Third-year student earns Truman Scholarship

While a University of Chicago student, Vivek Ramakrishnan studied disadvantaged communities in Chicago and at-risk youth across the country—transformative experiences that made him wonder: Who should receive government services and how do we effectively deal with scarcity?

“Reading the stories of children who have spent their lives in foster care and have had to navigate unbelievably difficult circumstances made me internalize how important it was to provide support to those involved in the system,” said the third-year student in the College.

Ramakrishnan believes data can be used to make an impact on government systems. Recently awarded a prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 for students pursuing careers in public service, Ramakrishnan intends to explore how applied and predictive methods can be used to analyze the child welfare system.

“I think there is a future where data can be used to genuinely connect people with services who need it the most, and who are currently disconnected from support,” said Ramakrishnan, a public policy major. “I really want to be part of this defining moment to make sure the field moves in the right direction.”

Ramakrishnan was one of 62 students chosen for the nationally competitive award from a pool of 840 undergraduate candidates. He is the ninth UChicago student to earn the award in the past 10 years.

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