daily californian logo

BERKELEY'S NEWS • FEBRUARY 02, 2023

Ring in the New Year with our 2023 New Year's Special Issue!

‘Strong sense of equality and justice': Anjika Pai wins 2022 University Medal

article image

TAMIYA JOSEPH | COURTESY

Senior undergraduate student Anjika Pai received UC Berkeley's 2022 University Medal for her achievements in academics and advocacy for equitable environmental justice.

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

MAY 10, 2022

UC Berkeley graduating senior Anjika Pai was chosen as the 2022 University Medal winner, the highest honor for a graduating senior.

An environmental sciences major and music minor with a 4.0 GPA, Pai is originally from Jamison, Pennsylvania, according to a campus press release. While at UC Berkeley, Pai’s numerous achievements include co-founding a website to promote diversity and equity in STEM, learning to play an Indonesian instrument and teaching a DeCal on female-identifying composers.

“I was chosen based on my extracurriculars and passions,” Pai said. “I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to leave things alone when they reach their full potential. That quality is something they appreciated in me.”

The University Medal comes with a $2,500 prize, according to the press release. Every February, graduating seniors are notified of their eligibility based on a high GPA cutoff, Pai said. After applying, she interviewed in April as one of the finalists for the award.

The other four finalists for the award included Claire Beckstoffer, Jonah Lounds, Claire Rider and The Daily Californian staffer Hari Srinivasan.

According to campus music lecturer Robert Yamasato, who wrote Pai a letter of recommendation, Pai has a “strong sense of equality and justice” that she has already applied to many different disciplines.

“In my fifteen years of teaching at the collegiate level, I can honestly state that I have had not had a student who inspired me to better myself academically and ethically as much as Anjika Pai,” Yamasato said in his recommendation letter. “Without a doubt, she is a unique student.”

Campus environmental studies associate professor Alastair Iles said Pai took a course with him in fall 2020 and later began to explore honors thesis topics with him before settling on the rights of nature in the United States.

He added that with all her achievements and efforts, Pai embodies what students can become during their time on campus.

While Pai said she is proud of her honors thesis, she is also proud of maintaining her work-study jobs and managing her academic course load. According to the press release, Pai worked as a writer and social media assistant for the Rausser College of Natural Resources as well as an usher at Alfred Hertz Memorial Concert Hall.

In the fall, Pai will attend Northeastern University in Boston to study environmental law, according to the press release. Pai said she wants to bring the sustainable infrastructure of Berkeley to wherever she ends up on the East Coast.

“When I came here, my family was convinced that I would be staying in California for the rest of my life,” Pai said. “It’s not because I don’t love being here; it’s because I want the East Coast to have a little of California in it.”

Contact Tarunika Kapoor at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @tkapoor_dc.
LAST UPDATED

MAY 11, 2022


Related Articles

featured article
The National Academy of Sciences, or NAS, selected six UC Berkeley faculty to join as members.
The National Academy of Sciences, or NAS, selected six UC Berkeley faculty to join as members.
featured article
featured article
UC Berkeley’s Bakar Labs has partnered with the Cystic Fibrosis, or CF,  Foundation to hold a competition that will award lab space and facilities to startups focused on finding a cure for cystic fibrosis through gene technology.
UC Berkeley’s Bakar Labs has partnered with the Cystic Fibrosis, or CF,  Foundation to hold a competition that will award lab space and facilities to startups focused on finding a cure for cystic fibrosis through gene technology.
featured article
featured article
Transforming that which needs to be transformed is a goal that Cecilia Lucas strives toward in everything she does, including her UC Berkeley lectureship.
Transforming that which needs to be transformed is a goal that Cecilia Lucas strives toward in everything she does, including her UC Berkeley lectureship.
featured article