From Potential to Promise: Developing Scholars, one Eureka moment at a time

Duke Computer Science Colloquium
Speaker Name
Rajiv Gandhi
Date and Time
Lunch served at 11:45 am.

At Rutgers University-Camden, the student body is quite diverse, with many first generation college students and students from underrepresented minority groups. Our students face financial challenges - a significantly large fraction of Rutgers-Camden students work at least part-time while pursuing coursework. Since the inception of the computer science department in the nineties until 2009 almost no student from the computer science department at Rutgers-Camden had gone to pursue graduate studies in computer science or related fields. In the last 13 years several students have gone to some of the top graduate programs in the country. In this talk, I will tell the story of our work with these truly remarkable undergraduate students, who despite many odds have achieved success that is unprecedented for the Camden campus. I will discuss the challenges that we faced and some ideas that have worked well for us. We have been applying some of these ideas in our work with high school students and students at other institutions.

Short Biography

Dr. Rajiv Gandhi is a Professor of Computer Science at  Rutgers University-Camden. He also teaches part-time at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2003 from the University of Maryland, College Park. His research interests lie in the broad area of theoretical computer science. Specifically, he is interested in approximation and randomized algorithms.  He is a passionate educator who loves working with students with diverse backgrounds, helping them achieve their potential. He is the recipient of the 2022 SIGACT Distinguished Service award. He has been the recipient of several teaching excellence awards, including the Warren I. Susman award for teaching excellence at Rutgers University in 2014. He also received the Chancellor's award for Civic Engagement at Rutgers-Camden in 2013.  In 2017 he was inducted in the  Computer Science Alumni Hall of Fame at the University of Maryland. He was a Fulbright Fellow from Jan-June 2011, during which he worked with students in Mumbai, India. Since 2009, he has also been working with high school students as part of the Program in Algorithmic and Combinatorial Thinking (

Kartik Nayak