Indian American Becomes Youngest UC Grad in 100 Years
Washington: An 18-year-old Indian-American has become the youngest graduate topper of the prestigious University of California in more than a century.
Kolkata-born Ritankar Das, has been named as the University Medalist, the prize which is given to the year’s top graduating senior.
Das has taken just three years to complete his studies with a double major in bioengineering and chemical biology and a minor in creative writing from the University of California, Berkeley.
Further he is the first student from the College of Chemistry in 58 years and the first ever from the Department of Bioengineering to earn the honour, which includes a $2,500 scholarship.
“In my 30 years at Berkeley, I cannot think of a single undergraduate student who would match Ritankar’s accomplishments, his range of activities and projects that he initiated and currently leads, and his academic excellence,” wrote Marcin Majda, professor and undergraduate dean in the College of Chemistry, in a recommendation letter submitted to the prize committee.
On campus, he has served as an academic senator, helping manage a $1.7 billion operating budget and has taught as a graduate student instructor in the Chemistry, Biology, and African-American Studies departments.
Das started doing research at age 13 at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Since then, he has continued energy-related research projects at British-Petroleum funded EBI Institute, Berkeley Centre for Green Chemistry, US Department of Energy, and Taiwan's Academia Sinica as a Cal Energy Corps recipient.
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