Nitya Raviprakash

I would love for every child to experience the education they need to achieve their potential.

Fact file

  • 2nd Year, M.S. in Economics and Computation at Duke University.
  • B.E. in Computer Science from R.V. College of Engineering, India.

  • Worked as a research engineer for 2 years at Microsoft, India before joining the master’s program at Duke.

What is a social cause you care about deeply?

Child welfare and education. Having taught some incredible and resilient children, who come from tough backgrounds (poverty, abuse, learning difficulties), I would love for every child to experience the education they need to achieve their potential. Unfortunately, there are insufficient resources that cater to the specific needs of children coming from diverse backgrounds, particularly in developing/under-developed countries.

What have you found the most interesting so far when working with World Bank?

The different (often, well-hidden) ways that corruption can manifest itself in government is shocking. It is quite impressive that some of these ways can be untangled just by looking at public data, that is in fact, released by governments. The experts’ knowledge on this issue has been fundamental to the project, and I have learned a great deal of information surrounding corruption from them.

When you're not working, what can you be found doing?

Annoying my foster cat for his attention, reading a good book (crime thrillers, drama, historical fiction/non-fiction) with a cup of hot chocolate, or grocery shopping (oh, the sight of fresh vegetables!).

What skills have you gained so far on the DSSGx summer project programme and working with World Bank?

The top ones that come to mind are – communicating effectively when working remotely, using cool tools for collaboration & technical purposes, learning smart ways to go about data cleaning and data structuring, discovering impressive libraries for machine learning and data visualizations, and learning different ways to extract meaningful information from data.

All this, thanks to my amazing teammates and mentors at DSSGx and the World Bank.

What blog, podcast or book does everyone need to be aware of?

I’m currently reading ‘Poor Economics’ by Nobel laureates Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo – quite transformative in the way one looks at poverty and ‘tackling’ it.

Other book suggestions (since I can’t help myself): ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou. It is a beautifully written autobiography on the poet’s life, growing up as a black girl in the United States. And another classic (but fictional), ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini.

What would be your dream industry/ sector to work in? How do you think your involvement in the DSSG could help you get there?

My dream industry would be at the intersection of socio-economic development and data science. I would love to work on projects that improve the welfare of underprivileged communities. And if I get a chance to work with kids or on projects that target their well-being, that would be super exciting.

The DSSG community has exposed me to the many different avenues of ‘Social Good’ that data science fits into. I have gained lots of insight into the intricacies of social data. Most importantly, I have had an amazing experience collaborating and networking with such a cool group of people – this probably helps the most in shaping my career goals.