It was Claremont McKenna’s culture that drew Adhitya Venkatraman ’22 to the College.
“I wanted to be somewhere I couldn’t hide, even on my worst days,” he said. “My greatest growth has come from friends and professors noticing my mistakes and taking the time to help me fix them. In an academic and social community as small as ours, that kind of vulnerability and trust is natural.”
While at CMC, Venkatraman has found a lot of opportunities to expand his interest in economics. He’s working on a pair of economic research projects with his professors. He’s also involved with SOURCE Nonprofit Consulting, which offers pro-bono consulting partnerships and nonprofit programming to the Inland Empire. This summer, he will also be working on machine learning while interning on Cisco’s enterprise networking team.
Major: Economics and PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) with a Data Science sequence
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
Activities: Associate student manager at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, SOURCE Nonprofit Consulting, “Free Food for Thought” podcast, and First Year Guide
But Venkatraman wisely noted that his growth comes not just from academics, but through experiences outside of the classroom.
“Coming out of high school, I was hyper-focused on academics. And while school remains a key part of my experience, CMC has given me a crash course in finding fulfillment in other parts of life,” he said. “My most satisfying CMC moments did not come in a classroom, but through late-night hallway conversations with people I could be myself with.”
Venkatraman has worked to pay it forward to his CMC community, serving as a First Year Guide and tutoring for econometrics and statistics. He also works with other students on the “Free Food for Thought” podcast, which gives thought leaders an opportunity to share their wisdom with the student community. Recent guests have included neuroscientist Judson Brewer, who offered some tips on how to change negative behavior, bad habits, and addictions, and Dallas-based investigative journalist Cary Aspinwall.
Through his academics and activities, Venkatraman is striving to embody the culture of kindness and openness that also drew him to the school. “I think the best way to describe CMC culture is ‘open.’ Friend groups are open to new arrivals. Professors’ doors or Zoom rooms are always open for questions big or small. There are more open opportunities than any one person can do. And the community is open to difficult conversations.”