The Drive to Give Back

Siddharth Raj Gupta and Bucky Badger

Ph.D. student Siddharth Raj Gupta (Sid) grew up in Rampur, India. From a young age, Sid was extremely driven and dedicated to working hard to achieve his goals. This drive continued into his adult years, fueling his desire to excel in his academics while also helping others succeed.

Research has been central to Sid’s academic journey. His Ph.D. research focused on three-phase alternating current liquid metal vortex energy harvesting magnetohydrodynamic generators often borrowing concepts from electrical engineers. Outside of this research, he has also explored new technological development avenues. Recently as a hobby, he began working in the fields of machine learning and data analytics, trying to solve real-world problems. One outcome of the projects was a breast cancer prediction algorithm to forecast the time of tumor recurrence.

Sid has also made it a point to give back outside his research. To further his impact on the campus community, he became a part of the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB)—a diverse group of international students who serve as a consultative body for ISS by providing feedback, voicing issues that impact the Global Badger community, and helping International Student Services to fulfill its mission.

“I really felt like I should be a part of it because I like advocating for the needs of different people, and I felt like it is a great platform where I can voice the concerns of my peers and my friends,” Sid said.

Alongside his education, research, and community involvement, Sid dedicated time to becoming a teaching assistant for the Mechanical Engineering Department and Electrical & Computer Engineering Department

“I always treat all of my students not just as students in a class, but rather as part of my bigger family. I think having somebody to look to is something important. I feel I can be that person who when somebody has a problem, he or she can come to me and I can help out in some way. I feel joy from that, that family-oriented kind of culture. I feel like it’s a little missing here. Or maybe I haven’t explored it enough, but that is something that I want to promote as an international student coming from India because of the values I have been raised with.”

As a result of his dedication to his students, Sid was awarded the Pi Tau Sigma Teaching Assistant of the Year. In addition to this award, he was also nominated for the Distinguished Teaching Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year.

Prior to attending UW, Sid received his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering with a minor in nuclear engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. Post graduation, Sid knew he wanted to expand his horizon of learning and pursue a master’s degree abroad.

Sid decided to attend UW–Madison and pursue his Ph.D. in the Department of Mechanical Engineering with a minor in computer science. He chose the university as he believed it would provide him with research opportunities that he was passionate about and experiences that he couldn’t get anywhere else.  Additionally, he also earned a Master of Science in electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering while at the university. As of this April, Sid has successfully defended his Ph.D. and is a Doctor of Mechanical Engineering. 

“I wanted to go outside India. In 2017, I went to Siberia in Russia, where I really enjoyed my time for those three months outside India. That was also one of the major factors in coming to America, that I  wanted to explore the entire world and travel around and see different places.”