The University of Dallas wasn’t the obvious choice for junior Computer Science Major Sriharini Hemamalini Vedula. In fact, Sriharini,who goes by “Sri”, stumbled upon the UD campus quite literally by accident. Vedula and her dad mistook UD for the University of Texas-Dallas when they travelled up from their hometown of Austin for Sri’s college visit. When Vedula found out how reputable UD was, and after she experienced UD’s friendly atmosphere, it became her new home.
Vedula’s parents immigrated to the United States from India 20 years ago, and raised her in Austin in a vibrant Indian neighborhood.
Vedula practices the Hindu religion, and hardly knew anything about Christianity before she came to UD. Everything Vedula learned in Understanding the Bible seemed novel for her.
She remembers learning about Christ’s resurrection and being completely surprised.
“I didn’t know Jesus died and then rose from the dead. I thought He just died and that was the end of the book. I found out He came back to life and I was like, ‘What is this? This is like the plot twist of the century!’ It’s great and it made me so much happier.”
What Vedula most appreciates about UD is how open-minded the students and teachers are, and how willing they are to have theological and philosophical discussions.
“I was initially really, really nervous about the religious aspect here,” Vedula said. “But everyone’s really respectful and ready to have real theological discussions. I honestly wasn’t expecting the degree to which people would be receptive to my views on religion and God. I’m really glad that I opened myself up to that and I’m glad that people have been open with me.”
Vedula continues to learn more about Hinduism while growing in her knowledge of Christianity.
Vedula misses some Indian foods and Hindu traditions while she lives at UD, including her favorite Indian dish. The dish consists of deep-fried potatoes covered in salt, chili powder, and tumeric, which Vedula characterizes as the “go-to spices in any Indian household”.
Vedula especially misses one of her favorite Hindu festivals, a ritual in which students pray to the goddess Saraswati, the patron of education and knowledge. Before each school year started, Vedula and her friends would go to the temple for this festival to pray together and then have a big party.
Vedula looks forward to where her Computer Science major will take her after UD. The fact that Computer Science is an ever-evolving field especially excites her.
“There will always be something new to learn. And I’ll never get bored because there will always be something new to do.”
But Vedula studies Computer Science more for her love of the topic than anything else.
“It’s fascinating enough that I don’t mind trying until I get some sort of answer, some sort of algorithm that works, even if it’s not efficient,” she said.