Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Bhagirath Bhardwaj and I come from New Delhi, India. I am currently a Senior at Wentworth Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science with a concentration in Applied Mathematics. I have done two co-ops at Harvard University Information Technology. For my first co-op, I was an IT Support Analyst. For my second co-op, I was a Technical Solutions Engineer. On campus at Wentworth, I also work for the Division of Technology Services (DTS).
I am really passionate about technology and the impact it can have for the world. One of my hobby is doing financial analysis on stocks and reading more on how current events can impact the stock markets. Another huge passion of mine is for soccer. I am a huge Manchester United fan and am part of the Manchester United Fan Club here in Boston.
What got you interested in Computer Science?
I always have had a fascination with technology growing up. One of my earliest memories is when I was maybe 4 years old, I remember my mom picking me up and adjusting me on the chair in front of the computer desk so that I can use the computer. I remember logging onto the dial-up internet and waiting for it to run just to play games online.
Once I was in high school, I realized internally that computer science and applied mathematics are huge subject matter fields that I like and that they can have a tremendous impact on the world. Simply put, all you need is a laptop and access to the internet to come up with the next big thing.
Where do you see yourself 1-2 years after graduation?
In 1-2 years after graduation, I hope to see myself becoming an IT professional in the consulting world. I believe that I have the knack to work in the consulting environment being able to work on many projects and help organizations or individuals realize their goals no matter what they might be. I have identified a few industries that I am interested in. Salesforce is something I am really interested in. Fields like data science or machine learning would also be something of interest.
What advice do you have for students looking for a co-op?
I would say start applying before anyone even starts talking about co-op. If someone is talking about applying to co-op, you are already late.
In my opinion, most of your marketable skills do not come from your degree. Thousands of people graduate with a computer science degree every year. So, you have to do something that makes you different. Either work on side-projects that you are passionate in or learn different skills on the side. Contribute to open-source projects and do things you are passionate in to make yourself stand out.
For example, if you participate in Accelerate, the startup incubator at Wentworth, you stand to gain so many skills working in a team environment or even entrepreneurial skills. You do not need to start a company, but the experience you have working on a team project will go a long way. Learning about how to communicate with people and honing on those soft skills will go a long way when looking for a co-op or even a job in the future.
For students in high school that are thinking about entering the STEM / STEAM field, what advice do you have for them?
I would say that we are so lucky in today’s world to have access to the internet. You can do research on the STEM / STEAM majors that are out there and take free online courses. I know that Harvard has a free Introduction to Computer Science course out there and high school students can take it. By taking courses at colleges while in high school, you can save thousands of dollars or even graduate early. Start working on side-projects and quickly realize and work on things you are passionate in. If you like mathematics, then data science is an amazing field to get into right now. There are tons of content on YouTube and free courses online you can take. If you are doing this in high school, you are already ahead of the curve.
What extracurricular activities were you involved in at Wentworth?
I am passionate about the education and welfare of kids in the world. This is why I helped start the WIT UNICEF club. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is working for the welfare of kids. In the WIT UNICEF Club, As the Vice President, I wanted to create awareness on campus and work with local volunteering centers in the Greater Boston area.
We were able to volunteer at the Greater Boston Food Bank for example and we were also lucky enough to be awarded “The Best New Club in USA 2018” by UNICEF USA at Washington D.C. during their Annual Summit.
Be involved in extracurricular activities. They provide the opportunity to meet so many people, make new friends or find new hobbies. If you don’t see a club that you are interested in, you can start your own at Wentworth. At Wentworth, they are appreciative in helping you grow. We even have a club for Super Smash Bros. If you are a freshman and join that club, you already stand to make 15-20 friends right there sharing similar interests as you.
I see that you worked on a project called Alert Cane. Tell us more about it.
Alert Cane was a project I worked on for a class at Wentworth called Wireless Applications. The class didn’t really ask for a hardware project, but I was passionate to work on one because of the skills I have learned in the class. Professor Mira Yun is amazing by the way. She divides the whole semester for her class into two parts. The first part would involve her lecturing and teaching subject matter, and the second part is where she wants us work on your own projects and apply the concepts you have learned in the first part of the class.
For the Alert Cane project, I wanted to create a cane for people with visual difficulties and require a cane to walk. When the cane hits an object, it can give them feedback. In this class, I learned how to work with a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and many sensors. Me and my group members used Arduino, attached ultrasonic sensors providing vertical and horizontal feedback, a buzzer and a switch to create a Smart Cane of sorts. After coding it in C, we were able to create a cost effective smart cane. The cane not only provides sensory and sound feedback to a person using it for obstacles in front of it, but we were able to install a switch on it that once pressed can instantly send a Text Message to any close person with the location and Google Maps link to whenever they might be.
What is your favorite place in Boston?
I would say Newbury Street. It is a place close to Wentworth that I can go after class. There are so many cafes and so many restaurants there to chill, eat and have fun at.
If you were to invite a famous person over for dinner, who would it be?
Elon Musk is a person I would invite. His work ethic is crazy and the fact that he had phases during Tesla’s growth where he slept in the manufacturing facility instead of going home, shows his dedication!
He doesn’t have to do that, but he does it. He is a proper engineer. He loves the thrill of solving problems and all the companies he has started are more or less because he had an engineering problem in his head that he wanted to solve.
Any shout outs to friends, family, or professors?
Definitely shout out to my family for providing me with the resources and helping me reach this point in life. It’s never an easy thing for an international student coming to a new place and settling down as well as going through a rigorous course.
Shout out to my friends for being supportive and being there for me. Shout out to Wentworth for offering co-op programs that surprisingly are still not being offered by many other major universities in the United States.