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Current Scholars

Charu Balamurugan


Class of: 2025
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
School: College of Arts and Science
Major(s): Biological Sciences and Medicine, Health, & Society

Charu has always been drawn to interdisciplinary pursuits that combine art and science, tradition and innovation, unknown and familiar. Channeling the perspective that the piano had given her into imaginative music composition and arrangement, Charu began to view music as an unparalleled, individual release: a vessel for mental wellness. As a result, she founded a community organization, Music for Milestones (MFM), that combines free piano lessons and wellness activities for underserved youth. The program has received national recognition for MFM from The Washington Post and The Kelly Clarkson Show, among others. 

Moreover, Charu further delves into health equity among criminal-justice-involved populations through her service within the Dismas House of Nashville, a transitional reentry program for individuals recently released from incarceration. She is helping Dismas optimize their data collection, impact reporting, and alumni tracking, essentially aiding the organization in their transition towards a more clinically-focused mission. Charu serves, because it allows her to foster a symbiotic relationship between herself and the community around her. Ultimately, Charu is extremely grateful for the guidance of the Ingram Scholars Program at Vanderbilt University, with which she hopes to expand her knowledge of enacting tangible change along a multifaceted pre-medicine pathway.