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Thyaga Nandagopal

Thyaga Nandagopal

Program director | National Science Foundation | Class of 2002

If not for the part-time job he landed in college, Thyaga Nandagopal probably wouldn't be so good at his current job — program director for the National Science Foundation.

"My favorite memories of Illinois revolve around the backstage of the Krannert Center, where I used to give tours to visitors," he says. "I was the tour director of the Krannert Center Student Association for a couple of years, and in that time, I got to know a multitude of people outside of my engineering/computer science peer network, from fellow undergraduate students from LAS and the various alumni, parents and Chambana natives who would come on tours.

"It polished my public interaction skills, broadened my perspectives and allowed me to overcome my fear of public speaking, which has proven essential in my job as a program director at the National Science Foundation."