Student excels at TU, thousands of miles from home

By: John Mabilangan, Staff Writer

Coming from Surat, India, TU student Priyansh Gujarati wanted opportunities and challenges outside of his home country to facilitate his academic growth.

With many acceptances to multiple schools across the world, Gujarati chose to attend Towson University to be closer to his sister who lives in Maryland. He decided to major in Chemistry and Math, finding his home in TU’s Chemistry Department. 

“I was very happy with going to Towson University because I always had opportunities to take part in research laps, independent research labs, and teaching assistant opportunities for my department,” Gujarati said. “The Chemistry Department is really small, but they are extremely supportive of my academic ambitions. I can ask for some guidance, assistance, or anything and they will do what they can to help. The department is very small, everyone knows you by name, and we help each other out.”

Gujarati participates in numerous extracurricular activities on campus. He played for Towson’s Badminton Club during his first semester while being a Student Liaison for Glen Tower D from 2017 to 2018.  In 2018, he became an active member of Towson University’s South Asian Student Association where he held the position of treasurer from 2018 to 2019, then succeeded as the organization’s president from 2019 to 2020. 

In addition to his extracurriculars, he is an active on-campus presence within the College of Science and Mathematics. Seeking a departmental job, Gujarati consulted Lina Landon, the Coordinator of Science Tutoring, for a position. He began in the Spring of 2018. On top of formally tutoring, he hosted review sessions for his classes and helped informally tutor students taking introductory chemistry, biology, and physics courses.  

It wasn’t long before professors started to notice all of Gujarati’s hard work and dedication. 

“In spring 2019, I was approached by Doctor Macks who asked me to be a teaching assistant for organic chemistry 2 in which I gladly volunteered for,” Gujarati said. “I kept teaching, hosting peer assistance sessions for chemistry, and I was being approached by many professors. To grade and proctor exams, and so forth. I have grown to love the department because of all this.”

Gujarati believes that his biggest accomplishment has been tutoring at TU. 

“Whenever I am tutoring I don’t really care about the income, but I think when a student who I tutor gets a good grade that’s already enough pay for me,” he said. “It shows that a student who I am working with works hard along with me. If they do well then I understand what I am teaching, and I end up feeling up good. I get really happy when the students I tutor tell me that ‘I wouldn’t have passed it without you’ because it felt great to know that my tutoring really helped make a difference to the student.”

A friend and tutee of Gujarati, Lauren Sadowski shared how much Gujarati has influenced her achievements as a student. 

Had it not been for the innumerable amount of time he spent with me in the tutoring center for General Chemistry I, I would not have consistently received the highest test scores in my entire class,” Sadowski said. “More recently, he aided in my achievement of scoring the third-highest on my first test in Organic Chemistry; ultimately, he restored my confidence in my ability to understand and pursue a degree in science.” 

Sadowski emphasized the fact that Gujarati’s kindness goes beyond being a tutor. 

“Also, as I have gotten to personally know [Gurjarati], I have noticed how consistent his genuineness is; whether you are his tutee or friend, he treats you with unconditional respect and sincerity,” Sadowski said. “In every encounter as my tutor, he ensures a warm and non-judgemental learning environment, and as my friend, he outwardly believes in me like no one else has. I will forever be appreciative of that.”

Not only have his tutees and students appreciated his kindness and time, professors champion him as well. 

Priyansh Gujarati is one of the finest students I have met in my 35 years at Towson,” Lecturer and Director of ESOL Writing Service, Dr. Carol Pippen said. “He not only is a brilliant student, but also is an exemplary human being. He is a great student without arrogance, a kind young man without artifice, and a hard worker without apologies for his dedication. Add up these qualities and sprinkle with good humor and you have the makings of a model citizen of the world. We are lucky here to have played a small role in his development; I am sure in the future he will bring honor to himself and to Towson University, and I am lucky to have known him and been his professor.” 

During the summer of 2019, Gujarati was able to conduct research with Dr. Tran-Ba, an Assistant Professor at TU, for Physical Chemistry. Fall 2019 to now, he is doing research on Natural Product Synthesis under Dr. Reber, Assistant Professor. From here, Gujarati is looking for more ways to grow academically as well as to help his department’s professors and students during his undergraduate years. As a student who loves research and teaching, he hopes to continue his education to pursue a career in academia. 

“When I am teaching I get lost, but in a good way,” Gujarati said. “I lose track of time and I really enjoy it. It made me realize that it’s something I want to do in the future. Somewhere alongside medicine, chemistry, or something. I hope to get an MD PHD where I can work in a lab, but whatever happens I want to continue teaching.” 

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