• August 3, 2020

OHS grad pursues many activities - Odessa American: Local News

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  • Traveling the World

    Teja Pamganamamula poses for a photo he took of himself in Oia on the island of Santorini in Greece during his travels. Pamganamamula writes a travel blog, when he can.

Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2020 3:00 am

Since his graduation from Odessa High School in 2009, Teja Pamganamamula has been busy. He’s administering doctors’ practices, travel blogging and doing photography.

Pamganamamula’s blogs and photos appear on the platform BoardingArea.com and have been featured in National Geographic magazine. He also has blogged about the personal impact COVID-19 has taken on him.

He also is managing editor and founder of Grab a Mile on BoardingArea.

His sister, Maanasa, also an Odessa High School IB graduate, writes some of the blog posts. She recently completed a bachelor of science degree in finance and wants to go to law school.

The son of Padma and Dr. Madhu Pamganamamula, Teja said he manages his father’s practice and two others — one in Fort Stockton and one in Atlanta. They are mainly internal medicine physicians.

Teja graduated from Odessa High School in 2009 as valedictorian and was in the International Baccalaureate program. He went to University of Texas at Austin and studied biochemistry and computer science. He finished college in three years because he had so many Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate credits.

He was going to go to medical school, but took a year in between. Teja started an electronic medical records business in India called Brainymed Inc. They found that physicians actuallywanted practice administration to manage billing, for example.

Teja credits his mother for a lot.

“She took us to piano lessons. She took me to the library. That’s when I started to read all these travel books. At the time, I didn’t really have much to do during the summers so I would spend time in the library,” Pamganamamula said.

His father became his first client. Teja said he and his cousin, Sasidhar Pamganamamula, started Brainymed right after college in 2012 and built a team in India with about 25 employees.

“My cousin and I would just go back and forth between India and here a lot a lot more back then than now. During that travel, we had weekends in between where we could build in stops in Europe. If we had mileage tickets, we would use those stopovers for a weekend or two in Europe like Switzerland, Germany, Italy that sort of thing. When we started doing that, we started loving the travel aspect of it — the photography, the travel and writing about our stories about the travel. So that’s how the travel blog started off in 2012, 2013. From there, I would say we were traveling a lot during those years and I actually didn’t have enough time to write about it,” Teja said.

In 2016, Teja said he had enough blog posts to apply to be on the BoardingArea platform. Boarding Area is a platform with a group of blogs that relate to frequent flyer miles and “travel geeks, basically,” he added.

“They get about 40,000 to 50,000 applications a year to join the platform …,” Teja said.

That same year, Teja said he went to UT Dallas and earned a master’s of business administration in innovation entrepreneurship. “Now I’m working back at the start-up and that’s where I am right now,” he added.

He took the MCAT, the entrance exam for medical school, in 2011 and said he did pretty well. But the score has expired so he has sit for it again. With the pandemic, the in-person test keeps getting postponed because the testing centers are closed.

He commutes between Odessa and Dallas, where his grandparents live.

Doctors at the time of this interview were conducting mainly telehealth visits. Teja also has written about the impact of COVID-19 on him personally on his blog.

One of his father’s employees died of COVID-19 at the age of 32. Teja said she worked in the lab.

“It was it was really sad because she was so young. It’s weird going to work not seeing someone that you know that’s not there anymore,” Teja said.

Mary Neff, who was the IB coordinator at OHS when Teja was in school, said he was in the second class of IB students so he goes back to the beginning of the program.

“He was just a very intelligent young man, kind of thoughtful. He would listen more than he spoke, which is often a good thing so he would be thinking about what he wanted to say, or thinking over what everyone else was saying before he came up with what he was thinking,” Neff said.

Trudy Lewis, who was on the International Baccalaureate faculty at OHS, said she and her family are acquainted with Teja’s family. Pamganamamula and Annie Lewis, one of Trudy and Tryon Lewis’ daughters, were in the same class at Odessa High and they both attended University of Texas at Austin.

She added that one of the times she saw Teja recently he was trying out Google Glass, a wearable computer that has a head mounted display.

“… He was my student for U.S. history and also European history, which was the Advanced Placement course, so I would see him … and occasionally keep up with him through my daughter because they both went to the University of Texas at Austin …,” Lewis said.

She said she saw him last fall at a Diwali celebration last fall at the governor’s mansion in Austin. Lewis said she and her husband, former District Judge and state representative Tryon Lewis, were honored to be invited.

“… Through my teaching and Tryon’s work in the political area, we’ve become acquaintances and friends with many of the doctors in the community and also in Andrews, so they invited us to attend as well. I saw him there and he just looked great. He’s just a wonderful young man and I was a teacher at Odessa High for many years and I just had the best and brightest there. Certainly he was one who stood out. It was a real privilege to have him as a student,” Lewis said.

She added that it seemed like Teja was always enthusiastic and positive about the things he was involved in.

“… So it’s always a pleasure to see him,” Lewis said.

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