Feature Stories

NJIT Student Wins Congressional Award

Hari Ravichandran, who won a Congressional Award, with U.S.Senator Cory Booker in Washington, D.C.

Hari Ravichandran, a junior at NJIT, recently won a Congressional Award Gold Medal for community service. It’s the highest congressional honor a student can receive for community involvement. 

The gold medal recognizes students who’ve done at least 400 hours of community service over the course of two years. To win the award, students must meet stringent requirements in public service, personal development, physical fitness and exploration.

Hari’s service included volunteering at the Arc of Monmouth, a group that helps people with intellectual disabilities; working to enhance the Monmouth County park system; fundraising for High Technology High School, in Lincroft; and writing articles about world news for NJIT’s student newspaper, The Vector. He also launched and managed a newly designed online portal for The Vector. To meet the physical fitness requirement, he improved his tennis game and to fulfill the exploration requirement he traveled to Northern India. 

“I have realized the importance of giving back to the community and enjoyed the wonderful experience of setting up and achieving these four personal goals,” said Hari, a chemical engineering major in the Albert Dorman Honors College, which regards community service as an essential component of education. 

Hari is community minded but also academically accomplished. The Honors College is a demanding school yet he has a perfect 4.0 GPA. He graduated from High Technology High, the top-ranked high school in the nation for science and technology, according to U.S. News & World Report.  While still in high school, he did an internship at Bell Labs, helping to develop a model for a high-speed semiconductor device. And at NJIT, under the direction of Professor Edward Dreizen, he has done research to develop thermite, a compound of metal power fuel and metal oxide that could have military applications.

This summer, he is doing an internship at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., where he is working on research to improve the safety and performance of lithium ion batteries, which have applications for cell phones, laptops, electric cars, airplanes and more.

By Robert Florida