ASU grad aims to be a positive force as a politician in India
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2020 graduates.
How many people can say they’re part artist, part engineer and part advocate — and that they excel at all of them?
Venu Gopinath Nukavarapu, originally from Guntur, India, is all of this and more. He’s also about to graduate from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering with his Master of Science in computer engineering.
A multitalented man, Nukavarapu spent his time at ASU as a part of the Coalition of International Students, Indian Students Association, Japanese Students Association and the Leadership Society of Arizona. He also volunteered with Changemaker Central @ASU, Future for Kids, Start-Up Grind and the Scottsdale Art Museum.
Along with being an active member of many groups around town and on campus, Nukavarapu also worked for ASU Student Life and says that because of this job, he was able to pursue his passion: photography.
“The best part is that I get to travel a lot. I have explored all four ASU campuses for different photoshoots, met different people and participated in various cultural and extracurricular activities. I also want to give Hannah [Moulton Belec] a shout-out for making my Student Life experience seamless and fun and for being the best supervisor.”
Nukavarapu says that for all these reasons and more, he loved his time at ASU.
“ASU gave me an opportunity to meet many different people, which changed my thought process and helped me be more open-minded, inclusive and organized. The one thing that I feel very proud of is that I am graduating as a better person, a better manager and all the memories that I have had for the past two years.”
After graduation. Nukavarapu plans to work for at least three years before he pursues his MBA. As for his long-term goals, Nukavarapu says he wants to be a politician back in India.
“I believe someone has to change the outlying fundamentals rooted deep and are way too far from reality,” he said.
Nukavarapu talked with ASU Now about his time at ASU, advice he would like to give current students, what he learned as an international student and more.
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: My “aha” moment was when I received the admission letter to pursue a master's in computer engineering, which I was passionate about. I felt happy.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?
A: Startups and entrepreneurship have always been my core interests. I have attended multiple entrepreneurship sessions with Dr. Brent Sebold. We had a lot of conversations about lean startups and how startups function. He definitely added a different perspective on being an entrepreneur.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: One of the primary reasons behind choosing ASU is that ASU is international student-friendly. I had friends who completed their master's program at ASU and gave me pretty good feedback about how the colleges are, the resources and the opportunities we have as master’s students and the opportunities we have once we graduate.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: Dr. Stephanie Gil taught me about robotics and the core research going on in the field of multirobot systems. It was rigorous. She made us read a lot of research papers for her classes. It was the first time I had to go through research papers, and that helped me learn a lot about reading research papers, which is a valuable asset.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: Most people fail to understand the big picture of life. The best advice I would give to someone still in school is to figure out what they want to be, not just about right now but down the lane five to 10 years, and start laying those foundational steps from where they are right now.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: My favorite spot on campus is the Hayden Library. Whenever I had some spare time or if I had to get through some homework or reading, I’d get an iced coffee from Starbucks and just head over to Hayden. I just feel more productive and relaxed at Hayden.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I plan to work for at least three years before I get into a business school for an MBA. (He is starting by working as a product manager for a local startup.)
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I believe that we can only make the world a better place to live rather than changing the world to something that it is not. I also believe access to good education will be a fundamental pillar that can make the world a better place. I would want every person on this planet to have access to quality education. That would be the motto.
Written by Austin Davis, ASU Student Life