Riyana Chawla has always had a passion for social justice and activism.
In high school, she figured this passion would lead her down the pre-med route, particularly given her interest in helping populations that face health disparities.
But then she got involved with a business club and recognized that business can be applicable across any field and that every industry needs marketing.
“With business, I realized that I could tailor my career to my interests, which have always lain within activism and advocating for other people,” Riyana says. “I knew that I could still make a difference while gaining those essential business skills.”
She’s pairing her marketing degree with a certificate in global health—the perfect blend of her interests, skills, and passions.
“Marketing has given me an analytical and creative background, and through global health I’m able to delve more into public policy, environmentalism, maternal mortality, and all those kinds of things that I’ve always had a passion for.”
She’s already put her learning to work during an internship at United Healthcare. She also participated in a short-term study abroad program to Costa Rica where she interacted with small business owners and farmers as part of her global health curriculum.
Not one to limit herself, Riyana applies her leadership and artistic talents as captain of Wisconsin’s School of Bhangra, a folk Indian dance team that competes nationally. She is also a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultant at the Wisconsin School of Business, a student position that develops DEI programming and works toward making WSB a more inclusive place.
“When I was looking for jobs on campus, this one really stuck out to me as an opportunity to make the business school more inclusive,” says Riyana. “Being able to have workshops, events, and places for different students to come in and connect with other people has been amazing. It’s been really rewarding to see the culture changing.”
Riyana cites integrity as her primary value, something she learned from her parents—both immigrants who set an example of honesty and hard work for Riyana and her older sister.
The sisters, each pursuing careers in health care, share a common aspiration: to one day open a women’s clinic to improve maternal health outcomes.
“The ultimate goal would be starting a women’s clinic and just giving back to the community and helping people as much as I can.”
What are you listening to?
Beyoncé's new album has been on repeat since it came out.
What is your favorite place on campus?
The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery—it has trees inside and it's my favorite study spot.