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A Broader Perspective

Udit Bhatia is a graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University pursuing an Interdisciplinary Engineering PhD 2019 and cannot wait to graduate in a few months and start teaching students himself.

His successful journey started before he even got to the United States. Bhatia was a civil engineering undergraduate student in India when he founded a successful engineering startup. He and his friends began developing lectures for Indian universities and delivering them using remote technologies.

“There are many universities in India and the youth population is very high,” he said. “One of the biggest challenges those universities are facing is that they do not have enough teaching infrastructures.”

At first, the group worked with only one university, but soon they were developing lectures for six of them. Later, they started meeting with students in-person and organizing break-out sessions for them. That was when Bhatia realized he had a strong passion for teaching.

Soon after, his academic plans changed dramatically, when he attended a lecture in India given by Northeastern Professor Auroop Ganguly, who later became Bhatia’s advisor.

“I was really impressed with the seminar that he gave there, where he covered different aspects like ecology, infrastructure security, and climate change,” he said. “That made me think that his research perfectly aligned with what I aspired to do for my PhD.”

The lecture inspired Bhatia to move to the U.S. and become a Northeastern student. The program here was even more flexible and exciting than he initially anticipated.

“The program is fascinating,” he said. “It gives you the freedom to take courses across departments and you can basically build your own program.”

Bhatia took a lot of great courses here, at Northeastern, but one that was particularly interesting to him was critical infrastructure resilience. While studying, he realized that there was a lot of gray areas in the field not covered in the textbooks.

“My professor and I decided, why not write a textbook that would cover those aspects,” he said.

Critical Infrastructures Resilience: Policy and Engineering Principles is for sale now, and Bhatia is sure it is not the last book he will ever write. Critical infrastructure resilience is actually one of the courses he wants to teach himself, as well as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and civil engineering courses.

He loved to be a part of the engineering department at Northeastern and hopes that he will remain here even after graduation, not as a student, but as faculty.

“My program taught me to take a statistical and broader perspective, rather than having a microscopic view on engineering problems,” he said. “That was one of the major takeaways for me.”

Related Departments:Civil & Environmental Engineering