May 11, 2023
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator
Darshi Patel Recognized During Academic Honors Program at VSU
Darshi Narendrakumar Patel, an international student from Gujarat, India, is the recipient of the 2022-2023 College of Science and Mathematics Outstanding Student Award and University System of Georgia Academic Recognition Day Award at Valdosta State University. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and an Honors College Certificate during VSU’s 235th Commencement on May 6 and anticipates earning a Master of Science in Biology, also at VSU, in 2024. She is pictured with Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU; Dr. Theresa Grove, associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics; and Dr. Robert Smith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
VALDOSTA — Darshi Narendrakumar Patel, an international student from Gujarat, India, is the recipient of the 2022-2023 College of Science and Mathematics Outstanding Student Award and University System of Georgia Academic Recognition Day Award at Valdosta State University.
Patel was recognized during VSU’s annual Academic Honors Program on April 27.
The College of Science and Mathematics Outstanding Student Award is presented to a student with a record of academic excellence and distinguished service inside and outside the classroom.
The University System of Georgia Academic Recognition Day Award is presented to a student who has a perfect 4.0 grade point average, represents the USG’s and VSU’s best qualities, strives for excellence, and has the ability to share knowledge in various areas of expertise.
“Being an international and first-generation student, these awards are truly an honor for me as they provide me the opportunity to represent my family and friends, as well as the Indian community here at VSU,” she shared. “I am grateful to be chosen from several outstanding students, and I will do my best to represent Valdosta State University and to embody The Blazer Creed and the university’s traditions everywhere I go.”
Patel graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and an Honors College Certificate during VSU’s 235th Commencement on May 6. She anticipates earning a Master of Science in Biology in 2024.
As a student at VSU, Patel was a member of the Society for International Students, where she served as a student liaison to the international advisor and assisted in developing service hour opportunities for the international community. She worked with the Honors Success Program, where she helped mentor and guide Honors College students and assisted in optimizing the Honors Program curriculum. She also served as a peer mentor with the College of Science and Mathematics GUIDES initiative and as a Peer Alliance Learning facilitator and STEM team leader with VSU’s Academic Support Center. She even delivered a guest lecture on seahorse mating behaviors in her Animal Behavior class.
Patel volunteered with the Georgia Academy of Sciences, welcomed students to Honors College orientation, helped keep the VSU campus clean and green, and shared her seahorse knowledge with area families through Science Saturday. She presented original research at the VSU Undergraduate Research Symposium (2021, 2022, 2023), the Blazer Summer Research Institute (2021, 2022), the Georgia Academy of Sciences (2022, 2023), the Georgia Undergraduate Research Council (2022), the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (2022), and the Georgia Collegiate Honors Council (2023). She said her favorite research topic is “Investigating the Effects of Algal Turbidity on the Mating Behaviors and Reproduction of the Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus Zosterae).”
Patel’s commitment to academic, leadership, research, and service excellence resulted in her earning repeated Dean’s List recognitions, a Blazer Summer Research Institute grant (2021), the Odum Scholarship (2021, 2022, 2023), the Hugh C. Bailey Family Scholarship (2022, 2023), the VSU Foundation Scholarship (2022), the David and Cecelia Ratcliffe Scholarship (2023), as well as the Best Biology Poster Presentation Award at the 2022 Georgia Academy of Sciences and 2022 VSU Undergraduate Research Symposium, the Best Video Presentation Award at the 2022 VSU Undergraduate Research Symposium, the Unsung Hero Award (2022), the Student Centered Award (2022), first place in the Student Essay Competition at the 2023 Georgia Collegiate Honors Council Conference, and the Best Paper Presentation Award at the 2023 Georgia Academy of Sciences and 2023 VSU Undergraduate Research Symposium.
“I am currently enrolled in the accelerated master’s program in the Department of Biology at VSU and have been accepted as a full-time graduate student starting in May,” she noted. “I have already been accepted as instructor of record — teaching assistantship — where I will be teaching entry-level labs to non-biology majors.”
Her supportive family includes father Narendrakumar Patel and mother Bhavnaben Patel.On the Web: