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Graduate Student Spotlights

Grad Student Profile: Vanadeep Kaluvagunta

Vanadeep Kaluvagunta

Vanadeep Kaluvagunta is pursuing his third master’s degree in climate change and society from the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences. An international graduate student from India, he currently holds a Ph.D. in physics along with a double masters in physics and meteorology. 

In the world of academia and research, there are individuals whose stories resonate with dedication, passion, and an unwavering commitment to making a positive impact—Vanadeep is undoubtedly one such individual, whose journey is a testament to his boundless enthusiasm for learning, teaching, and contributing to society.

Tell us about your journey to graduate school and what led you to NC State.
I have been an admirer of nature for some time, particularly the atmosphere. I watched and observed every perceivable atmospheric phenomenon with awe and fascination in my early year. This quest led my path toward pursuing physics as my core discipline during my higher studies. Eventually, when I completed my masters in physics from India, I decided to pursue further studies and research focused on atmospheric science, air quality, and weather studies, which led to my Ph.D. in Physics focused on atmospheric and environmental studies as well as ancient Indian meteorology which is my second masters in meteorology from Madrid, Spain. 

I came to the USA in mid-2019 in pursuit of a professional career. By the time I settled comfortably in Los Angeles, unfortunately COVID occurred and it completely shut down the world. I decided to devote the almost 2-year lockdown time to learning wherein I did some data science certifications, I was tutoring students from primary school level to graduate level across the world virtually and eventually, I decided to pursue my third master’s degree. I chose NC State over other universities because of its reputation as an Research 1 (R1) institution, its location in the Research Triangle Park (RTP) area, and most importantly, because the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences encompasses all the three vital and inseparable components of the earth system—hydrosphere, lithosphere and the atmosphere. I’m truly excited to continue my interdisciplinary research studies and engage in the effective exchange of ideas. 

Listen in as international graduate student Vanadeep Kaluvagunta discusses the sense of community that the Indian Graduate Student Association – MAITRI fosters here at NC State.

Tell us about your research and/or teaching experience.
I did my research on air quality monitoring, dealing with the evaluation of CO, SPM, RSPM, NOx, and SOx with the help of a Respirable Dust Sampler (RDS) using the following methods/techniques for 5 years (2007-11): Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) Estimation – High Volume Method NOx Estimation – Sodium Arsenite Method SOx Determination – Modified West and Gaeke Method Measurement of Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (PM10) using Cyclonic Flow Technique CO Concentration Determination Using Indicator Tube Method. I also studied ambient noise quality trends in various residential areas in different environs (2011-12) 

I also had the opportunity to work as a scientific assistant at the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL), under Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Government of India in India, with Boundary Layer Lidar, on Aerosol and Radiation Studies using Sky Radiometer – direct, diffuse and scattered (spectrum intensity of dispersion) solar radiation measurements in which a filter of long wavelength is added for cloud analysis and with an Aethalometer for estimating ambient black carbon emissions resulting from regular, occasional, periodical, random as well as sporadic and seasonal biomass burning (firewood, charcoal, agricultural, animal wastes, etc.) in nearby rural areas during various periods of the year and during different seasons (2007-08). 

I’ve honestly had a wealth of opportunities and experiences. At NC State, I served as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from Fall 2021 to Spring 2023 teaching undergrads where I handled their lab instruction sessions. “One ounce of practice is worth a thousand words.” However voluminous one’s storehouse of knowledge may be, it would only be considered worthwhile if it is practiced, imparted, and subsequently rendered fit for societal utility. I opine that such a unique unparalleled glorification of knowledge is possible through the teaching profession alone.

How has the Graduate School and/or NC State helped you with your professional development?
I can say that coming to NC State is a glorious chapter in my life. Here, I had precious opportunities to learn, apply, enjoy, serve, lead, inspire, and be inspired. Apart from the brilliant and meticulous academic framework, NC State gives students a comprehensive ecosystem where they can transform themselves into great academicians, administrators, and self-motivated leaders for the future. I am indebted to NC State for embracing me and providing me with so many platforms to explore, rise and shine uniquely. 

I’ve served in a number of roles and had a number of opportunities to engage. I had the pleasure of serving as President of the Indian Graduate Student Association – MAITRI and also as the organization’s Graduate Advisor. I’ve been a Graduate Student Association Representative from the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences (MEAS) to the NC State University Graduate Student Association  All-Council, I’ve been a Small Pack Leader under the Office of International Services (OIS), there I had the opportunity to work with and guide a diverse group of students from various countries across the world. I’ve been a Student Senator for Graduate and Lifelong Education in the NC State Student Senate’s 102nd and 103rd sessions (2022-2023 & 2023-2024), and most recently I received my Certification in Leadership Development from the 2023 Summer Leadership Learning Institute (LLI) for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars organized by The Graduate School.

What advice do you have for new or current graduate students?
Student life is the golden period that a student can’t afford to forfeit. Especially when you have the honor and privilege of securing admission into prestigious institutions like NC State University, you have to make it count because NC State offers every possible avenue for you to evolve as a competent personality endowed with as many skills as you can acquire and hone. This is the time to try and bring out your latent talents and make yourself ready for the competitive world outside the campus. For International students like me, this has taught me the value of time management and highly efficient multitasking. Please do remember that if you love what you do and add some flavor of enthusiasm and passion to it, you can do wonders. This is the time to prove yourself and don’t let it slip out of your hands. Also remember while doing so and realizing your dreams, do take good care of your physical and mental wellness. NC State has an abundance of resources for one’s mental and physical health. 

What does being an NC State graduate student mean to you?
It is about thinking big and doing the extraordinary in one’s own right amidst an environment that echoes and reflects the spirit of the timeless quotation, “The strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” Thus, at NC State, it is “one for all and all for one.” 

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