Neelesh Mutyala, the newest member of the UH System Board of Regents, is already making history. At 20 years old, he’s the youngest student regent to serve the UH System and the first from the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
The Sugar Land junior is majoring in honors biomedical sciences with a minor in education. Mutyala heads up the Ben Taub Critical Care Initiative, a program that gives biomedical students the opportunity to volunteer at the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Ben Taub Hospital.
He relaxes by heading to the range with the Houston Archery Club or throwing his line in the water with the Interscholastic Fishing League, both of which are UH student organizations.
What would you like to do for a career?
My first goal is to be a physician and serve in one of the reserve branches of the armed forces. Eventually, I would like to be a professor of medicine. My minor in education has taught me to really love and appreciate the art of teaching.
What experience do you bring to the UH System Board of Regents?
I’ve done research internships at the Mayo Clinic, Rice University, Texas Heart Institute and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center that taught me about cardiology, bioengineering and improving the patient experience. All of those, while they may seem very different, have given me a good sense of interpreting data and doing things systematically.
What example would you like to set for your classmates?
I want people to see that if you put in a lot of hard work and do your best, success will come. My hope is to represent students and what they want, and to keep the Board cognizant of the students’ needs, challenges and ideas.
How are you going to hear what students are saying?
It’s important for any student regent to step out of the bubble and know what’s going on—not just at every college but the entire UH System. Part of my plan is to attend Student Government Association meetings and various organizations on campus. I really want to just talk with people.
What is your proudest moment as a UH student?
When I got to attend the UH football season opener against the University of Oklahoma in 2016 at NRG Stadium. The moment that stood out to me was during the third quarter: with 8:48 left on the clock, OU made a field goal attempt and missed. That’s when a UH player caught the ball and ran it back across the field for a kick-six. It was amazing.
The Texas Governor chooses a student regent every year. It must be a great feeling to have been appointed.
When the Governor appointed me as student regent, many people reached out to say “congratulations.” But honestly, I would like people to wait until the end of my term (May 31, 2018) to see what I’ve done in this role and evaluate it for then—before they say “congratulations.”