When the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) holds its graduation ceremony in December, a T&T national will be among those receiving top honours.
Kavir Jaggernauth, 24, a national open scholarship winner in Sciences, has already received five distinctions (Faculty Honours) —awards given to students who earned a 4.0 academic average for the semester—and has also been on the Dean’s List three times for achieving above a 3.0 academic average.
The Siparia-grown former Naparima College student who had placed among the top-10 students in Physics and Chemistry following the 2014 CAPE exams, had applications accepted by premier universities around the world, including the Royal Imperial College in London, University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo, Canada.
However, he chose Georgia Tech because of its renown reputation of offering one of the best courses in engineering anywhere in the world.
After first considering aeronautical space engineering, he opted to pursue mechanical engineering and has been focused on revolutionary research.
“At Georgia Tech, I’ve also been exposed to cutting edge research in my field and have had access to some great lab resources. Currently, I’m working with a team of students for a highly respected Prof Emeritus Stephen Dickerson. We are trying to design a highly efficient adiabatic diesel engine that would not require any cooling system. If successful, it’ll be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than what’s currently available,” Kavir said.
Almost certain to graduate ‘Summa Cum Laude’ (with the highest distinction), Kavir said success in his studies can benefit T&T and in particular, the environment.
“I plan to come back home to work for a few years (as part of my scholarship agreement) and then pursue a Master’s degree in Energy Systems Engineering. I’m really interested in the balance between energy generation and environmental conservation, which I think will be of particular importance to Trinidad over the next decade,” he said.
Jaggernauth had been an A student from early. At the primary level, he placed first in all tests at the Dayanand Memorial Vedic School in Penal and once placed second in a national Mental Mathematics Marathon.
Now, having taken his achievements to an international level, he attributes his success to family.
“Ever since I was a kid, my mom always stressed the importance of having a good education to my sister and me. She’d make sure we’d study every day back in primary school, and I guess that work ethic just stuck with me,” he said.
His sister, Kama, is also a former national scholarship winner and is a doctor at the San Fernando General Hospital. Kavir said they were pretty competitive as children.
“So I think we subconsciously made each other work harder.”
His mother Sandra, a former educator and now professional counsellor, described him as “a little naturally bright” and she too pointed to the strength of family in the overall development of students.
“In this entire journey his sister has been his pillar of strength.”
“Parenting is very important in the development of children. Every child has abilities but the abilities must be developed. They must be conditioned to do the work. I as a parent also made time to sit down and spend extra time with them and make them do their work. It took an overall effort by teachers, parents and he himself. It takes effort, support, love, commitment and dedication.”
Kavir agreed: “Ever since I was a kid, my mom always stressed the importance of having a good education to my sister and me. She’d make sure we’d study every day back in primary school, and I guess that work ethic just stuck with me.”
His father, Kamal, is a project operations installations manager with BP, and his hard work inspired Kavir.
“Some of my work ethic definitely comes from my dad as well; since growing up, he’d work offshore every other week and then long hours at BP’s office in Port of Spain even on the weeks he was home,” he said.
Finding balance in other activities, he’s played cricket, sang and played the keyboard with Susan and Rana Mohip.
The Manchester United fan now balances his studies with other things.
“I was the philanthropy chair for an organization of Scientists, Architects, and Engineers for two years. After Hurricane Irma hit the island of St Thomas in 2017, we raised US$1,500 for families affected,” he said.
The graduation will be held on December 11 and then, he hopes to come home.
“The past four years have been challenging as well. The workload has been overwhelming at times, although that’s something most university students can probably relate to. It was also a huge adjustment to move away from my family and friends, but that has made me appreciate Trinidad a lot more.”
About Georgia Tech
One of the leading research universities in the US, the Georgia Institute of Technology is creating the next – the next idea, the next technology, and the next legion of agile minds well equipped to imagine and engineer our future.
On a 400-acre campus in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia Tech provides a focused, technologically based education to 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students committed to improving the human condition through advanced science and technology. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Institute offers many nationally ranked programs.
Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered through the colleges of Business, Computing, Design, Engineering, Sciences and Liberal Arts.
Georgia Tech consistently ranks in U.S. News & World Report’s top ten public universities in the United States.