On May 6, 2023, Eastern alumna Aishwarya Thatikonda was one of eight victims in the Allen, Texas mass shooting.
Thatikonda, 26, had touched the lives of many at EMU while receiving her master’s degree in construction management. To honor her death the Construction Management Alumni Chapter has created an endowed scholarship in her name.
Melanie Meyers, the president of the EMU Construction Management Alumni Chapter, emphasized how she, along with other alumni and board members, wanted to recognize one of their own.
“Even though we all graduated and we moved on and we are doing other things, being a community means we take care of each other,” Meyers said. “The fact was that she was a student in the program we wanted to honor her by doing that.”
The scholarship itself was kickstarted by an anonymous donor stating they would match up to $25,000 in donations, but according to Meyers, the support did not stop there.
“We are pleased that someone came forward so quickly to get the ball rolling. I do understand from last week that GameAbove actually decided to match the $25,000 that was already there,” Meyers said. “We're completely surprised and humbled and feel really great that they were thinking the same way. It exudes the same thing that we are a community and we are a family.”
Dr. Benedict Ilozor, a full-time professor in the construction management program, first met Thatikonda in the summer of 2019 in his LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations course. Dr. Ilozor described Thatikonda as ambitious and promising, but her death was unbelievable.
“It was really sad but initially I was in denial,” Dr. Ilozor said. “There was no way that this madness going on was so close to home, it took me a while to accept that she was the one.”
Dr. Ilozor applauds the alumni of this program as some of the very best. He does not remember a time during his tenure at EMU when the alumni were not involved and engaged. He along with others hopes this scholarship will be an “indication of a lasting remembrance of her.”
“ We do not wish for it to happen the way it did but let this tragedy lead to more opportunities and more awareness for other students of Eastern, their relatives and friends across the country to bring a benefit out of this. Let that exposure happen as the result of us mourning the loss of Aish,” Dr.Ilozor said.
The scholarship will be available to international students within the construction management program. This scholarship will not be based on needs or academics, but simply to honor Thatikonda.
“Everyone realizes and recognizes that we are in a very strange time now where there's a lot of violence towards people just living their lives. Even though we didn't know her as a student, we know she was out with her friend and was trying to live her life and was cut short, because of someone else's actions,” Meyers said. “We just want people to know her legacy."
To donate to Aishwarya’s scholarship go to this link or use the following QR code. If you would prefer to mail a check instead the check may be sent to:
Eastern Michigan University Foundation
P.O. Box 972057
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Include a notation on the check that it is for the “Aishwarya Reddy Thatikonda Construction Management Scholarship” fund.