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Desik Somasundaram

Pronouns: he/his/him

Desik Somasundaram is a Master’s of Environmental Data Science student at the Bren School of Environmental Sciences and Management. Desik's interests in sustainable development arose from his visits to India where he witnessed water and energy scarcity. He holds bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Engineering & Energy, and Environmental Policy from University of Delaware. After graduation, Desik worked as a Water Resources Modeler/Programmer for Environmental Resources Management (ERM). At ERM, Desik worked on projects ranging from oil spill and drill cuttings modelling to coastal imagery-based shoreline studies. His daily activities included coding, debugging, and use of a FORTRAN-based hydrodynamic modelling suite, Generalized Environmental Modeling System for Surfacewaters (GEMSS). He developed scripts in Python (including ESRI ArcPy), R and UNIX command line to clean and process data, and to make workflows more efficient. This experience opened his eyes to the power of programming. This led to pursuing the Micromaster’s Program in Data, Economics and Development Policy Program offered at MIT. This program elucidated to Desik that challenges associated with poverty, gender equality, education and the environment can be solved using data science. Eventually, Desik hopes to harness the power of data science to develop initiatives to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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