Extraordinary Engineer: Lavanya Hariharan

Lavanya Hariharan

Lavanya Hariharan

Suwanee, Georgia

High School
Lambert High School

Degree Major
Civil Engineering, Geology minor

Expected Graduation
May 2025

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UGA?

I love the sense of community at UGA. Even though it’s a big campus, no matter where I go, I never feel alone. There’s a club, organization, or just a space in general for everyone to feel at home.

Why did you choose engineering?

Engineering feels like a comfort space for me. I’ve been invested in it throughout middle and high school, and purusing it in college and as a career makes me feel confident in what I can do in my future.

Why is it important for the university to have a diverse community?

Diversity on campus is so important for each individual to feel comfortable and that they belong among the wide variety of types of people here. With no diversity in the people you interact with, it can make the whole community very closed-minded. With a diverse community, we are all exposed to new ideas and customers that can broaden how we view everything.

What has been the greatest challenge you have faced while at UGA, and how did you overcome it?

Something that I struggled with my freshman year was going out and meeting people and joining clubs. I realized that not doing this made me too comfortable in my own space, and I wasn’t pushing myself to go out of my comfort zone to get new experiences. This year, I was able to meet so many new people and join new clubs and I am so glad that I did. I now have to many people that I can lean on and people to support me and people who I can support, too.

Lavanya Hariharan 2


What have you learned that has made a difference for you?

This year, I’ve been learning how to better balance my workload between my classes and the clubs and organizations I’m a part of, while also taking care of myself. Lately, my work has been very demanding, so making sure that I also prioritize my mental health is very important to me. I love doing yoga, reading, and watching TV to destress after a long week.

Who has helped you become a successful student at UGA?

Taking College of Engineering classes has exposed me to people who had the same experiences I’ve gone through. The friends I’ve made in my classes have made me enjoy what I’m doing so much more and I am so glad I met them! Having friends in my classes motivates me to do my best and allows me to collaborate and work together on things I may not understand, as well as on my own.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

The turtle pond!

What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?

I love Thai Spoon!

What has been your favorite class at UGA?

AESC 2050 (Effects of Global Agriculture on World Culture)! I took this class my freshman fall semester, and it was my first ‘big college lecture hall’ experience so it made me feel connected to UGA in a weird way. The class itself taught me so much about sustainability, cultures around the world, and it changed how I view how the agriculture industry functions.

What has been your best memory at UGA?

One the last day of classes Spring 2022, my roommates and I played tag on the grassy area by Boyd! It was very spontaneous and it was a fun, carefree way to end our first year of college together.

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What advice do you have for younger students who wish to pursue engineering?

I would say to not let anything deter you from your goals. As someone who struggles in math, I was always scared to go into engineering since I thought to succeed in something, I’d need to be good in all parts of it. However, not succeeding in one area does not mean you’re not qualified to pursue something that you feel strongly for. There are so many different ways to be involved in and pursue engineering even if you think you’re not the best at a certain aspect of it.

How do you hope to impact society with your engineering degree?

With a civil engineering degree, I hope to go into sustainable urban architecture or sustainable city planning. Sustainability is something that every person needs to learn to incorporate into their lifestyle and it is also something I am very passionate about, so I also wanted to be able to include it in my career. The city lifestyle makes it very difficult to be climate conscious both as an individual and a company, so I want to help integrate sustainability into urban planning to begin with––to make sure transitions for the city’s people are better supported.

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