For the first time since 1959, a 21-year-old female student won the ‘President of India Gold Medal’ at IIT Madras for ‘outstanding academic performance’. Kavitha Gopal won two other top awards for scoring the highest CGPA of 9.95 — the Bharat Ratna M Vishveswarayya Memorial prize for highest CGPA in B.Tech (named after the civil engineer and former Diwan of Mysore) and the B Ravichandran memorial prize for highest CGPA in B.Tech Computer Science and Engineering.
Hailing from Anupuram in Tamil Nadu, Gopal developed an interest in coding in class 11th. She told TNM,
“I am extremely excited to have received these awards and its a dream come true to be graduating from IIT Madras. I have some thrilling plans for my future and it involves coding.”
On there being fewer women taking up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics), she added,
“I hope that more women take up computer science if they develop an interest for it. My batch had only 10 girls out of 60 students and this says a lot about the ratio of girls and boys taking up the subject. But we need to realise that the future is computer science – think Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning etc.”
She is currently working with Google India.