Why one information technology student decided to call UC home

Take a look at Dev Agrawal’s resume and it’s hard to say who has gained more from his presence at UC. Is it the student, who has mined every golden nugget of opportunity that he has found on campus? Or is it UC, which has plumbed his expansive and growing information technology expertise in everything from research projects to software development to hackathons? 

Let’s call it a draw—a match made in academic heaven. And it’s one that might not have happened.

Dev Agrawal

Dev Agrawal, CECH '23. Photo/provided.

Agrawal comes from an area in northern India that sees few high school graduates leave the country for study abroad. “The concept of going abroad was virtually nonexistent in the Varanasi, the city I grew up in,” he says. “It was actually looked down upon. Going abroad implies that you were not competent enough to study in the universities in India. One of the stereotypes is that you’re very rich or I have a lot of money to burn to go abroad.”

His family, he says, was not very rich. But he was smart and brimming with potential. A high school teacher, whose own son had left India to study at UC, planted the idea in Agrawal’s head that he, too, might take that leap. 

At UC, scholarships change lives  

Agrawal applied to UC as a prospective student in IT. His acceptance letter included more than $20,000 in scholarships.

“I have no idea where I would be today if I hadn’t gotten the scholarships, because that was the sole reason I was able to come to UC,” he says. “Without the scholarships, it would have been pretty close to impossible for me to come abroad and get the opportunities that I’ve had here.”

And he says he doesn’t “have enough words” to express his appreciation for the donors who made his scholarships possible. Donating funds to help students afford their education, he adds, “is an incredibly generous and noble thing to do.”

Making meaningful connections at UC and beyond

As he begins his fifth year at UC this fall, he has performed all of his co-ops at UC. As a lead software developer in UC’s IT Solutions Center, he led the development of the Ohio Sentencing Data Platform in collaboration with the Ohio Supreme Court, and he led the work on a suite of applications used by the UC Corrections Institute and Ohio Department of Youth Services. As a research assistant in the UC Civic Tech Lab, he worked with a team of professors and master’s students on a research project funded by the National Science Foundation and Mozilla.

Throughout his years at UC, he says he has explored everything he is interested in. He launched and served as president of the IT Student Association, which provided weekly educational and networking opportunities for students; developed and managed the hackathon website as an organizer for RevolutionUC; and served as Conferences and Education Chair at ACM@UC, UC's computer science and programming community. Buoyed by a seemingly unlimited supply of energy, he also joined the Astronomy Club, the Philosophy Club, the Badminton Club and the Board Game Club—and sang bass in UC Junoon, the South Asian Fusion A Cappella team. “There are opportunities at UC for every kind of hobby or interest you have,” he says with a broad smile.

 “My passion has always been to solve problems,” he says. “I’m currently working as a software developer, and I don’t intend to deviate from this path. I don't have a big ‘next stage.’ I have a lot of small next steps, and my only hope is that I can consistently improve myself and slowly but surely get to the bigger problems to solve.”

Featured image at top: Main Street on UC's campus. Photo/UC MarCom.

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