, 2023-01-24 15:44:24,
Growing up, Vivek Kanpa never wanted to be a computer scientist like his parents. They would try to teach him how programming works by showing him the “Hello, World!” program or Java language.
“And every year I just didn’t understand it. I was like, ‘I am never going to do this,’” Kanpa, 21, told Northeastern Global News.
But he did become interested in solving big human problems at a young age. While visiting his parents’ home country of India for the first time at age 7, Kanpa noticed that some children had to drink water from ditches and puddles, swarmed with flies.
“That really affected me,” he says. “I just didn’t enjoy seeing the inequality for water resources there.”
When he got older he started thinking about how water filtration in developing countries could be made more sustainable and cheaper. Luckily, he was going to a STEM-heavy public high school in Livingstone, New Jersey, which allowed him to focus on water filtering research for about two years.
“I presented at a couple of conferences and applied for a couple of awards,” he says. “That was a very prominent phase in my life that was my starting point in research.”
Now a Northeastern senior, Kanpa was recently awarded the 2022 George J. Mitchell Scholarship. The scholarship was founded in 1998 by Trina Vargo, a former foreign policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, during the critical years of the Northern Ireland peace process,…
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