Student Feature: Bhagyalakshmi Pushkaran

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m currently a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in political science and mathematics with a minor in leadership and communications through the ALEC Department! On campus, I’m involved in NHRI Leadership Mentoring and the University Honors Program, and off campus I work at Bruning Law Group as a Legislative Research Intern and work at the PPC as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. Besides all that, my favorite color is yellow, and my secret hobbies are that I’m an expert at stock trading and I’m a wannabe wedding planner!


What are you studying at the university and what are your future plans?

Currently, I’m studying American government and human rights in political science, proof theory and advanced algebra in math, and leadership development and mentorship at UNL. Definitely an unusual combination, but one worthwhile! My future plans are to attend law school and pursue a career either in public policy or law with an emphasis on education reform. I’d like to ultimately create my own non-profit aimed at making legal resources accessible for low-income and minority communities.


How will working at the PPC help you work towards your goals for the future?

The PPC has a heavy background in research – something I don’t have much experience in. Often, people don’t realize the change we see in our communities and our government comes from extensive research, whether that’s through surveys or monitoring impact. I was one of those people but working at the PPC has given me a whole new perspective on how policy is made and enacted by being able to assist in the research process and data analysis! Then, when I actually start working in the public policy sector, I understand what kind of information is necessary to provide evidence for crucial change and research methodology on how to analyze the impact of change.


What are you most excited about learning or working on?

Something I’m super excited about learning is the public education system! I really want to explore how the different aspects of the public education system – such as staffing, diversity retainment, and educational concepts – are impacted by our lawmakers’ decisions, and how public policy shapes our local and national education system.


What is something you feel passionate about?

If you couldn’t tell from my previous responses – I’m passionate about public policy! More so, I’m passionate about my community. I’ve gotten to meet some of the most incredible difference makers and experience some of the coolest things throughout my life, and I’m passionate about reinvesting everything my community has invested in me and being able to share these moments with others. Especially with public policy, I’m able to create and facilitate changes that are necessary for my community to be able to grow and succeed.


What is something that has helped make you the person you are today?

As cheesy as it sounds, my parents helped make me the person I am today. As a first-generation American and the child of immigrant parents, the sacrifices they made to allow me to be succeeding today helped more than I could ever describe. It’s because of them I was able to pursue something I’m passionate about, and it’s their support that keeps me going.