The University of Arizona

Interview with Ajit Divakaruni

Ambassador Program - Ajit Divakaruni, Class of 2006

Senior, Mathematics and Biochemistry

"(The UA) offered me an individualized, interdisciplinary curriculum that I feel rivals that of any institution in America. I am able to work with a faculty mentor in developing a mathematical model of tumor metabolism."

Why did you choose to attend the University of Arizona?

The University of Arizona College of Science and Honors College offered me an individualized, interdisciplinary curriculum that I feel rivals that of any institution in America for an undergraduate. Here I was able to discover my inherent passion for scientific inquiry. Thanks to faculty willing to bend over backwards to accommodate students, I was given the freedom and opportunity to explore and cultivate my interest thoroughly, rather than be just another student lost among the herd. The focus on undergraduate research, world-class faculty, unparalleled climate and down-to-earth student body made attending the University of Arizona a tremendously easy decision. Plus, the basketball games are more fun than you'd ever believe.

Describe your research and/or your favorite extra curricular activity.

Thanks to the commitment to undergraduate research within the College of Science, I was given tremendous freedom in pursuing a research project of my choice. I am able to work with a faculty mentor in developing a mathematical model of tumor metabolism, a project that incorporates both mathematics and biochemistry that I was able to build from the ground up. Furthermore, I am currently assisting high school math teachers working through a College of Science fellowship, which places me in the classroom twice a week. This experience has not only solidified my love of the subjects, but also inspires me to continue to make a difference in public education and research in the future.

What are your career goals?

My favorite thing about attending school at the U of A is that it has opened my mind to so many possibilities I never before know were available to me. I originally came to school with a programmed idea of what my career goals were, but this was soon erased when I discovered the breadth of possibilities available. I love studying mathematics and biochemistry and would love to someday do research and teach in these fields. At the moment, though, I am thoroughly enjoying learning as much as I can and exploring everything else these fields have to offer. Life as an undergrad here is great; I only wish it lasted longer. Bear Down Arizona!

Honors, Awards, and Scholarships

  1. National Merit Commended Scholar (2001)
  2. Flinn Scholar – Class of 2001
  3. University of Arizona Spirit of Discovery and Provost Scholarships
  4. CATTS Fellowship (Collaboration to Advance Teaching Technology and Science)
  5. Mathematics tutor, Ha:san, a Tohono O'odham Charter High School
  6. Excellence Award in Biological Sciences (2002–2003, 2003–2004)
  7. College of Science Galileo Circle Scholarship (Spring 2004)
  8. UA Science Ambassador (2003–present)

Academic Achievements

  1. Dean's List with Distinction honors (2001–2002, 2002–2003)

Clubs/Volunteer Activities

  1. Mathematics Tutor – Rincon High School, Tucson AZ (2002–2003)
  2. Volunteer – Spitalul Clinic de Copii (Children's Hospital) in Oradea, Romania. (June–July 2002)
  3. Volunteer – Centru de Minor (Minor's Center) in Oradea, Romania (July 2002)
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