Me and my life so far…

Short bio

I am an early-stage Doctoral student in Public Policy and Political Economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. I am looking forward for a career where I can leverage my quantitative and communication skills to create and advocate for evidence-dependent policy. 🔢➕💬🟰🏛️

I blend hard and soft skills with experience in all 3 regimes of statistical analysis - descriptive, predictive and causal - using data analysis tools like Python, R, STATA, SQL, and advanced Excel alongside an understanding of stakeholder management, Bardach’s eighfold path to policymaking and practice in writing policy papers and talking points memos.

I have a quantitative background, thanks to a degree in Physics⚛️ and industry experience as a data analyst📊. This, blended with an interest in policy, led me to pursue my current doctoral degree🎓 in PPPE at UTD. My knowledge of policy comes from this degree and my internship at the Center for Global Development🌍 alongside the Graduate Archer Fellowship in DC. I also hold a certification in Technology Policy🤖 from the Takshashila Institution which kindled my interests in public policy.


💻 Work Experience

Teaching Assistant @ School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, USA (Aug 2023 - Present)

  • Assist with grading and lecturing for an undergraduate Poli Sci course on Approaches to Peace

Summer Delegate @ Center for Global Development, Washington D.C., USA (Jun 2023 – Aug 2023)

  • Delivered on a data analytics project on Global Health Financing from ideation till presentation to stakeholders
  • Analyzed Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and Disease Control Priorities (DCP3) data using Python
  • Contributed to CGD’s internal weekly policy update newsletter
  • Underwent training in STATA

Graduate Archer Fellow @ The Archer Center, Washington D.C., USA (Jun 2023 – Aug 2023)

  • Awarded the Graduate Archer Fellowship

  • Worked on an independent policy project focused on the US legislation around digital advertising platforms and met with legislative assistants and, legal counsels on the Hill and, non-profit leaders to understand the ecosystem better

  • Took a class on the basics of government (separation of powers, appropriations/authorizations process, writing talking points memos etc.) and the inside workings of DC (unions, think tanks, interest groups etc.)

Research Assistant @ ArtSciLab, University of Texas at Dallas, USA (Oct 2022 – Apr 2023)

Senior Analyst @ Cartesian Consulting Private Limited, Bangalore, India (June 2019 – Jan 2022)

  • Led a team of 3 analysts to service the CRM and campaign reporting needs of Indian fashion retail giants
  • Managed stakeholders from Analytics, Marketing and IT teams of clients via verbal and written communications
  • Analyzed the behavior of 10M+ customers to assist in redesigning a retail client’s loyalty program
  • Automated marketing campaigns reporting using Google Apps Script & SQL which saved 20 manhours/week
  • Developed a QC pipeline for an RDBMS with 10M+ customers to resolve duplications & referential integrity issues
  • Awarded ‘Rookie of the year 2019’ and ‘Employee of the year 2020’

📌 Volunteer Experience

Founding Vice President @ Effective Altruism UT Dallas, University of Texas at Dallas (Oct 2022 – Present)

  • Organize community events to discuss the ideas of ‘Effective Altruism’ including ‘Cause prioritization’ and ‘Longtermism’

Volunteer Facilitator @ Centre for Effective Altruism, EA Virtual Program (April 2022 – May 2022)

  • Facilitated discussions for 8 weeks on Effective Altruism and received a 94% positive rating from participants

📖 Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Political Economy @ The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, USA (Aug 2023 - Present) and

Master of Science in Social Data Analytics and Research @ The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, USA (Aug 2022 - Present)

Graduate certificate in Advanced Public Policy @ The Takshashila Institution, Bangalore, India (May 2022)

  • Wrote a policy proposal to revitalize the tourism sector in India using Bardach’s eightfold path to policymaking
  • Learned intermediate microeconomics

Graduate certificate in Technology Policy @ The Takshashila Institution, Bangalore, India (Dec 2020)

  • Wrote a policy proposal to build the semiconductor sector in India using Bardach’s eightfold path to policymaking
  • Learned the basics of information economics

Master of Science in Physics @ National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Mangalore, India (May 2017 - May 2019)

Bachelor of Science in Physics @ DG Vaishnav College, University of Madras, Chennai, India (May 2014 - May 2017)

  • Won the ‘Best outgoing student of BSc Physics’ award

📝 Academic project

Establishing the large-scale structure of Protein-Protein Interaction networks @ NIT Karnataka, Mangalore, India May 2018 - May 2019

  • Utilized subgraph algorithms to isolate the protein network of Alzheimer’s Disease from bioinformatics databases
  • Applied Graphlet techniques to understand the structure of the isolated network
  • Used several Python libraries such as Networkx, Numpy, Scipy, Pandas
  • Wrote a thesis and received an A grade
  • Related results published in Springer Proceedings
    • Khasim, A., Subramanian, V., Ajith, K.M., Shajahan, T.K. (2022). Structure of Protein Interaction Network Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease Using Graphlet Based Techniques. In: Banerjee, S., Saha, A. (eds) Nonlinear Dynamics and Applications. Springer Proceedings in Complexity. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-99792-2_42

✍️ Notable Writings

🗣️ Languages

Tamizh (Native), English (Advanced), Hindi (Intermediate), Française (Beginner)

Longer bio

I am Venkatesh (pronounced Venn-cut-aesh). Friends calls me Venki (pronounced Venn-key) and this website is the namesake of that nickname. I am a Tamizhan born and brought up in Chennai, India. I currently live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in TX, USA. Below is the story of how I went from Chennai to Mangalore to Bangalore and finally to Dallas - a journey from the Indian South to the American South!

In 2012-13, when I was a high schooler in Chennai, I was invited to attend the INSPIRE Science camp which motivated me to pursue a degree in Physics in college and I graduated from NIT Karnataka, Mangalore, India with a Master’s degree in 2019. Towards the end of that degree, I discovered my love for Linear Algebra and decided to switch paths to Data Analytics. I joined Cartesian Consulting as an Analyst in Bangalore, India and worked there for 2 years and 8 months. I was good at work and got a promotion to Senior Analyst while winning multiple awards for my performance. But my aspirations to have a more meaningful social impact, pushed me to explore ways to utilize my data analytics skills in other domains. So alongside my work at Cartesian, I began my exploration with a certificate course in technology policy at The Takshashila Institution, and fell in love with the policy domain. This newborn interest led me to apply to the Social Data Analytics course of the School of Economics, Political and Policy Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. I was delighted to get admitted to the program, decided to take a short break while pursuing another certificate at The Takshashila Institution, this time in Advanced Public Policy, and then moved to Dallas in July 2022. In Sep 2022, I created this website.

During my first year at UTD I took courses on Research Design, and was encouraged by professors to consider pursuing a PhD given my performance in the courses. After a lot of introspection and counsel from friends, I took the leap and got accepted into the PhD in Public Policy and Political Economy program starting August 2023. The summer before starting this program (May-July 2023) I was also awarded the Graduate Archer fellowship and spent living, learning and working in Washington D.C. which further emboldened my resolve to go for the PhD.

Fingers crossed for the adventures to come! 😊

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Any opinions expressed here are my own and may not reflect the opinions of the organizations I am affiliated with at any point.