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Spotlight on Students: Ojus Patil

Ojus Patil leading a tour for prospective students and their parents.

  • Affiliation: Operations Research
  • Hometown: Westfield, N.J.

Ojus Patil wasn't sure what he wanted to do when he graduated from high school, but he figured engineering would provide a firm foundation for any career.

"I thought it would give me a very strong background in a lot of different technical areas, basically leave all of the doors open for me," he says. "When you have an engineering degree, people know that you've worked very hard and you have a defined skill set, and that you can learn very fast and I think that's useful everywhere."

Patil started out as a chemical engineering major. He liked chemistry, both his parents are chemists, and his sister is a chemical engineer. "I thought it would be a natural fit, but for me, it was not exactly what I wanted," he says.

He soon switched to operations research. "The parts of the intro to chemical engineering course that I really liked actually were more to do with optimization and that is a lot of what we do in OR," Patil says. "The intro to engineering courses is what really distinguishes Cornell in helping its engineering students determine where they want to go. To see the problem solving skills that would lead you to be successful within that major, that's a very smart idea."

Now, Patil is considering getting a business degree and is taking some courses at Cornell's Johnson School of Business. "So I can see if the mathematical background that I have would really help out, or if I want to go into research," he says.

Patil works for Cornell's Campus Relations, taking calls in the Information and Referral Center and leading tours for prospective students and their parents. "It's very rewarding getting to interact with all these people and trying to demonstrate why I like Cornell so much," he says. "It's very fun and very useful as well. I think it's really helped my verbal communication."

Over winter break, Patil traveled to Humjibre, Ghana with Cover Africa, to distribute mosquito nets and educate people about malaria prevention. "Many children thought you could get malaria by not washing your hands," he says.  "It's one of the most challenging things I've ever done."

To help Engineering Career Services with its spring fair for job recruiters, Patil started the Engineering Career Fair Team. "Founding an organization I think was very valuable because it absolutely stretched my comfort zone," he says. "It's definitely a learning experience from which I've benefited a lot."

This summer, Patil will be an intern at the Nielsen Company working in data management. "I'll be in an operations role trying to understand how to make that process more efficient,"  he says. "I'm looking forward to seeing how my expertise from the fields of operations and statistics and computer programming intertwine with my business knowledge and my experiences outside the classroom at Cornell."

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