• YEAR: Senior
  • MAJOR: Actuarial Sciences and Applied Statistics
  • HOMETOWN: Kolkata, India

Rachit Agarwal

What are the odds that a smart, motivated kid from Kolkata (a.k.a. Calcutta), India, could come to America, earn a Purdue degree and set out to make a difference in others' lives — even before he graduates? In Rachit Agarwal's case, it was a pretty safe bet! With a beaming smile and contagious enthusiasm for learning, Rachit already has been moving the world forward as a Purdue Promise tutor and Supplemental Instruction (SI) leader. Due to graduate in May, he's making his time count by helping to ensure his fellow students' success while having fun in the process.

A calculated move

Rachit first learned about Purdue from two maternal uncles who graduated with degrees in industrial management.

"They helped me understand what an education abroad is about," says Rachit, who graduated at the top of his high school class, Sherwood College, in Nainital, Uttrakhand, India.

"When I was picking colleges, I saw the math curriculum in the College of Science, and I was so happy that I got what I wanted. Purdue's science degree is known throughout the world.

"Also, Purdue has a really diverse community and it gives everyone a chance to succeed. This was one of the main reasons I decided to come here."

Do the math

Rachit's high school mentor was his math teacher.

"I was always fascinated by math, and I was really inspired by my math teacher, Arvind Sharma. I decided I wanted to do something related to this field, and this is how I chose to major in actuarial sciences.

"He was always trying to show us different ways of making math seem brighter. That was how I started enjoying it. When he was not teaching us math, he was a very helpful resource to gain general knowledge and useful advice."

Value-added experience

Rachit practices his passion for helping his peers succeed as a Supplemental Instruction leader and a Purdue Promise math tutor.

His supervisor, Ethel Swartzendruber, senior assistant director and coordinator of Supplemental Instruction, says Rachit's study sessions help students who think math is a four-letter word to have fun learning — with games, funny stories and even a math dance. No wonder he has won a "Most Creative Leader" award.

"Among the many experiences I have had, being a Supplemental Instructor has been the most fulfilling. And in my future career, breaking down technical information to others is going to be very valuable."

Assessing the future

Energized by a summer internship with Aon Hewitt, Rachit looks forward to progressing in his field after graduation.

"I want to learn as much as I can about the actuarial industry so that I can take the level of my education to a better platform.

"I want to move the world forward by showing how individuals can make a difference. I want to contribute to helping others grow, and I hope to take Purdue's name even higher with my contributions in the future!"