Gephardt News

Q & A with Dr. Shruti Desai

Our Associate Director and Chief of Staff, Dr. Shruti Desai, is making exciting leaps and transitioning to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Campus Life at Duke University! Here, Shruti reflects on her time at the Gephardt Institute and offers advice for the next leader to fill her (big!) shoes.

What is a favorite memory of yours from your time with the Gephardt Institute?

My favorite memory—that’s tough! It is probably Election Day. We laughed, we hoped, we worked hard, and our team was united. We helped each other literally and figuratively carry the heavy pieces, and when we went home, we knew we had made a difference in the lives of our students and our democracy.

You returned to Washington University to join the Gephardt Institute after previously serving as an Associate Director in Student Affairs from 2011 to 2016. What makes Washington University unique in your experience?

The people here are amongst the finest. The faculty and staff are brilliant and innovative. The students inspire me to make the world a better place. There is a clear commitment to St. Louis and moving towards equity. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind place.

What will you miss most about the Gephardt Institute?

This team is by far the most intelligent, humble, and equity-minded group of individuals I have ever had the privilege to work alongside. I also have a deep love for St. Louis, and investing in this city in impactful ways has truly been life-giving.

What advice would you share with the person who follows in your footsteps?

Create your own footsteps. Ask questions. Be patient as buy-in is important, and don’t forget to have fun!