Profiles: National Merit semifinalist attributes success to hard work

Editor’s note: This is the last in a four-part series of profiles on Bearden’s National Merit semifinalists from the class of 2014. Alison Jobe, Abby Lowe, Michelle Lames, and Vishaka Motheramgari have gone to school together since middle school, and now all four are National Merit semifinalists.

Vishaka Motheramgari seeks to help people in many ways, whether it’s pronouncing their names correctly in front of hundreds or diagnosing their illnesses.

Motheramgari, one of Bearden’s four National Merit semifinalists and an aspiring doctor, has dealt with her share of people mispronouncing her own name.

“I’ve heard so many [variations] it’s kind of funny,” she said. “And it’s always the English teachers that get it the worst, which is really funny.”

The worst incident happened at last year’s National Honor Society ceremony, in front of hundreds of peers, students, and administrators.

“They called me ‘Visnak’ at the NHS induction last year,” Motheramgari said. “Because they left out the ‘a’ and with the ‘h’ I guess I drew the stem too short so it looked like an ‘n,’ so they called me ‘Visnak.’

“That was probably the worst mispronunciation ever.”

So in addition to her skills in the classroom, Motheramgari has one attribute that raises her above the rest of her peers: a sense of justice.

“That’s why this year, I volunteered to do the names, so names wouldn’t be mispronounced,” Motheramgari said. “Because I hate it when my name is mispronounced.

“It was really hard and I was really nervous, but I was like, ‘I’m not going to mess up’ because it’s really annoying when people mess my name up.”

In the classroom, Motheramgari attributes her success not to intelligence, but work ethic.

“People assume I’m a lot smarter than I am,” Motheramgari said. “I have to work hard, but people just assume I just ‘get’ everything.

“That’s not how it works. I think I just work harder than most people, especially in a hard class because people always come to you like ‘do you know this? You’re smart’. I have to work at it just like you do.”

Besides being an exceptional student, Motheramgari participates and has participated in many clubs and extracurricular activities in and outside of school, including swimming, dancing, and plenty of volunteer work.

“I’m a big part of SGA,” she said. “SGA is a lot of volunteer work.

“SGA and Key Club are my two biggest things. I just love volunteer work. I’m in HOSA and NHS, all the regular [honors] clubs.”

Motheramgari’s greatest ambition is graduating from medical school. While most seniors and even plenty of people in college aren’t entirely sure of what to pursue, Motheramgari has had her career goal since middle school.

“I’m going on a pre-med track because I want to be a doctor,” she said.  “Kind of tossing around different ideas…just kind of deciding, but I definitely want to be a doctor.”

Her current field of interest is pathology.

“A pathologist is like the head of the lab, and they like look at all the test results and they try and figure out what’s going on,” Motheramgari said.  “[It] doesn’t involve surgery so I’m really interested in that.

“I don’t want to deal with [that much] blood. I don’t want that much responsibility. [Surgery] is too bloody.”

Motheramgari says that for her own future and those of others that commitment is the most important factor.

“Don’t give up; don’t get lazy because I found myself doing that and I had to pick myself up and just go,” Motheramgari said. “As long as you keep going, even at some level, just don’t get lazy, even at the end, you’ll be fine.

“It has to come from yourself. No one else will do it for you.”