Pratham Mehta graduates with a CS degree. Photos by Tyler Parker.

CS Graduate Details Journey of Learning and Leadership at Georgia Tech

Computer Science (CS) major Pratham Mehta’s journey at Georgia Tech involves passionate involvement outside the classroom. As an international student, he was eager to find a community and help others.

Along the way, Mehta grasped opportunities to explore the world of CS while empowering those around him.

Discovering a passion for CS

Pratham Mehta. Photo by Tyler Parker.
Pratham will graduate with a CS degree and return for his master's. Photo by Tyler Parker.

Mehta’s journey into the world of CS wasn’t a predetermined path. 

“I didn’t grow up programming or coding. Throughout my life I’ve always been involved in the arts like editing and video production,” Mehta said. 

His curiosity led him to explore the possibilities of incorporating programming into his creative endeavors. This included automating the generation of videos and experimenting with editing software. 

“It wasn’t until the lockdown that I learned how to code. I started playing around and saw that you can do so much,” he said. 

Further inspired by internships focusing on machine learning and deep learning, he decided to pursue a degree in CS. He says that his roles at NCR and Tesla prepared him to work in the industry, equipping him with problem-solving skills. 

“I think internships and project-based classes are the best way to learn,” he said.

Fostering connections

Beyond his academic pursuits, Mehta was heavily involved in extracurricular activities and working as a CS 1332 Teaching Assistant (TA).

“When I came to Georgia Tech, I knew I wanted to be involved in something bigger than myself. I knew I wanted to be involved in extracurriculars,” he said. 

As an international student coming from Mumbai, India, he says that coming to a different country alone can be daunting. India Club, a student organization at Georgia Tech, provided a community. Eventually, Mehta was elected president of the club, which gave him a chance to give back.

“It’s full circle because I’ve gotten the chance to be that person who welcomes new freshmen in and helps them develop that community and home. It’s a tight-knit community that I’m really grateful for.”

Pratham with Buzz at a student event. Photo by Tyler Parker.
Pratham (left) partakes in a student event with Buzz. Photo by Tyler Parker.

During his tenures as club president of India Club and vice president of Data Science Club, the organizations have hosted some of their largest events. For example, the Hacklytics hackathon hosted by Data Science Club grew from about 150 people in 2022 to more than 500 in 2023 under Mehta’s leadership. Since then, the club has gone on to host about 1,000 students.

Although he says growing this event was one of his biggest achievements, he also found joy in helping others learn as a TA.

“It’s one of the things I always wanted to do because even in high school I really enjoyed teaching people,” he said. “It’s fun to be able to explain something to people in words they understand.”

Pratham Mehta receives an award. Photo by Kevin Beasley/ College of Computing.
Pratham receives an Outstanding Legacy Leadership award. Photo by Kevin Beasley/ College of Computing. 

Promoting collaboration through research

Collaboration and helping others are sentiments that also extend to Mehta’s research. From his freshman year, he delved into work with the Polo Club of Data Science. 

His current project, ARCollab, is a mobile augmented reality (AR) tool to help cardiovascular surgeons better prepare for surgery. The tool allows doctors to view a 3D model of a patient’s heart in augmented reality on their device. 

It is an alternative to the traditional time-consuming and resource-intensive process of taking a 3D printout of a heart model and examining it. 

“We’ve been working on converting that to a collaborative version where multiple people can work on the same model in a shared AR session,” Mehta said.

He and his team will present this research at upcoming conferences, including the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group in Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI), which is being held next month in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Looking to the future

After graduation, Mehta plans to intern at Figma over the summer. He will then return to Georgia Tech to pursue a master’s degree. 

He advises future CS students is to have fun and not be afraid to make mistakes.

“Get that error in your code and make mistakes because that’s how you learn,” he said.