When Mounika Parimi ’14 started at the University of Redlands, she knew that she wanted to study music and biology, participate in clubs and organizations, and go abroad to Salzburg. She’s leaving having done all that and more.
“All of the tools and all of the opportunities that I have gotten the chance to receive here have made me appreciate the things that I have right now,” she said. “I couldn’t even imagine this would be me 10 years ago.”
Parimi moved to California from India when she was 14, eventually settling in Redlands. She knew she wanted to stay in the area for college. “I didn’t want another big transition, and Redlands was a really cool choice because at that point I was really considering doing something with music, but didn’t want that to be my only option,” she said.
With the encouragement of professors in both departments, Parimi was able to do a double major in music and biology.
“Having a double major was really hard, and I got a lot of ‘you’re probably going to switch to a minor,’” she said. “I knew I didn’t want to do that. If it’s something you enjoy putting your time into, it doesn’t seem like a chore. Nothing about it felt like I was working too hard at it."
For two summers, Parimi worked on a Summer Science Research Program project that involved conducting developmental biology research with biology professor Dr. Caryl Forristall.
“I learned so many techniques,” she said. “We worked with frog embryos, and it was very delicate work. We were able to present research to other students and faculty members, and give poster presentations. This is exactly what a scientist would do, so that was very cool to experience that.”
Over at the School of Music, Parimi was involved in both chamber choirs. Last year, she was part of the group of Redlands students that performed at Carnegie Hall.
“That was a glorious experience, standing on that stage,” she said. “I was in the perfect spot; I could hear everything and see the entire hall. Just being in the presence of the soloists was amazing, and seeing the joy on Dr. [Joe] Modica’s face as he conducted.”
During the spring of her junior year, Parimi was able to spend the semester in Salzburg. Her journey included trips to 11 countries and intense studying of music, art, and the German language.
“While I was in Salzburg, I fell in love with German,” she said. “I took it before I went, and realized I had a natural inclination to learn the German language. When I went abroad I practiced German every opportunity I could.”
Her time on campus was filled with commitments to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Maroon and Grey Student Ambassadors.
“Maroon and Grey was just a really good opportunity for me to meet so many amazing alumni,” she said. “I loved hearing their stories about when they were in college, what they did, what it was like, and how far they’ve come. I like to talk about Feast of Lights or Salzburg with alumni, which I relate to so much. They are different yet similar to my own stories.”
Parimi plans to take a year off and then apply for a Fulbright to Germany. Eventually, she wants to do mission work, enter medical school and work for an organization like Doctors Without Borders.
“I think that’s something I will thrive in,” she said. “Doing so on an international level, especially in third world countries, is my passion.”
Before she makes her mark on the world, Parimi has one more thing to do in Redlands: perform at the College of Arts & Sciences Commencement. Parimi will sing and Hannah Lim ’14, will provide piano accompaniment.
“Hannah is my best friend, and we are so excited,” she said. “It’s great we can do this together.”
Written by: Catherine Garcia