Though freshman Janani Raj lives in a Coke town, she idolizes Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo. "She comes from around the same area in India that I'm from," Raj says. "Knowing that someone from my background can be as successful as she is really motivates me. My goal is to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company, preferably Coke."
Raj, who spent most of her youth living in Cumming, Georgia, seriously considered pursuing her business education at Georgetown University. But the combination of winning a Gregory J. Owens Dean's Scholarship from the Scheller College as well as a President's Scholarship from Tech was too compelling to pass up, she says.
Dean's Scholarships at the Scheller College typically give recipients an average of $7,500 for four years. Adding in the President's Scholarship, Raj's college education is completely covered.
"I love being at Tech. I can't see myself anywhere else," she says, adding that her decision hinged on more than just scholarships. "I was the drum major of my high school marching band, so I really wanted a school with the strong team spirit that Tech has."
Raj hasn't pursued marching band at Tech, but she is participating in a competitive student dance team, the Ramblin' Raas, that she enjoys immensely. "Raas is a high-energy style of traditional Indian dance involving the use of sticks, formations, and lots of wild expression," she explains.
She's also in training at Tech's WREK and hopes to eventually have her own show. "I want to do an international music show that caters to the diverse population at Tech."
Raj, who is double majoring in industrial engineering, says she is used to sticking to a tight schedule so that she has time to pursue a variety of interests. In addition to stellar grades, she believes that her many leadership activities during high school – marching band, Academic Bowl, Science Olympiad, and service on a junior board of directors for a local bank – helped her stand out to the Tech scholarship committees.
"I enjoy holding leadership positions not because of power, but because of my desire to serve," she explains. "Being able to lead by example has always been my personal motto."