Vikram Ramanathan

I spent the majority of my childhood in India. My richest memories come from my time there. It’s genuinely difficult to translate all of those memories into a written or spoken language. So instead of compressing my richest memories down to unsatisfactory descriptions of relevant sensory inputs, emotions and thoughts, only for the reader to unzip them using an entirely different repository of experiences and knowledge, I decided long ago to simply not do it. Now, I tell my story differently. I grew up in a bustling environment. Excited by the sheer amount of options I had, I did everything. I had to play at least an hour of cricket with my apartment buddies after school. I had badminton training all 7 days of the week. I spent 4 years learning abacus and competing in abacus competitions. School was a whole other story. Torturous examinations throughout the year, making project booklets for “internal” marks, trying to find any excuse to play football (the soccer one), and as we became seniors, hosting school events. The list goes on (even includes going to a drama school at some point). With everything I was involved in, I soon came to realize that I drive my passions as much as they drive me. I couldn’t just be passionate. I had to stay passionate. If I never tested the limit to which I was willing to challenge myself to pursue my passions, these passions gradually loose their fire and nothing comes of them. I grew up around many different cultures. It’s well known that India is one of the world’s most diverse countries. Fortunately for me, the city I lived in, Bangalore, is India’s melting pot. My closest friends were from entirely different parts in India. In fact, even my family isn’t originally from Bangalore. There was so much to learn about India’s different festivals, customs and native languages in my city itself. Living at the intersection of several cultures did much more than simply “open my eyes”. It taught me another lesson – compromise implies a mutual understanding to progress not regress. This simple and seemingly obvious lesson was of tremendous help when I moved to Austin. The world is much more fascinating than you think. In an effort to keep ourselves organized, we categorize and generalize – two primal actions dedicated towards handling “the uncertainty of the unfamiliar”. While they keep us alive (quite literally), they take their toll on how we perceive the world. We obviously can’t experience everything, so we make assumptions or make others’ opinions our own. If “your world” is defined as how you perceive the world, for as long as you live, you must see the world through the filter between “your world” and the world as a whole. If you are able to understand”your world” and thereby, the afore mentioned intricate filter, you would be able to see the world with greater clarity and consequently, find meaning in the many lessons the world has to offer. Everything I learnt through my childhood in India made it clear to me that if I had a singular goal, it would be to truly understand “my world” and the filter which lies behind it. Originality, creativity and eventually, innovation are all rooted in this single but challenging task.

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Other Academic Interests: Robotics Certification

Extracurricular Activities:
Building-Wide Intelligence Project [PRESENT]

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?

Forty Acres Scholars Program is University of Texas at Austin’s free all you- can-eat buffet. If you are like me and know anything about all-you-can-eat buffets, the fact that it’s free encourages you to attend it but, once you are there, you don’t think about how much you are saving for the food you eat. You think about what you want to eat and if there is any limit to how much you can possibly eat. Similarly, we barely think about the funding we receive because we are simply overwhelmed by the amount of opportunities the program opens to us. By giving us access to a large alumni network, we are given the chance to learn from experienced and accomplished individuals in their respective fields. By funding our experiences abroad, we are encouraged to have rich and unique experiences in places typically out of our comfort zone. By bringing together an amazingly helpful and loving staff as well as some of the smartest and most creative students from across the US.