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The Texas Liberty Bell, suspended in the Academic Building
The Texas Liberty Bell suspended in the rotunda of the Academic Building on the Texas A&M campus. | Image: Texas A&M Division of Marketing & Communications

Five undergraduate students in the Texas A&M University College of Arts and Sciences have been recognized as 2023 Gathright Scholars and Dean’s Excellence Award winners by the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, one of the oldest and most prestigious honor societies in the world. 

Both awards were created by the Texas A&M Phi Kappa Phi chapter in collaboration with LAUNCH: Academic Excellence and The Association of Former Students to recognize the top freshmen and sophomores in each college across the campus and celebrate their exceptional promise that makes them good candidates for future awards, including Rhodes and Fulbright Scholarships. Up to two students per college in each classification can be selected for recognition; the top student is recognized with the Gathright Scholar Award and the second with the Dean’s Excellence Award. Up to two additional students in each classification in each college can selected for honorable mention.

Freshman biology major Hamzah Mir '26 and sophomore biology major Srilakshmi Muthyala '25 each earned Gathright Scholar Awards, while freshman meteorology major Katherine Forson '26 and sophomore biomedical sciences major Akhil Marupudi '25 both merited Dean’s Excellence Awards.

Junior anthropology major Esha Uddaraju '24 also was announced earlier in the spring as the 2023 Gathright Outstanding Junior Award recipient on behalf of the College of Arts and Sciences. Each colleges’ outstanding junior is selected by their respective dean and invited to serve as a student vice president in the Texas A&M Phi Kappa Phi chapter.

All five Arts and Sciences honorees along with their fellow awardees from other colleges were honored Thursday (Oct. 19) during a breakfast ceremony hosted by The Association and featuring the deans of each college.

"The associate deans who reviewed the dossiers were impressed and inspired by the breadth and depth of accomplishments of these outstanding students," said Dr. Christian Brannstrom, senior associate dean for undergraduate education in Arts and Sciences as well as a professor in the Department of Geography and David Bullock Harris Professor of Geosciences. "Their dedication, creativity and intellectual spark inspire us to achieve things at the full extent of our abilities."

About Hamzah Mir

Texas A&M biology major Hamzah Mir
Hamzah Mir '26

Mir, a Houston native who is pursuing medicine to make a meaningful impact on some of humanity's biggest ailments, is actively involved in his campus and community in addition to his educational pursuits. He serves as vice president of finance for the Student Government Diversity Commission, director of programming for the Asian Presidents Council, treasurer of the Muslim Students Association and director of fundraising for the American Medical Student Association. As an undergraduate researcher in Texas A&M assistant professor Dr. Tapasree Roy Sarkar's laboratory in the Department of Biology dedicated to cancer research, he currently is wrapping up a project exploring the anti-cancer properties of a novel nanoparticle. In addition, he previously has worked as an emergency medical technician.

About Srilakshmi Muthyala

Texas A&M biology major Srilakshmi Muthyala
Srilakshmi Muthyala '25

Muthyala, who is from El Paso, is treasurer for Aggies to Medicine and secretary for SPICMACAY TAMU, a classical Indian music organization. She also serves as a student representative on the undergraduate academic appeals panel. Muthyala currently conducts undergraduate research as a member of Texas A&M research assistant professor Dr. Jenny Wu’s laboratory in the Department of Nutrition. In addition to being first author on a paper under Wu, Muthyala previously received a top presenter award through the 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Program with the Texas A&M School of Medicine.

About Katherine Forson

Texas A&M meteorology major Katherine Forson
Katherine Forson '26

Forson, a native of Plano, is a ham radio operator licensed with Amateur Radio Emergency Services and secretary of the Texas A&M Amateur Radio Club as well as radio and licensing director for the Texas Aggie Storm Chasers, a subgroup of the Texas A&M Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society. A certified SKYWARN storm spotter with the National Weather Service, she also serves as section youth coordinator for the American Radio Relay League North Texas. In November, Forson will be traveling with an atmospheric sciences student research group as part of an Antarctica education abroad program led by Texas A&M atmospheric scientist Dr. Don Conlee. She also plays sousaphone in the Hullabaloo Band.

About Akhil Marupudi

Texas A&M biomedical sciences major Akhil Marupudi
Akhil Marupudi '25

Marupudi, who is from The Woodlands, is in the Aggie to Medicine early assurance program within the School of Medicine and involved in translational research as well as scribing and training at St Joseph's Regional Hospital. He is a co-founder and vice president of human resources for VAW Medical, a group that conducts medical outreach and most recently traveled to Peru this past summer. An MD Anderson Cancer Center 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Program Fellow under Dr. Michael Andreeff, M.D., Marupudi continues to serves as a research assistant there and with the Texas A&M Academic Success Center as both an undergraduate teaching fellow and supplemental instruction leader for college physics. Since August 2022, he also has been a peer notetaker with Texas A&M Disability Resources with responsibilities for a variety of STEM and humanities courses.

About Esha Uddaraju

Texas A&M anthropology major Esha Uddaraju
Esha Uddaraju '24

Uddaraju, a native of Little Elm, Texas, participates in the Partnership for Primary Care Program within the School of Medicine, which offers her conditional acceptance into medical school. She also serves as president of the Texas A&M Anthropological Society, where she has created a space for anthropology students to meet each other and faculty members, form connections, and learn more about the opportunities available in the anthropology department and across the university. Additionally, she serves as a peer diversity educator and student leader in the Department of Multicultural Services, Experience and Service Chair for On To Medicine and as a volunteer with Carpool, an organization that provides free and safe car rides to students on weekend nights. Uddaraju also has worked as an undergraduate research assistant for the Palynology Lab and the Department of Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics.

See the complete list of 2023 Gathright Scholars and Dean's Excellence Award winners across all Texas A&M colleges and learn more additional student recognition opportunities through LAUNCH: Academic Excellence.