This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.
Trying new things has been a driving force for Gayatri Balasubramanian ’21 throughout her four years at Harvard.
Growing up in central Indiana, Balasubramanian focused on academics and music, but when she came to Harvard, she knew she wanted to experience new challenges. The first new venture she embarked upon was walking on the varsity sailing team.
“My mom mentioned in passing that it would be cool if I learned how to sail. I surprised her by taking her up on that seriously,” she said.
After receiving a welcome email from the varsity team’s first-year captains, Balasubramanian realized that she had to set new goals. She recalled going to the gym every day the summer before freshman year, lifting dumbbells.
“I was trying to prepare as best as I could,” she said.
As if learning the ropes of a new sport wasn’t enough of a challenge for the first-year College student, Balasubramanian also joined Army ROTC after arriving on campus.
“I would do both physical training and lift workouts in the morning, literally changing and running from one to the other,” she said. “I knew that if I kept trying and working hard, I could excel in both.”
Sailing may have been a newfound passion, but Balasubramanian’s interest in the Army was kindled in high school. She held back from the school’s Junior ROTC program because it did not seem to be the right fit. But, when she joined Harvard’s ROTC, she was pleasantly surprised to meet cadets from diverse backgrounds.
“The opportunity to study computer science and government — at Harvard — and get on track to become an Army Officer was an opportunity I could not pass up,” she said.