First-Generation American Speaking at UK Commencement

May 7, 2014

Thousands of students graduate from UK this weekend.  Reporter Chase Cavanaugh talks with a commencement speaker with interesting origins.   

Pooja Reddy is a senior from Glasgow, Kentucky, and one of UK’s two commencement speakers.  A first-generation-American, her family hails from Hyderabad, India, and came to America through her father’s career as a physician.

“He thought America would be a new adventure for him to undertake and he wanted a greater future for his children, so we ended up in America.  I believe he practices rural medicine, so that’s how we ended up in south-central Kentucky," she said.

At UK, Reddy majored in psychology, but found her niche in public affairs.  She worked for the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative in Geneva, as well as interning under US. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) through the “Wildcats in Washington” scholarship.  Following graduation, she hopes to make use of her unique background.

“My long term goals align with helping the US and India, which are both really dear to my heart, and aligning both of their interests, using my unique status as a first generation American, holding American citizenship, but having Indian blood and roots.” she remarked.

In her commencement address, she will tell her fellow students not to take their education for granted, as well as encouraging them to go out and make a difference. 

"We have the highest rates of educated people, so if we go out into the world and really believe we can make a change, then that’s possible," she said.

Pooja Reddy will graduate Cum Laude with a major in psychology and minors in political science and public policy.  She will speak at the 6PM commencement ceremony on Saturday.