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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Undergraduate Research Spotlight: Shanvanth Arnipalli

Shanvanth Arnipalli
Environmental Science ‘22
Ziouzenkova Lab & Feng Lab 

Headshot of Shanvanth Arnipalli wearing a blue blazer and gray sweater and glassesShanvanth is currently a senior majoring in Environmental Science with a specialization in Water Science. During his time in SENR, he has been involved in several activities, including the Buckeye Leadership Fellowship and being the board president of Leadership of Environmental Athletes for Sustainability (LEAFS). He has also participated in lab research work focused on biomedical nutrition and developmental psychology. After graduation, Shanvanth plans to take a gap year for a research fellowship and then pursue a PhD program at OSU. 

Read the full interview with Shanvanth:  

A Glance at Shanvanth’s Research  

What research were you involved in?
My lab research work focuses are in biomedical nutrition and developmental psychology. I am currently writing my undergraduate theses. One project is about parental metaemotion and practices towards child socialization goals shaped by environmental sociological imagination, with Dr. Xin Feng in Human Development and Family Sciences, and the other project is focused on the mechanistic understanding of Prader Willi Syndrome (neuroendocrine disease) and proposing therapeutics to curb its induced mortality, with Dr. Ziouzenkova in Human Nutrition.

How did you hear about this opportunity?
I emailed professors and networked with peers and teammates to reach my current research mentors. This aspect is really important because meeting people in your field and having passionate conversations about your works are what make it worth it for staying in academia. Shared goals and interests are so satisfying and fulfilling, moreover, such discussions develop interpersonal communication and camaraderie.  Shanvanth Arnipalli wearing an OSU jacket, gray shirt and glasses

What aspect of your research do you feel was most valuable in your professional development?
Learning from mistakes and failed procedures. Making mistakes should be normalized and celebrated because these mistakes cannot be treated as “end all be all”. Mistakes are meant to be learned from, not judged.   

Were there any challenges you faced in getting involved in research? If so, how did you overcome them?
Two challenges I faced would be the fear of letting my team down and imposter syndrome. 

Academia is extremely competitive, even though the goal is to share and learn from others, and such competition can lead to overlooking small but pivotal details in the lab, lack of work-life balance, and not feeling good enough to work in current positions. However, to ground myself, I would have to remind myself that I was chosen to work for a reason and that I do belong. Moreover, asking for critical and harsh feedback paints a good reality of one’s work and proves to be helpful in character development to address areas that need improvement.

What advice would you give to someone who is hoping to get involved in research?
One piece of advice I would give to someone who is hoping to get involved in research would be to find a mentor with whom you are comfortable having honest and vulnerable conversations. There will be weeks when personal life bleeds into your professional life, and that can be overwhelming. In those instances, it is extremely helpful to have a research mentor who you trust and talk to. 

College Life and Beyond

Shanvanth wearing a black sweater and pants smiling in front of a fountainWhat else have you been involved in during college?
I am a Student Athlete (Fencing) and a Buckeye Leadership Fellow (2023 cohort). I’m also the board president of the English Conversation Program, the board president of Leadership of Environmental Athletes for Sustainability (LEAFS). Additionally, I’m a university intern for Athletes for Hope (AFH), a teaching assistant for SENR and EHE (currently just EHE), a general body member for Athletes in Medicine, and a CFAES Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Council Member.

What are your career aspirations at this time?
At the moment, I plan to graduate with honors in fall 2022 after defending both of my theses. Afterwards, I would like to take a gap year to go abroad with a research fellowship and spend my time working and improving my cultural competency. Then, I would like to come back to OSU to hopefully pursue a PhD program in either human nutrition or material science engineering.

What skills are you learning now that you could transfer to those career aspirations?
Currently I am very involved with manuscript and proposal writing and experimental design development. These skills will help me with my career aspirations because they have instilled mechanistic and spatial thinking methods, in-depth reading, and critical analytical thinking; all of which are vital to enter innovative PhD programs like nutrition and engineering.



How to connect with Shanvanth: 


Post created November 2021