Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer Devarajulu Ravichandran has worked for more than 25 years as a developer, solutions architect, manager, and IT officer in both commercial organizations and higher education. He received his bachelor’s in electrical and electronics engineering from Anna University in Chennai, India, and his master of business administration from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester.
Read on to learn about his experience as a first-generation college graduate, and show your support on First-Generation Celebration Day, Wednesday, February 17.
How did college help your career?
I grew up in a small town in South India. When I went to college for my undergrad studies, it was the first time I had been by myself, in a big city, with students from all across India and some from other nations as well. My first lesson at college had nothing to do with the degree, but was to be open to diversity: of backgrounds, perspectives, cultures, personalities, and food! You also realize that you learn a lot from each other and to work together as a team leveraging one another. The engineering degree was gravy on top of that, and it helped me land a good first job that kick-started my career.
What advice would you give to current first-generation college students?
Be open, be patient, be easy on yourself, and remember, it takes a village to raise a child. Higher educational institutions are filled with resources to support a student's journey; know them, seek them, and take full advantage of them. You are not alone.
What’s something that's unique to the first-generation college experience?
To me what was unique is that you are not only learning just the subject matter, but also how the system itself works along the way.