On the Rhodes Scholarship and Making Yourself Useful—Prathm Juneja, Notre Dame


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The idea behind this show is pretty simple: We invite scholars, makers, and professionals out to brunch for an informal conversation about their work, and then we turn those brunches into a podcast.
It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
This past November, Prathm Juneja was named to the American Rhodes Scholar Class of 2020, becoming the 20th Rhodes Scholar in Notre Dame history.
He talked with host Ted Fox in December—a few weeks after the Rhodes announcement and a week or so before he graduated. Graduating in December isn’t especially common at Notre Dame, and in Prathm’s case, it was because he completed the five-year Reilly Dual Degree Program in Arts and Letters and Engineering in four-and-a-half years. A political science and computer science major, he was also a member of the University’s Glynn Family Honors Program and a College of Arts and Letters Dean’s Fellow.
Shreya Kumar, a faculty member in Notre Dame’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering who wrote one of Prathm’s Rhodes recommendation letters, described him this way:
“I have worked with many students who build impressive solutions to common problems, but I have hardly met anyone more dedicated than Prathm to fairness, accessibility and transparency in democracy. He will do great things for this world.”
With an introduction like that, Prathm has every reason to be proud. Yet the way he talks about himself is self-effacing and humble, whether he’s recounting the moment he found out he was a Rhodes Scholar, the research behind his senior thesis on voter registration, or the lesson he learned from his parents.
As you’ll hear, we couldn’t even get him to brag about receiving a congratulatory phone call from a candidate for president.
Notre Dame News Story: Notre Dame’s Prathm Juneja named Rhodes Scholar
Some Fun With Probability (listen to the episode first): Math Guy: The Birthday Problem

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