- About Us
The Kevin & Indira Champions of Undergrads Fund was established by the Biochemistry and Biophysics department in honor of Drs. Kevin Ahern and Indira Rajagopal on the occasion of their retirement in December 2018. Ever since they began their teaching careers in the Oregon State Biochemistry and Biophysics department in the mid-1990s, Kevin and Indira have been highly engaged and effective champions of undergraduates as individuals who matter, and also of undergraduate education more generally. They are amazing models for what it means to be champions of undergrads, and this fund creates a legacy in their honor that will provide tangible support for our students into the future.
The Kevin & Indira Champions of Undergrads Fund provides support for undergraduate students in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, with priority given to support students who have demonstrated financial need. Recommendations for use of the fund are to be made by the department head, in conjunction with the undergraduate committee. Support for students in the department can include, but is not limited to, emergency support, undergraduate research activities, professional development opportunities (including travel related to such activities), and scholarships, which purpose is and shall be consistent with the Foundation’s policies and with its status as a tax-exempt organization. Recipients are to be selected in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures for awarding scholarships and fellowships.
The Kevin and Indira Champions of Undergrads fund has two parts to it. It has an “endowed” fund portion and a “current use” portion. For the “endowed” portion, the principal is not directly spent but is invested to support students for generations to come; the generated earnings (4% per year currently) are transferred to the “current use” portion and so they can be used for student support. For supporting the fund, you may make donations to either portion – in one case growing the principal of the endowed portion and in the other case providing funds to be fully used in the short term to support students. Both strategies are effective ways to support students in our programs. Use one of the two “donate now” buttons above to go to the OSU Foundation website and make a donation to either the “Kevin and Indira Champions of Undergrads Endowment” or “Kevin and Indira Champions of Undergrads Current Use fund.
Indira and Kevin both have taught thousands of life science majors, Indira mainly through teaching general biology and an introductory cell and molecular biology course and Kevin mainly through teaching general biochemistry courses for non-majors and making these lectures available on the web to students around the world. Both have been innovators in the classroom and in advising, have been very active in the University Honors College and have generously given their time and expertise to author quality open source Biochemistry texts that save students money. Among the many awards each has garnered, they shared the 2008 OSU President’s “Beaver Champion Award” for their outstanding contributions to OSU and its students, both have won the Fred Horne Award for Sustained Excellence in Science Teaching (Kevin in 2006 and Indira in 2017), and both have been named Eminent Professors in the Honors College (Indira in 2013 and Kevin in 2017) for their extensive contributions to the Honors College community.
Nevertheless, beyond their extensive formal contributions to Oregon State University, what has been extra-special about Indira and Kevin, and what this fund seeks to honor and perpetuate, is their unflagging caring and supportive, personal one-on-one mentoring relationships with students before, during and after their time at Oregon State. In particular, they get a ton of credit for cultivating the warm family-like culture that characterizes the Biochemistry and Biophysics undergraduate programs. Kevin and Indira are admirable models for what it means to be champions of undergrads and this fund creates a legacy in their honor that will provide tangible support for our students into the future.
For more information about Kevin Ahern and Indira Rajagopal please check out:
No funds have been available yet for use, so we are still excitedly waiting the ability to begin to use these funds to make a difference! Funds will become available when gifts (rather than pledges) to the endowment reach $50,000 or when some funds are given directly to the “current use” portion of the fund.
As a retirement gift, Indira and Kevin were presented an engraved Oregon handcrafted hardwood box (see picture) that contained cards with thanks and well-wishes from colleagues, students, alumni and friends. As a part of commemorating the legacy we wish to honor and continue with this fund, we thought it would be wonderful for both those who benefit from the fund and those who donate to the fund to be able to read some first-hand accounts of the myriad ways that Indira and/or Kevin have made a difference in students’ lives. So please, if you have the inclination, share here your story of a way that Kevin and/or Indira have impacted your life either directly or indirectly.
|Delaney Smith||"I met Kevin and Indira early in my undergraduate career, and since then they have become important mentors and friends in my life. I first interacted with Indira when I transferred into the Biochemistry and Biophysics major, and since then it has been plainly evident to me that Indira cared deeply about me as a student and as a person. As a teacher, advisor, and host of fantastic Biochemistry BBQs, Indira has always been available and willing to offer support to undergraduates. Through Indira, I also met Kevin as a scholarship advisor. I was amazed that both Kevin and Indira had such passion for helping undergraduates. Subsequently, Kevin has reviewed many of my applications, and always been willing to offer feedback and advice. Both Kevin and Indira are incredible mentors and have undoubtably improved the lives of thousands of undergradaute students. I am eternally grateful for having met them, and I am thanksful that they worked at OSU for many years. "|