Ayushi Sood, international student from Ambala, India
Finishing her second year as a microbiology major at the University of Iowa, Ayushi Sood says she couldn’t have asked for a better experience. “I have grown so much as a person since I have been at Iowa,” said Sood. “As an international student, my experience has been that people are so welcoming here, which makes me feel that I am an essential part of the university.”
For as long as she can remember, Sood dreamed of studying in the United States. As she explored options, the University of Iowa stood out. “The research opportunities, co-curricular activities, and the flexibility to study both microbiology and creative writing were all reasons that I decided to attend Iowa,” reflected Sood. “There are so many resources for students to utilize to achieve their goals.”
And Sood has certainly engaged with the areas that attracted her to Iowa.
Research experiences? Check. With help from the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU), Sood secured a research assistant position in the lab of Dr. Terry Wahls, clinical professor of medicine at the UI Carver College of Medicine and author of The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles. Sood assisted with data entry for a study involving people assigned randomly to two different diets. She entered data about the participant experiences related to factors such as fatigue, physical performance on a variety of tasks, and eye sight.
Involvement with student organizations? Check. In addition to a full academic schedule, Sood finds time to volunteer for the Women's Resource and Action Center as well as serve as the events executive for the South Asian Student Alliance. She has been involved with Women in Science and Engineering and the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students. Sood also helps to promote the University of Iowa as a volunteer for International Student Ambassadors at the UI Office of Admissions and serves as a staff writer for an online campus magazine called HerCampus. On top of all this, Sood works as a resident assistant at Catlett Residence Hall, where she served as a first person of contact for 38 undergraduate students.
“I have grown so much as a person since I have been at Iowa. As an international student, my experience has been that people are so welcoming here, which makes me feel that I am an essential part of the university.”
The opportunity to study both microbiology and creative writing? Check. Since childhood, Sood has been interested in science. This interest was sparked, in part, by the death of her grandfather who lost his battle with a rare liver disorder. Sood decided to explore the possibility of a career in the field of research—dedicated to learning about the causes of rare disorders. In high school, a new interest in writing emerged as a result of an internship with a lifestyle magazine in India. The University of Iowa has allowed Sood the opportunity to pursue both academic interests through a major in microbiology and a certificate in creative writing. “I love to write about my personal life and my experiences. I’ve written a lot about my granddad and my relationship with him,” said Sood.
The coronavirus pandemic forced a move to virtual instruction on March 30, and, as a result, Sood decided to complete the Spring 2020 semester at home in Ambala, India. She is adjusting to her new schedule, but looks forward to the day she can return to campus and her beloved Iowa City.
Learn more about Sood’s experience at the University of Iowa
Learn more about Sood’s motivation to study microbiology
Learn more about Sood’s transition to virtual instruction