Community grieves student loss
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 01:09
Yesterday marked a week since the passing of Akshay R. Venkatesh ’14, who died of an apparent suicide in his Ziv suite.
He passed away on Labor Day, four days after his 21st birthday.
According to Venkatesh’s Facebook profile, he was from New Delhi, India and attended high school at the Singapore American School. He spent this past summer interning at the Genome Institute in Singapore.
Venkatesh came to Brandeis as a motivated student. His major was Neuroscience.
According to Prof. Don Katz (PSYC), he had planned to become either a doctor or a scientist. Katz first met Venkatesh during office hours when Venkatesh was enrolled in one of his courses his first year here.
“His interactions with me were all about science and medicine … things he could do to further his plans to become a scientist or a doctor, what he should read, where he should work,” Katz said in an interview with the Justice.
On campus, Venkatesh participated in Namaskar, which holds events for the holidays of Jains and Sikhs.
Sriya Srikrishnan ’12, who was in Namaskar with Venkatesh, wrote in an email to the Justice that she remembered his intelligence.
“I have known Akshay very briefly when I had to interview him to be on the Namaskar E-board. He was definitely a very intelligent individual and showed great passion towards the culture he came from,” she wrote. “I pray for his family during this time and I am sorry for the loss.”
Isaac Rabbani ’14, who lived with Venkatesh last year on the second floor of Hassenfeld Residence Hall, remembers him as a person who was “crazy good” at the computer video game Skyrim.
“He was a very kooky guy,” he said. “He had a good sense of humor.”
Rabbani reflected on his intelligence, saying “He was really passionate about [his major].”
“I have met very few people with as much passion for what they were studying as Akshay. … Whenever we would have arguments about anything—politics, psychology, anything—any time it had to do with the brain or human emotions we would ask him because he was the last word on anything neuroscience.”
Venkatesh’s family could not be reached by press time for comment or a photo.