Piragash Swargaloganathan - Former Corpsman, Future Doctor


Originally from Sri Lanka, Piragash grew up under siege during that nation's civil war.  In his own words, “Civil war led me to recognize the fragile nature of our bodies and immense resilience of our minds.”  After emigrating to the United States, he enlisted in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman and served four years in the Cardiac Trauma unit at Walter Reed Medical Center.  He spent a year at community college before matriculating at Cornell in 2016.  Besides his major studies at Cornell, Piragash is active on campus and in the Ithaca community.  He supports developmental psychology research in Professor Gary Evans' and Professor Barbara Strupp's labs; he volunteers with the Ithaca Youth Bureau, Cornell Undergraduate Veterans Association, and Ivy League Veterans Council; and he is also pursuing minors in Gerontology, South Asian Studies, and Southeast Asian Studies.

After graduation, Piragash plans to work in medical administration while applying to medical school, and his long term goal is to shape the medical profession as an academic physician and medical school instructor.  Piragash's grant allowed him to purchase MCAT preparation materials from the Association of American Medical Colleges and dedicate time to preparing for the MCAT.  He also spent time working in Professor Evans' lab.  He took the MCAT this September, earning an overall score on par with most matriculating medical students and exemplary subsection scores in Chemistry and Biology.


Piragash attended the Leadership Institute of Student Veterans of America in September 2018.