Aakriti Agrawal | Student Stories

Aakriti Agrawal
Meet Aakriti Agrawal

Twice as Nice: Two-time alumna Agrawal continues to give back to community

May 13, 2022 | By Mia Azizah

Aakriti Agrawal identifies herself as a third-culture kid after being born in New Delhi, India, spending most of her adolescent years in Singapore and going to high school in Pune, India. But after spending the last decade here in Nebraska, there’s no doubt she’s a Husker now.

Agrawal first came to Nebraska for her bachelor's degree in actuarial science and finance, which she earned in 2016. While she was an undergraduate student, she held various leadership positions in Cultural Ambassadors, DreamBIG Academy, the Student Alumni Association and many more organizations.

"I had never really heard of Nebraska before coming here and had never visited, so I had no idea what I would be walking into," Agrawal said. "I was afraid that I wouldn't make friends because I wouldn't fit in [but] my worries subsided the next day when the international students started moving into campus and I made friends with people I'm still very close to!"

Growing up in multiple cultures had its advantages for Agrawal, from being adaptable to celebrating many holidays to speaking more than one language. While sometimes finding a sense of belonging could be challenging, Agrawal came to realize that Lincoln is a cultural melting pot where international students, refugees, immigrants, global visitors and Americans passionate about diverse cultures call this place home.

"There's a lot of diverse pockets in Lincoln, and that's been a lot of fun for me to explore," she said. "Finding that community and finding that home here has been a really important and rewarding experience."

My time at Nebraska taught me to step outside of my comfort zone. There were a lot of opportunities that I never expected to lead to anything, but they did — so I learned early that I should try different things and see where they take me.

Aakriti Agrawal

This spring, Agrawal will graduate from the College of Business with her MBA. Although she says she's most excited about never having to do homework again after graduation, she's also excited to apply the lessons she's learned from her program to her work at Ameritas as a senior data governance analyst.

"My job is to help people understand how they can harness the power of data," said Agrawal. "I love my job for a few reasons — my coworkers are awesome and I've made so many best friends at the company!"

Agrawal is also glad that her company allows her to stay involved and shares her passion for the local community. After earning her bachelor's degree, she started teaching herself how to code and implement computer programming.

With this knowledge, Agrawal started volunteering at the afterschool program of a local chapter of the national nonprofit, Girls Who Code. But after realizing the program would have more opportunity for fundraising and programming if they ran independently, she helped co-found the grassroots nonprofit, Girls Code Lincoln, that bridges the gender gap in technology by teaching a diverse group of middle school girls how to computer program. Her work in Girls Code Lincoln led her to win the 2022 Founders Award at Lincoln's Inspire Awards.

"Founding a non-profit with no non-profit experience is tough, but we leaned on our community," Agrawal said. "We asked many questions to the people around us and used services like the Nebraska Law school's consulting hours to help us get started."

In addition to the work with her nonprofit, Agrawal is a strong advocate for community volunteerism as a speaker for TedxUNO on closing the gender gap in technology, a board member for the Nebraska Transitional College and a volunteer for another nonprofit ECHO Collective, which provides economic and empowerment resources for immigrants and refugees.

"In Lincoln, we have a very large refugee community. We have a lot of really great work being done for international students, refugees, and global visitors," Agrawal said.

As her second graduation approaches, Agrawal is excited to spend more time with her parents, whose journey to Nebraska started when Agrawal's father pursued his doctorate from Nebraska. At her father's graduation in 2018, Agrawal recalled that Nebraska alumni in attendance were asked to stand up and welcome the newest member of the Nebraska alumni community. She stood up to greet her father as a Nebraska alumnus — a moment she'll never forget.

"My proudest accomplishment was when my father graduated with his Ph.D. from UNL," Agrawal said. "My next proudest moment will be at graduation this May when he'll get to welcome me into the alum network — this time as a two-time alum."

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