Hema Karunakaram (BSE EnvE ’14) has been selected as the student speaker for the 2015 Spring Engineering Commencement Ceremony.
Hema Karunakaram is from Saline, MI and graduated in December 2014 with her Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering, along with the International Minor in Engineering and a minor in Sustainable Engineering. She is a recipient of the Sidney J. and Irene Shipman scholarship and has been involved with many artistic organizations throughout her time on campus.
During her freshman year, Hema spearheaded the writing and publicity arm of the Engineering Student Government and took on leadership roles in the Indian American Student Association and Michigan Sahana, a community of Indian classical dancers and musicians. She co-founded Michigan Sahana’s That Brown Show in 2011 as a collaborative event to bring together all the South Asian performing groups on campus under one roof and continued to manage the show throughout her undergraduate career. Under her leadership, That Brown Show has grown to become one of Michigan’s largest cultural events each spring.
Since 2012, Hema has also been a regular contributor to The Michigan Daily, writing about topics ranging from honor codes and the engineering curriculum to racial identity and cultural heritage. She has spent her summers interning at Ramky, an environmental services firm in India, and at Unilever, working on sustainable supply chain practices across North America.
Currently, Hema serves as a peer advisor for the Program in Sustainable Engineering while further pursuing her passions of dance and writing. This summer, Hema will join the Blue Spark Leadership Development Program at IBM in New York, NY. She will be a part of the Watson Group, which is pioneering the field of cognitive computing through its namesake supercomputer, capable of machine learning and natural language processing.
The 2015 Spring Engineering Commencement Ceremony will be held at 2:30 pm on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in the Crisler Center.