When Kushagra (Kush) Srivastava was in high school in Dubai, he looked for Computer Science programs at US colleges and universities. With UMass Amherst already on his list, he looked more into what the school had to offer and found the iCons program. Kush said, “The iCons Program became one of the major reasons I chose to apply to UMass and a big reason I chose UMass as my school.”
Now a junior at UMass Amherst, Kush is a Computer Science major and a student in iCons on the Renewable Energy track. He has worked on numerous projects, bringing expertise in data visualization and interaction with the goal of mitigating the impacts of climate change.
In discussing the iCons program, he said, “One of the biggest assets the program has is how so many people from different backgrounds contribute to one problem.” He has learned many skills in iCons such as accountability, work ethic, and teamwork, all of which he tries to bring into his other classes.
One of his favorite iCons projects was during his second year in the program, working with the Boston Museum of Science to answer the question, "How do we incentivize more people to carpool or take public transit to reduce emissions?" The group made an interactive map assessing public transit accessibility around Boston. They also got the opportunity to travel to Boston and test how user-friendly the train stations were.
Kush loved this project because he got to collect theoretical and field data while working on an interdisciplinary team of his peers and professionals. He said, “I really love when a lot of people from different majors come together to work on a single project because that means you get to see the skill sets of every individual.”
Outside iCons, Kush is working with professors to open a research lab in the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences researching systems design and operating systems. Once the lab is running, Kush will begin his Honors Thesis work to help make computers run faster and more efficiently. In addition, Kush is a member of the Linkage Lab led by Dr. Ileana Streinu at Smith College. He serves as a research assistant, working on software development and machine learning.
Kush plans to pursue a career in research, using his computer science skills to contribute to global solutions. He is grateful for the professors he has had in iCons, explaining, “your professors [in iCons] are more like mentors as opposed to lecturers. It is student drive, so they are guiding you on a path and not lecturing you about the path.”
Profile posted in 2023.