Bush School student Yashwant Prakash Vyas was awarded the Eppright Outstanding International Student Award. The award is presented annually to one international student who excels in academics, leadership, service, and participation in extracurricular activities.
Vyas is a Master of Public Service and Administration student at the Bush School and is heavily involved in extracurricular activities at the University level. Prior to his studies at the Bush School, he earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University.
“Receiving this award means additional responsibility. With every honor comes the added responsibility of continuing to live up to that honor through actions. I now represent the group of outstanding international students who have come before me and who will come after me. Bestowing this honor is an appreciation of the work I have done, but I now have a conscious responsibility toward fellow recipients and the institution that has bestowed the honor—the conscious responsibility of continuing to re-earn this honor through my work,” Vyas said.
Vyas was born and raised in a small Indian town, and he transferred to Texas A&M to finish his undergraduate education. After applying to a few universities, he settled on Texas A&M as his final choice because of the highly ranked electrical engineering program and because Texas A&M had more to offer its students than just professional training.
Vyas initially chose the engineering path so that he could one day help connect underdeveloped communities to technology. However, as a volunteer and leader, he realized his true passion lay in serving his fellow global citizens’ educational and life needs, so he chose to continue his education at the Bush School.
“In addition to fueling my passion, my education at the Bush School and other professional experiences at Texas A&M have reinforced my leadership and service philosophies,” Vyas said. “In the last two years of my graduate studies, I have had an opportunity to learn from and work with some incredible individuals. Mentors, supervisors, colleagues, and students have greatly contributed to my learning and growth as a human being. I am grateful for their support, and in accepting recognitions like this, I cannot take credit alone.”
During his time at Texas A&M Vyas has chartered the Alpha Eta Chapter of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars and serves as the president. He serves as the director of the Academy for Future Faculty where he oversees the programming and administration of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) Associate certificate for all graduate and postdoctoral students at Texas A&M.
Vyas also serves as the primary advisor to the Texas A&M University Chapter of Golden Key International Honour Society. In 2016, he started a service-learning program, Brazos Valley Worldfest Ambassadors, for the Office of the Provost – Public Partnership and Outreach and severed as the founding president. Additionally, he has served in over fifteen student organizations at Texas A&M including the International Student Organization, 12th Can, Fish Camp, Camp Kesem, Aggie Muster, Aggie Replants and Aggie Orientation Leaders Program to name a few.
Vyas is also involved in the local community. Every year he organizes an award-winning cultural display booth at Brazos Valley Worldfest to promote global citizenship and celebrate diversity. He also serves as the educator for the Culture in Classroom and Senior Citizens Passport Programs offered by the Texas A&M’s Office of the Provost – Public Partnership and Outreach. Additionally, he has served as the conference presenter and facilitator for the annual Student Conference on Latinx Affairs (SCOLA).
Vyas also holds the other three highest student honors of Texas A&M University: Buck Weirus Spirit Award (highest honor bestowed on a student leader), Margaret Rudder Community Service Award (highest honor bestowed on a student for community service), and Diversity Service Award (highest honor bestowed on a student for promoting diversity and contributing to improving overall university climate). His other national and international leadership, service, and academic recognitions include US Funds for UNICEF’s Member of the Year Award, Phi Beta Delta David Merchant International Student Award for Achievement, Golden Key International Honour Society Advisor of the Year Award, Hesselbein Global Academy for Leadership and Civic Engagement Medal, 2017 National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education Student Scholar.
A scholarship is associated with this award and Vyas believes it is helping him in his career. “As far as what it will allow me to do, it is greatly contributing to my multidimensional, rigorous, and very expensive training as a future professional and public servant,” Vyas said.
This summer Vyas interned at the Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) – A private grant-making foundation that supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete postsecondary education. After graduation, he wants to pursue a PhD in education and work for the government, a nonprofit or private agency to help improve education and develop communities globally.