Global Health Major Leads Community-Based Nonprofit Focused on Inclusivity, Kindness, and Service
July 12, 2021 – Shreyaa Venkat (NHS’24) said she is “absolutely loving the global health major” and enjoying the tight-knit NHS community. Active in campus organizations, the sophomore also co-founded, with her sister, the award-winning nonprofit NEST4US, which seeks to offer “volunteer solutions to the community to make the world better through kindness.”
Question: Where did you grow up, and how did you learn about Georgetown?
Venkat: I grew up in Ashburn, VA, so I’m super familiar with the Washington metro area. That’s actually how I learned about Georgetown, having visited the city of DC many times for sightseeing and for my service work.
I’d always thought Georgetown looked like Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books (a series I’ve loved since I was a kid), so when I was accepted it was almost like I was living out my childhood dream.
One aspect of Georgetown that really drew me into the school was its value on service and the care of the whole person – cura personalis.
Question: What drew you to want to study in the health field?
Venkat: Since primary school, my academic interests have been interwoven within the fields of STEM. Combining this with my altruistic experiences, my career interests shifted from a narrow clinical focus of medicine to a broader perspective of health focused on service and care equity.
Fostering meaningful connections with people is something I value greatly, and I feel that the field of health holds endless opportunities for me to do just that, while also being a positive change agent in the world.
Question: How are you enjoying the global health major and Georgetown?
Venkat: I’m absolutely loving the global health major at Georgetown so far because of its unique approach to health that focuses on local, national, and global communities, while also incorporating social justice and health care management components.
The professors in the department are so knowledgeable and supportive, and my peers are just as passionate about health and service as I am, which makes for a super inclusive tight-knit community within the NHS.
Question: Tell us about the activities you are involved in at Georgetown and about your organization off of campus.
Venkat: At Georgetown, I’ve become earnestly involved in several service-based organizations despite not having experienced university life in-person, including ones focused on food equity and homelessness. I’ve participated in the Georgetown Hindu Student Association, Georgetown Women in Leadership, CURA: A Healthcare Pre-Orientation Program, the Georgetown Asian American Student Association, and Georgetown Gives.
My active involvement as a social advocate and nonprofit leader in these student-based organizations has not only given me the opportunity to engage in activism that supports a diverse array of causes, from quality education and food security to gender equality and racial justice, but also allowed me to integrate my personal passions and scholastic pursuits.
Over the years, I’ve learned how much power my voice has in creating lasting change, despite my young age and minority status. As the co-founder and CEO of nonprofit NEST4US, I advance dialogue and inspire others to take action through our core programs. Over the past five years, our volunteer family of more than 1,500 individuals has contributed over $900,000 in value of volunteer hours through NEST4US’s philanthropic platform, built upon kindness, generosity, and social good.
Question: What are your plans for the coming year and possible career paths?
Venkat: I aspire to enter the medical field and delve into health care management, through which I’ll continue providing aid to marginalized populations who lack equitable access to vital health care resources and treatments. Personally, I hope to lead the fight for zero waste by working with global organizations like the United Nations to manipulate food distribution methods and ensure that no one lives hungry.
My future goals for NEST4US include increasing our program scalability, providing more critical resources to various countries worldwide, and delivering essential aid to more vulnerable communities across the globe. My overall vision is to empower people of all ages and backgrounds to create a more compassionate and inclusive world by instilling a passion for service through random acts of kindness.
I’m super excited to bring NEST4US to the Hilltop and continue sharing what I love with my Hoya family! (Visit the NEST4US website.)
By Bill Cessato