Georgia Gwinnett College student honored at Academic Recognition Day

Pic of Naiya Patel

Naiya Patel 

By Collin Elder

Georgia Gwinnett College student Naiya Patel, 21, of Lilburn was recognized by the University System of Georgia’s (USG) Board of Regents at its Academic Recognition Day event on Feb. 8. During the annual event, students are recognized from each of the system’s 26 public colleges and universities. Students selected for this honor retain a high GPA, strive for academic excellence and demonstrate the ability to share expert knowledge in various areas.

Patel is a senior biology major set to graduate in May of 2022, just three short years after she enrolled at GGC. 

“I took the maximum credits I could each semester and took a full summer load,” she said.

Patel seeks to enter medical school with a dream of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon, focusing on the heart. 

Her interest in medicine stems from her childhood, when she lived with her family in their native India. When Patel was in grade school, her family moved briefly to the U.S. and then back to the Indian city of Vadodara. There, she watched as her maternal grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and her paternal grandfather would suffer from collapsing spells. 

At the time, doctors in that region were a scarce resource. Her paternal grandfather’s condition was only diagnosed thanks to a chance meeting with one of those doctors, who, after watching her grandfather collapse, recognized the signs of a malfunctioning pacemaker and helped remedy the situation.

Patel’s family moved back to U.S. as she was researching colleges. She selected GGC because of its small class sizes and the school’s strong sense of community. 

“I feel if I went to a really big institution, I wouldn’t be able to network and make those connections,” Patel said. “The professors and staff are just really nice and you can talk to them about anything. Because the class sizes are small, it’s easier to get where you want and succeed at school.”

Patel worked hard to integrate herself into campus life. She joined the school’s Honors Program and became active in GGC’s local chapter of the American Chemical Society. Consistent with GGC’s pillar of service, Patel served in the Student Government Association (SGA) and moved up the ranks to the position of SGA president for 2021-22.

Although Patel is a high achiever, she’s also humble. 

“It was a surprise when I got the email,” she said of being selected for Academic Recognition Day. “But I was really proud that I got the opportunity to represent GGC."

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