Gouthami Gadamsetty hated her name.
No one could pronounce it, and a gym coach in sixth grade recommended she just go by “Gigi.”
“Gigi” followed her until she came to UF. She decided to reclaim a name she had heard only at home.
“People said, ‘Your name is really pretty. Why don’t you go by that more often?’” said Gadamsetty, a 20-year-old UF industrial and systems engineering junior.
Thus, Gouthami Gadamsetty was reborn.
Gadamsetty is the president of the UF Engineering Leadership Circle and an ambassador of the Involvement Team, a consultation service to connect students with extracurricular activities. She has also performed in two UF Indian dance teams.
Joining Student Government was natural for Gadamsetty, even though Indian stereotypes confined her to classroom achievements.
“It gives me pride to break expectations,” Gadamsetty said.
Gadamsetty said she’s spent her life balancing cultures. Her parents, Vani and Chandra, emigrated from India to Canada. They later moved to Michigan, where she was born.
Gadamsetty said she was proud of how she was raised, though her parents were relatively strict. She said they’ve worked hard to make a life for themselves.
She began taking traditional Indian dance classes in the Bharatanatyam style when she was 3 years old.
While most of her family was thousands of miles away, Gadamsetty would dance with her cousin, Sahana Kamisetty.
“Dance is all about cooperation with other people,” said Kamisetty, a 21-year-old University of Miami neuroscience senior.
Kamisetty said Gadamsetty’s dance background influenced her leadership style to learn to share the stage with everyone.
Vibhor Nayar’s favorite memory of Gadamsetty was UF’s Holi in Spring 2017. As director, Nayar watched Gadamsetty volunteer with the event, throw colored powder with her friends and then thank all the directors.
“She’s not the type of person who runs through the motions,” said the 24-year-old UF mechanical engineering senior.
Gadamsetty used to hate her name, but she looks forward to when it’s called as the first Indian American Student Body vice president.
Correction: The article was updated to reflect that Gouthami Gadamsetty was born in Michigan. The Alligator previously reported differently.