Junior premier recipient credits award to advisors

Chandler Wright

Koushik Kasanagottu, the 2013 William P. Bloom Award recipient, knows how to make his visions a reality. The junior majoring in biology has devoted much of his time at The University of Alabama to diabetes prevention education as the founder and president of the Diabetes Education Team.

“I often run into students who are so overwhelmed with trying to do well in their classes and schoolwork, that they have a hard time managing and developing other skills that are just as important for their future career choices,” Pamela Payne-Foster, Kasanagottu’s mentor and faculty in the College of Community Health Sciences, said. “Koushik seems to have learned how to delegate to others as well as provide vision when needed to make Project DIET work. I have seen the constant work, commitment and vision that he has put in to start an organization from scratch and make it grow and flourish.”

According to the premier awards website, students are chosen for the Bloom Award primarily for improving, understanding and supporting interaction among groups for a common cause. Kasanagottu dedicated his award to the advisors who have helped guide him throughout his time at the Capstone.

“[The award] is a testament to the work my colleagues and I have done together to better the campus and community. Furthermore, this award is dedicated to my wonderful advisors and mentors that I have had over the past three years,” Kasanagottu said. “These advisors include, but not limited to Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, Dr. Rebecca Kelly, and Dr. Janis O’Donnell. They have helped foster my ideas and inspired me to achieve my goals.”

Kasanagottu said the Diabetes Prevention Team’s purpose is to decrease the percentage of diabetics in under-served counties in Alabama though health education sessions specifically dealing with nutrition, exercise, stress management and medication. This year, the team hosted the on campus events related to the First Annual World Diabetes Day.

“We held a community-wide diabetes awareness campaign which culminated in an event on the campus Quad,” Kasanagottu said. “It was very exciting to bring different campus and community groups together for a single event in an effort to raise awareness for Diabetes. Diabetes is a preventable disorder and I think we relayed that message effectively on that day.”

Payne-Foster said Kasanagottu’s ability to listen and incorporate his colleagues ideas into the real-life implementation of the goals of the Diabetes Education Team set him apart from his peers.

“One of Koushik’s strongest qualities is listening,” Payne-Foster said. “I get the impression that he actually listens to me and other advisors as well as his fellow Project DIET student partners because he often incorporates our ideas into planning and implementation of the project. Therefore, everyone is fully engaged in making Project DIET work effectively.”

As a recipient of the Bloom Award, Kasanagottu will receive $2500.