By Bill Kisliuk
UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science alumnus Mukund Padmanabhan MS ’89, PhD ’92, has announced that he will make an additional gift of $500,000 to support the Guru Krupa Foundation Fellowship in Electrical Engineering, bringing the foundation’s total support for UCLA graduate students in electrical engineering to $1.5 million.
Padmanabhan, founder of the Guru Krupa Foundation, said he was inspired to offer the fellowships based on his own experience. He received a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur before applying for graduate studies in electrical engineering at UCLA.
“My education at UCLA has served me very well,” he said. “But it almost didn’t happen. It was only because of a last-minute award of a fellowship that I was able to attend UCLA.”
The first two Guru Krupa Foundation gifts of $500,000 – made in 2009 and 2011 – were directed toward students working in the areas of integrated circuits and signals and systems. Fellowships funded by the third gift are available to students in any electrical engineering discipline.
“I set up the first two fellowships because I wanted to increase the odds of someone in my situation in India having the same opportunity I had,” Padmanabhan said. “Since then, I’ve had an opportunity to see the working of the process and meet with some of the fellowship recipients, and I feel that the fellowships are having the intended impact – hence the decision to extend the gift with a third fellowship.”
While at UCLA, Padmanabhan’s research focused on signal processing and analog integrated circuits. He then worked in the area of statistical speech recognition at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Today he focuses on statistical financial modeling for Renaissance Technologies, a New York-based hedge fund management firm.
The Guru Krupa Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the lives of impoverished families, provide opportunities in higher education to those who could not otherwise afford it and support cultural and religious organizations in the United States and India.
The Guru Krupa Foundation Fellowship in Electrical Engineering is part of UCLA Engineering’s Enhancing Engineering Excellence (E3) Initiative to raise funds for new endowed faculty chairs, graduate fellowships, undergraduate scholarships and capital projects.
“Scholarships and fellowships give talented students of limited means the opportunity to study at one of the finest engineering schools in the world,” said UCLA Engineering Dean Vijay K. Dhir. “We are grateful to Mukund and other alumni whose generous support allows students from all backgrounds to enrich our academic environment and take advantage of the great opportunities that UCLA Engineering offers.”