Celebrating recent graduates: Karteekeya Sastry (MTech+BTech, 2020)
Karteek hails from Hyderabad, Telangana. His dual degree thesis advisor, Prof. Uday Khankhoje writes:
“Karteek joined my research group when he was just in his sophomore year, after getting excited by a guest lecture on remote sensing applications. Over the years, he has been an outstanding member of my group on account of his curiosity about science and dedication to hard work. He was a TA with me for a couple of courses, starting with an NPTEL MOOC on Computational Electromagnetics and later on the undergraduate course on Engineering Electromagnetics. In both cases, his attention to detail and diligence helped ensure smooth course functioning. Meanwhile, he sharpened his research skills and was able to contribute to an international conference paper (which he presented in Rome in 2019) and a journal paper. By the time he graduated, he had worked out an extension of the earlier work, and a manuscript detailing this work is currently in review (Oct 2020).”
Moving on, Karteek will be joining the PhD program at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Here are excerpts of a brief interview with Karteek, where he highlights his journey through IIT Madras.
Tell us about your family background, early education
I come from a family of lawyers. I am the second engineer in my family after my sister. She was a huge source of inspiration for me early on and was one of the reasons I chose to study engineering. Another source of inspiration is my mother, who has always supported me and has made many sacrifices for me.
Were there any specific reasons you chose IIT Madras instead of other IITs?
Unlike some of the other IITs which are located in remote towns, IIT Madras is right in the middle of Chennai. This has a lot of advantages in terms of connectivity and amenities. Having lived in a city all my life, I felt this would be an easier transition for me. Further, the electrical engineering department at IIT Madras has the reputation of being one of the best in the country. These reasons prompted me to choose IIT Madras over the other IITs.
Can you tell us about the influences that shaped you and your career path during your stay at IIT Madras?
One of the biggest influences on me during my stay at IIT-M was my peer group. The group of students with whom I have spent five years is quite simply the most remarkable and most diverse bunch of people I have met. Through my interactions with my peers at IIT Madras, I have grown immensely as an engineer and as a person.
Another major influence has been the professors in EE, especially Prof. Uday Khankhoje and Prof. David Koilpillai. My interactions with Prof. Uday and Prof. David have taught me the importance of humility, sincerity, and of having an impeccable work ethic. From an academic standpoint, Prof. Uday, who was also my thesis advisor, inspired me to take up research as a career and has been the most supportive mentor I could have wished for.
Finally, I would like to mention Envisage, which is a student team that I was a part of for two years. Envisage is a techno-entertainment show that is built completely by students. My association with this team has not just given me the most cherishable moments of my undergrad life but has also taught me valuable lessons about leadership and perseverance.
If you were to do it all over again, would you choose IIT Madras? If so, why?
I would do it all over again if only to spend some more time with my friends. While I do not have any regrets, I will miss all of them dearly. In conclusion, when I look back at myself from five years ago, I can clearly see how much I have matured and grown as a person. IIT Madras has prepared me for the world ahead, and I am immensely grateful.