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Akshay Koppula: “If you say, ‘Hey, I'm from Missouri, and I go to this school’ – not many people know unless or until they're watching football.”

Becca Newton

Akshay Koppula spoke with the Missouri on Mic team at the Diwali event on MU’s campus last November. The event was hosted by the Southeast Asian student association.

Akshay is a PhD student at the University of Missouri, and said that while he grew up in India, he now considers Columbia his second home. He spoke about how he wants people to know about the University and all it has to offer to students.

Missouri on Mic is an oral history and journalism project documenting stories from around the state in its 200th year.

Akshay Koppula: I'm a student. I'm a PhD student in Electrical Engineering. It's been great. I've been here for almost eight years, including my masters and PhD. I really like it here.

So, this event is about the Indian festival of lights called Diwali. So, the main reason why this festival is celebrated is in honor of Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana, So, this is a festival of victory.

Oh, it's been nice. It's [the celebration] definitely as similar to back home, but yeah, it's been nice. Misery has been like a second home to me. So, it feels close enough of celebrating this at home.

For me Missouri is definitely Mizzou. A lot of people don't know about Missouri. That's the problem. So, if you say, “Hey, I'm from Missouri, and I go to this school” – not many people know unless or until they're watching football.

"People don’t talk much about Mizzou’s fall colors and stuff, but for me, this is one of the prettiest places to be to watch the fall colors."
Akshay Koppula

But you know – Mizzou has been top one college for the Journalism, it ranks around 80, 85 for engineering. So, there is a lot of things that Missouri[ans] know that other people [don’t].

Mizzou is definitely welcoming, and it's not overwhelming, I would say. You wouldn't be lost. There are a whole lot of opportunities here.

So, especially when you talk about employment or funding opportunities, that’s definitely a must for any student, and yeah, definitely a lot of research opportunities. That's one of the reasons why I stayed back.

I like the program here, and I was already in touch with one of the professors, which were in in the program, and, yeah, since I was already here [for my] Masters, I didn't feel like going for another university. I just felt like continuing.

I would love to, you know, whenever I go and say “Hey, I'm from Missouri, and I did my master’s or PhD in this university”…. I feel like you know, everybody should know [about it], like all the other famous universities throughout the country.

It's a must visit place if you're a nature lover. A lot of state parks, I have been to. A few state parks here in Missouri like Ha Ha Tonka, the one that’s called Meramec Caverns. So, yeah, these kind of state parks they're really nice, calm, and, you know.

People don’t talk much about Mizzou’s fall colors and stuff, but for me, this is one of the prettiest places to be to watch the fall colors, and also the football events and whatnot – it's a college town. I

Especially in Colombia, I like few places, you know, it's like my stress buster places, like Cooper's Landing, Devil’s Ice Box, and nature, you know, nature in Missouri is really really pretty.

So, it's calming like I said, you know? Missouri is definitely not overwhelming. So, it's basically… so you can go sit somewhere isolated and find your peace. So that's one more thing I like about being in Missouri.

Katie Quinn works for Missouri Business Alert. She studied radio journalism and political science at the University of Missouri- Columbia, and previously worked at KBIA.
Becca Newton is a student reporter and producer at KBIA. They will graduate from the University of Missouri in spring 2022 with a degree in Multimedia Convergence Journalism and minors in Peace Studies and History.