Chintamadaka celebrates culture, chases goals

· 4 min read

Chintamadaka celebrates culture, chases goals

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Editor’s Note — This is part of a student conversation series featured on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Medium page. The series highlights Huskers who are making positive impacts on campus, in their outreach work, and career paths.

Sreemedha Chintamadaka , an architecture major from Omaha, is celebrating her culture and chasing her goals through her work on and off campus.

What originally drew you to your major? What kind of work do you hope to do after graduation?

Coming into college, I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to major in. I always had an interest in design and art; however, I had a hard time picking a major. That’s when my parents suggested that I major in architecture and two weeks before my freshman year started, I changed my major to architecture. After graduation, I will be attending grad school here at Nebraska to get my dual master’s in architecture and community and regional planning. In the future, I hope to be a licensed architect.

Talk about your role with the India Students Association. How has it been to connect with Indian students while also cultivating interest and education for the culture across campus?

I have been part of India Students Association for almost the entirety of my college career. I started out as a social media chair for the organization and served as an event coordinator chair for the next two years. My job is to organize and plan events. In the fall semester, we host Diwali, the festival of lights, where almost 400 people attend the event. It is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. The other festival we celebrate here on campus is Holi, the festival of colors in the spring semester. Whenever the opportunity is given, I, along with a couple of ISA members, give a cultural performance at campus events to educate about Indian culture.

Could you speak more about your arangetram  —  the significance and work that went into accomplishing this?

I am a Carnatic music singer, a musical art form popular in southern India. As a child, I used to love singing and wanted to train toward becoming a professional singer. I started learning Carnatic music at 14 years old under the guidance of my guru. Usually, students of this art form start learning at the young age of 6 or 7, however, I couldn’t as I used to travel a lot due to my family, until I moved to Omaha. Once the guru feels like the students have mastered the basics and learned a good amount of compositions, they initiate a debut performance known as arangetram. 

In Tamil, arangetram means ascending the stage. I gave my arangetram performance, a two-hour performance, in July of 2023 after 10 months of rigorous training. Along with the training, I used to practice yoga and breathing during this time to increase my lung capacity for the performance. I also had to stay away from cold food and drink items. My arangetram was a rewarding experience as I was able to showcase my eight years of Carnatic music training. Today, I still continue to learn Carnatic music.

Is there anything you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?

I hope to get my architecture license sometime in the future. I also hope to give many Carnatic music performances as well.

What or who inspires you?

My parents gave up their life in India and moved to the United States so they could give me a better life. This motivates me to do well in school or in anything I am involved in as I would like to make them proud.

What is your advice to other students looking to make an impact on campus?

I would say to get involved in clubs/RSOs early in your college career. This will help students bring awareness of a topic, culture, etc.

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