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Madhav at his Hoover High School graduation, in black robes and blue striped tie.

UAB is all Madhav had known his entire life—his parents, Praveen Vayalil and Rekha Ramachandran, have both worked at UAB as far back as 2000. His brother, Hrithik Praveen, was himself a proud Blazer and graduated in 2022 with a degree in biomedical engineering. Following in his family’s footsteps, UAB was the only university Madhav applied to when it was time to choose a college. UAB, simply put, was his home away from home.

Madhav was thriving as a freshman honors student studying computer science. A proud member of Theta Chi Fraternity, Madhav was often spotted at the UAB Recreation Center weightlifting and hanging out with his friends. Boxing and jiu jitsu were his other passions. After his prolonged hospitalization in 2019, Madhav focused on building his body back into top form, and dove deeply into health and fitness, encouraging his friends to do the same.

“He was so proud of who he had become,” his mother said. “Because of COVID and being hospitalized, he missed most of his high school years. But later, he became everything he wanted to become. He built back his body, was thriving in his studies, and planning for his first spring break trip to the beach with two of his best friends.”

Madhav passed away on March 17, 2022, in an automobile accident on the way back from this trip.

“He was there for everybody when they needed it,” his mother said. “He made so many true friends, and, when he passed away, many came to me saying how he was there for them in their difficult times.

One such family friend who can attest to that is Ayona Roychowdhury, a sophomore at UAB who said she knew Madhav for so long that she can’t quite pinpoint when they met. Ayona grew up with Madhav, and their two families celebrate Thanksgivings together. She described him as very funny, athletic and compassionate, specifically remembering the kindness Madhav showed to her little brother, always playing with him and being there for him like he was his own.

“I was going through a lot in middle school,” Ayona said. “I started isolating myself. He noticed, despite being in different classes, and made sure to reach out.”

His urgency and willingness to go out of his way, even as a 12-year-old boy, just to make sure she was cared for, is something that will always stay with her.

“Through it all, he never failed to make me laugh,” she said.

Madhav was incredibly caring, his brother echoes—and often used humor as a way to connect people.

To honor this bright light lost far too soon, Madhav’s parents established the Madhav Praveen Memorial Scholarship in Computer Science, to be given to a student studying for the degree Madhav was never able to complete. They hope the scholarship will be a small help for recipients, making their lives a little bit easier. The first recipient of this need-based scholarship happens to be a brother of his own fraternity.

Madhav had dreams of becoming a cyber security specialist and opening his own firm. The excitement around this field of study made giving back to both UAB and to computer science the right fit for his family.

“Madhav worked very hard,” his parents said. “He got a full academic scholarship and was able to pay for everything by himself by working as a crew member at Chipotle. Being at UAB brought out the best in him, giving him the opportunity to not only flourish in computer science, but to become the person he always wanted to be. Having a scholarship honoring his name at UAB was the first thing that came to our minds.”


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