Mahesh Gowda, born in Illinois and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a second generation Asian American with parents who immigrated to the U.S. from India. He earned an associate's degree in computer programming and database management from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. He is currently pursuing a double degree program at the University of Cincinnati, in which he will earn a bachelor's degree in information technology and an MBA while minoring in Asian Studies. In addition to information technology and foreign policy, his interests include filmmaking, writing, linguistics and promoting more open access to knowledge. An advocate of multilingualism, Gowda personally focuses on learning as much Telugu, Hindustani, Kannada, Chinese and Vietnamese as possible.