper. Athithi strongly recommends that every student go to the center as many times as they need to because it should be a natural part of the process in writing a paper
for a class.

How can students benefit from meeting with you?

Athithi can help students with declaring their major or minor, direct them towards resources on campus that can help them, and give advice on research opportunities available at the U. After a meeting with Athithi, students will hopefully have a greater understanding of the major and all the different avenues they can take within it. As a student himself, Athithi can provide insight into the department through his personal experience and other knowledge he may have as a peer advisor.

What conversations do you look forward to having with students as a peer advisor?

Athithi is really looking forward to talking to students about the major. This department has been an important part of his college experience for the past three years. Through trial and error, he has learned more about what this department has to offer and what direction he would want to take. Athithi is excited to hear why students are entering this major and learning about their experiences within the department, while also providing his perspective on it and giving the students more information on what is available to them.

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