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#UofTGrad16: Srivathsan Morkonda Gnanasekaran

Srivathsan Morkonda Gnanasekaran says he loved the community at UTSC: "There are so many clubs that you can join,” he says. “You will always find your place.” (Photo by Bianca Quijano)

As Convocation day approaches, we’re filled with pride at the incredible accomplishments of our students. No matter what program they’re in, no matter what their major, our students have made contributions to the campus, to the community and to the world at large. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll highlight students who have made a huge impact already, and are poised to do even more now that they’re graduating. From an Olympic weight lifter to a social activist featured on the CBC, we’re certain that you’ll be reading a lot more about them in the future! Follow the all the U of T Convocation excitement at #UofTGrad16.

 Srivathsan Morkonda Gnanasekaran

U of T Scarborough was not at all what Srivathsan Morkonda Gnanasekaran expected. The international student from Southern India admits he did little research before arriving at his new home.

“First of all, I did not know that Scarborough was a completely different neighbourhood. I thought that Toronto was just the same throughout. In fact, it has so many different boroughs each with their own unique personality.”

The Physics and Astrophysics Specialist came here for the world-class academics but was blown away by the tight-knit UTSC community.

“There are so many international students. I didn’t know that. There are so many clubs that you can join,” he says. “You will always find your place.”

Srivathsan immersed himself in several campus organizations such as the Physics Aid Centre, Facilitated Study Groups, Volunteer Note Taking and Residence Life Team. Despite all of these commitments, his academics did not falter. Srivathsan conducted research on several UTSC projects, was a teaching assistant for undergraduate astronomy classes and an undergraduate research fellow.

“What I’ll miss most is seeing the people from residence every day. It hasn’t hit me yet that this journey is over,” he says. “I am so glad I made the decision to come here.”

Where did you go to high school? 

I went to high school (Ida Scudder School) in India.

Why did you choose your program?

When I came to university, I was confused about whether I should pursue physics or computer science. I talked with a lot of people and concluded I would start with physics. I loved the ideas in physics and how they shaped the way I approach any problem. I wanted to integrate my computer science interest into this and fortunately I got to work with interesting research where the power of computers helped understand physical processes.

What was your favourite class?

My favourite class was a course in geophysics. It changed my perspective of the rocks below us by connecting them to billions of years back. It is amazing how there is so much more to things we interact with everyday than we might think.

What’s the best-kept secret on campus?

Scarborough College buildings and CN tower were designed by the same architect.

Quick tip for new first years?

Look for the opportunities and get involved. It is the missing piece in a lot of puzzles. I had to get out of my comfort zone to try out different activities and find my place. Having come from the other side of the world, I had to find my home here. UTSC is such a diverse place that there is definitely going to be something that will make you feel at home. The best thing I loved was the inclusiveness of different cultures, beliefs and more importantly, different ideas. It motivates you to grow as a complete person. 

I am passionate about making a difference in the communities.

What was your most rewarding accomplishment during your time here?

Receiving positive feedback from the connections I was involved with was the most rewarding accomplishment. It was very satisfying to know that my efforts in residence helped better the community. The best part about it was that there was support along with all the challenges. Such support encouraged me to further develop myself in any work I do. I am grateful to the UTSC community for giving me the space to do what I love the most.

What’s next?

I am so excited to start work in a field where physics and technology go together.

If we call you up in five years, where do you think we will find you?

In a community where I enjoy working with people. I loved working in the residence life team because we were striving for positive impact on students. I cherished the facilitator and teaching experience because it was satisfying to see students feel confident about their physics knowledge. I want to work with different student communities (especially the less fortunate ones) and help them make the best out of their education.


Read about more graduates to watch!

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