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Siddharth Jayaraman running for Texas A&M University.
Siddharth Jayaraman is not only a chemical engineering undergraduate student but also a member of the men’s track and field team at Texas A&M. He has been added to the Spring 2023 SEC Academic Honor Roll. | Image: Courtesy of Siddharth Jayaraman

College is a time for many students to find themselves, their interests and futures. It’s also a time when they’re pulled in multiple directions. Just ask chemical engineering undergraduate student and men’s track and field athlete Siddharth Jayaraman.

Despite challenges, long nights and grueling study sessions, Siddharth Jayaraman has been named to the Spring 2023 SEC Academic Honor Roll.

“This major is pretty difficult as it is, and being an athlete is also, so doing both, as you can imagine, is pretty tough,” Siddharth Jayaraman said. “But I love both of them, so I just try my best to manage my time, and it's good to see that the hard work has paid off.”

Juggling both school and running has become a full-time job for Siddharth Jayaraman since he started Texas A&M University in 2020; however, nothing compared to this past year, he said.

“This is an honor because this was definitely the most challenging year,” Siddharth Jayaraman said. “It was a big adjustment. Balancing classes became so much more difficult, and the volume of workouts from week to week was definitely challenging.”

From a young age, Siddharth Jayaraman knew he would be a chemical engineer. He was influenced by his father, Dr. Arul Jayaraman, professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering and executive associate dean of the College of Engineering at Texas A&M.

“I was exposed to the department at a younger age. I always liked chemistry and was decent at math, and I figured that this would be a good career path,” Siddharth Jayaraman said. “I also wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps, and that’s what initially drew me into chemical engineering.”

As Siddharth Jayaraman got older, he found a love of running in eighth grade when his gym coach encouraged him to try out for the cross-country team.

“I definitely knew from a younger age that I wanted to be a chemical engineer; that came first because I didn't know where running would take me,” Siddharth Jayaraman said. “I was lucky that my coaches in high school had run at the college level, so they knew what it took to be a student-athlete. I also had some older teammates who were mentors who both ended up running at Texas A&M and had tremendous success. Once I saw that, I wanted it for myself as well.”

Despite Siddharth Jayaraman's passion for chemical engineering and running, Arul said he was nervous during his son’s freshman year because of how tough chemical engineering is.

“I was concerned if he could do the required work and, more importantly, maintain a good work-life-athlete balance,” Arul Jayaraman said. “Over the past three years, I have observed him develop into a stronger and confident individual. He has learned to take disappointment (both in academics and athletics) in his stride but, more importantly, learn from it. I think being part of the Texas A&M track and cross country team is a great learning experience.”

It all comes down to discipline, time-efficient strategies and knowing what needs to be done, which Siddharth does, Arul Jayaraman said. One of the challenges Siddharth faces being a student-athlete is when tests and track meets land on the same day.

“Tests have a funny way of lining up right with my meets,” Siddharth Jayaraman said. “There was a time I think where I had a meet and I had to make up four tests the next week. Sometimes the timing doesn't work great and I'll have two classes have an exam in the same week with training, and it's hard to pay attention.”

A typical day for Siddharth Jayaraman consists of getting up at 5 a.m. for practice, followed by breakfast and focusing on classes and homework the rest of the day before afternoon practice. He researches with Dr. Manish Shetty, assistant professor in the chemical engineering department. Siddharth hopes to continue to grow and do research under his guidance. He also has about two more years of running eligibility and hopes to use those years to help get his team to nationals.

Although Siddharth Jayaraman is not sure what his future career will look like, he plans on getting his Master of Science in chemical engineering after graduating with his bachelor’s degree in the next year.

“I am quite proud of this recognition for Siddharth,” Arul Jayaraman said. “To say he is a chip off the old block does not do him justice as his major, the 15-20 hours of work he needs to put in per week for training, and his master’s research clearly surpasses my abilities. As I frequently tell him, he is doing something that I can only dream of.”