The Engineering Honors Academy takes pride in the energy and diversity seen in its student body, filled with passionate pupils striving to make the best of the opportunities offered to them and searching for ways to contribute to the community and make it a better place.
The enthusiasm and fascination for exploring what Rutgers has to offer are especially evident in the freshmen that make up the Honors community, with one such ever-positive and vibrant member being the multitalented and heavily involved student hailing from John P. Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey, Mukund Ramakrishnan.
While at J.P. Stevens, Mukund was greatly involved in the high school’s choir program and had significant sway with its student government. After coming to Rutgers and despite the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mukund was keen to keep up his passion for music and explore the phenomenal vocal music program offered on the banks. While still in only his second semester, Mukund is already part of the renowned Kirkpatrick Choir, an elite ensemble comprised of only fifty students and considered to be the Mason Gross school’s most advanced choir:
“I'm loving every moment singing with the Kirkpatrick Choir, learning new techniques in voice lessons, and studying music theory with professors who are mature professional musicians.”
For Mukund, choosing the Honors Academy was a given. From the memorable stories relayed to him by current Academy members who were former classmates at J.P. Stevens, to the picture painted by Dean Antoine during the Academy-exclusive prospective students' tour, Mukund saw a community that he wanted to be part of, one which thrived on a close-knit, yet diverse, atmosphere. Branching out, Mukund was sold on attending Rutgers because of the big school’s vast resources, allowing the proactive and driven students to make whatever they wanted out of their college career:
“Whether students want to go to graduate school, find a full-time job after graduation, or accomplish any other personal goals, Rutgers' strong support system will put them on the path to get them there. Knowing that I want to pursue graduate education, a large in-state research university—Rutgers—was the clear choice in terms of affordability, familiarity, proximity to my family, and opportunities to meet as many different minds as possible on my academic journey.”
While part of the Honors Academy here at Rutgers, Mukund is set on majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). For his whole life, Mukund has considered himself to be a hardware nerd, getting an “academic high” from his math and physics high school courses, so pursuing the major that he is, is really no surprise. Picking the engineering program at Rutgers was influenced by the robust selection of coursework offered in computer hardware and software, and he was especially motivated by the freedom of choice offered:
“Rutgers offered me the flexibility to study all that I wanted, rather than fully confining me into a specific major path. The fact that Rutgers allows students to remain undeclared in their choice of engineering major during their first year, coupled with the Honors Academy's in-depth immersion of its freshman students into all the different engineering pathways available, makes Rutgers an outstanding choice for students who are trying to figure out what they want to study. Dean Antoine brought in professors, alumni, and members of the industry throughout the 3-credit Honors Introduction to Engineering course, which really helped me understand what my own calling was, and helped me build a strong network of friends and mentors that I know will give me amazing advice whenever I need it.”
Mukund describes picking the Honors Academy as the best decision of his life. Despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic forcing instruction and interaction to be online, Mukund has had a wonderful time being part of the Academy community for the past few months, making some amazing friends while doing his best to get involved. What he especially appreciates from his involvement in the Honors Academy is the exposure the students get to Professors who are deeply immersed and passionate about the research that they are doing, an opportunity that he describes as truly inspiring as he sorts out what he wants to do over the next three years and beyond.
“To prospective students who are considering Rutgers, you likely live in New Jersey, and you have a few college choices in hand. Choosing Rutgers University will allow you to stay close to your family, potentially limit your student debt burden, keep in touch with friends who may also be going to Rutgers, and of course, engage with the incessantly motivating Honors Academy. I know you will love it here.”
Mukund is an Electrical and Computer Engineering student, also pursuing studies in the Mason Gross School of Arts.
He is part of the Rutgers Engineering Honors Academy Class of 2024.
Written by Irfan Peer (ENG'23). Edited by Parinita Jain (ENG'23).