“I aspire to contribute to the field of computing research by bringing educational reforms through the innovation of new tools and technologies that can support the development of children with disabilities in all dimensions.” – Pragati Maheshwary
Psychology and Computer Sciences junior Pragati Maheshwary has been honored by Google not once but twice during the 2022-23 academic year with the Generation Google Scholarship and acceptance into the Google CS Research Mentorship Program.
The Generation Google Scholarship is awarded to students who have demonstrated a passion for technology and academic excellence and have proven themselves as exceptional leaders and role models in computer science, gaming, and technology.
The Google CS Research Mentorship Program matches students from historically marginalized groups with peers and a Google mentor to support their pursuit of computing research pathways. Maheshwary is one of 200 students selected from all over the United States in Class A (January – April) of 2023. She is planning to learn about computing research in “Education Innovation” with this program by applying her knowledge of psychology and computer science.
Maheshwary is currently taking classes on Artificial Intelligence and Human-Computer Interaction in the CS department to develop a better understanding of those topics. She says, “AI research finds its roots in cognitive psychology.” She thinks her CS major plus her psych major will help her understand “the working and nitty-gritty of AI better.” She also plans to integrate current technological developments to help empower young minds and innovate classroom teaching.
Maheshwary is also a Google Trainer, which means she’s authorized by Google to provide skill training and empower educators to learn and use Google for Education products to make their classrooms more efficient, improve student outcomes, and foster leadership skills. When she was certified in 2021, she was the youngest certified trainer in the world.
When she graduates from UW-Madison, Maheshwary plans to pursue a PhD. She says, “My long-term goal for my pathway in research is to apply my knowledge in psychology with computer science in a way that can help facilitate knowledge sharing and learning for everyone equally, including individuals with neurodevelopmental or cognitive disorders (like ADHD or autism).”
Maheshwary grew up and completed her schooling in India and witnessed firsthand the struggles people with disabilities undergo in terms of acquiring proper education through close family and friends. “So,” she says, “I want to make education accessible in a way that is inclusive of the unique needs of all individuals. I aspire to contribute to the field of computing research by bringing educational reforms through the innovation of new tools and technologies that can support the development of children with disabilities in all dimensions – be it physical, cognitive, social, or emotional development.”
Congratulations, Pragati – we can’t wait to hear what’s next!