Alumnus, wife fund new scholarship for international computer science students

Chandra Family Scholarship will go to a first-year international graduate student majoring in computer science

Subhachandra Chandra, MS ’95, and Nandita Dukkipati (seen here at the Konark Sun Temple in India) endowed a new scholarship at the Watson School earlier this year. Below right: Watson students help children build popsicle-stick catapults to learn about projectiles and energy transfer.
Subhachandra Chandra, MS ’95, and Nandita Dukkipati (seen here at the Konark Sun Temple in India) endowed a new scholarship at the Watson School earlier this year. Below right: Watson students help children build popsicle-stick catapults to learn about projectiles and energy transfer.
Subhachandra Chandra, MS ’95, and Nandita Dukkipati (seen here at the Konark Sun Temple in India) endowed a new scholarship at the Watson School earlier this year. Below right: Watson students help children build popsicle-stick catapults to learn about projectiles and energy transfer.

International students can face extra challenges when coming to U.S. universities, leaving behind family and friends for educations that lead to successful careers.

In early 2019, Subhachandra Chandra, MS ’95, and his wife, Nandita Dukkipati, made a significant stock donation to the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science that will fund the Chandra Family Scholarship. It will go to a first-year international graduate student majoring in computer science, with a preference for a female student.

Since graduating from the Watson School, Chandra earned his PhD in computer science from the University of Michigan in 2000, and he has worked as a program- mer and manager at several Silicon Valley startups. He is currently the director of engineering at Ghost Locomotion.

Q: What inspired you to create the Chandra Family Scholarship?

Nandita: We believe that quality education is the cornerstone of improving the quality of life for everyone. While elementary, high school and undergraduate studies are a key part of the overall education, we believe that supporting graduate-level education is important to cultivate deep interests in a field as well as to advance state-of-the-art science and technology.

Chandra: We believe that education is the foundation of a better tomorrow for the world and for an individual. Graduate degrees funded by university and research grants provided many opportunities for us. This scholarship is a small way for us to acknowledge the immense help we received and provide similar opportunities for future students.

Q: Why did you decide to help first-year graduate students, in particular, who are majoring in computer science?

Nandita: The first year of graduate school is the hardest jump financially for many students. Without having a solid footing at school, it often can be difficult to receive research or teaching assistant- ships. Our goal is to make the transition for students into graduate school easier.

Chandra: Since both Nandita and I are computer science majors, we have a soft spot in our hearts for that area. Many students face the difficult choice between enrolling for a graduate degree and starting a job due to financial reasons. We hope that this helps someone take their desired path without financial considerations.

Q: Why is it important to you that international students and female students receive your support?

Nandita: Many times, international and female students take a risk to embark on an adventure of uncertainty. We felt it was important to support those who have made that jump.

Chandra: I have worked in Silicon Valley for about 20 years, and everyone agrees that diversity is important for success. Yet we are still struggling to make that a reality in science and technology, especially in computer science. My hope is that by supporting international and female students, we help increase diversity in our chosen field.

Q: Chandra, how did your Binghamton education help you follow your dreams?

Chandra: The master’s program at Binghamton exposed me to advanced topics in CS and gave my first introduction to the nascent Internet. It also taught me how to conduct research through my master’s thesis. This laid the foundation for me to obtain a PhD from the University of Michigan and to work on cutting-edge technology in Silicon Valley.

Q: You both have also supported the Binghamton Fund for the Watson School. Your giving definitely makes a difference! What do you hope to see as a result of your support?

Chandra: We hope to see future students take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Watson School and achieve their goals and dreams.