ALCF’s Ramprakash is a ‘Motivator’ for young women in STEM
Sreeranjani “Jini” Ramprakash, deputy division director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), was traveling in her native India last summer when she won an award for an activity she finds personally and professionally gratifying — mentoring young women in STEM fields.
Ramprakash received the Motivator Award on Nov. 2 from the Association of Women in Science (AWIS) Chicago Chapter during a gala in Chicago. The annual award is given to a man or woman who demonstrates service, support and mentorship of women in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).
“This was quite unexpected,” Ramprakash said. “There are so many amazing role models at Argonne National Laboratory who do so much to motivate me. I always try to pay it forward the best that I can.”
Learning about the award while in India was appropriate. That’s where, years earlier, an elementary school math teacher in her hometown of Bangalore, India, picked her as a class monitor. That action boosted Ramprakash’s confidence and she soon pursued STEM subjects. Her love of math and science then took off.
She later earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Mangalore University in India and a master’s degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. She came to the Chicago area in 2005, where her brother lived at the time. She joined Argonne in 2009 and now lives in Naperville with her husband, Arvind, and their two children, Akshara and Sanshray.
As she continues to pay it forward, Ramprakash has been active on committees for the Women in Science and Technology (WIST) Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED) and the Science Careers in Search of Women (SCSW) programs, said Lydia Finney, WIST’s program initiator.
“WIST is very grateful for Jini’s enthusiasm and dedication in contributing to these programs for many years,” said Finney.
Ramprakash also motivates people by example, said Michael E. Papka, Argonne’s deputy associate laboratory director for Computing, Environment, and Life Sciences and ALCF director.
“Getting staff engaged and producing good results is one area where she really excels,” said Papka. “But she truly shines when she meets and mentors young people, both inside and outside of the lab. Jini has been involved in educational outreach for many years. She is a good ambassador for the ALCF, and a strong advocate for pursuing science careers in general.”
By Anna Marie Tomczyk