Aum Upadhyay

Aum is an aspiring innovator from Bellevue, Washington who enjoys learning math, science, finance, and entrepreneurship. At Columbia, Engineering Aum is excited to pursue computer science and chemistry.

After multiple independent research projects, Aum was enthused by lab-work and hands-on experimentation and decided to embark on his most notable research project. After months of scientific discovery at the Garcia Summer Research Program, Aum was a key contributor in the creation of a partially biodegradable solar cell which was over 20% more efficient and 23% less toxic to the environment when compared to industry standards. He also helped develop a novel machine learning algorithm to autonomously calculate crystal grain areas from Scanning Electron Microscopy images. This led to his being a co-author of a research paper accepted for publication in the IEEE and being invited to Materials Research Society Symposia as a junior. Presenting his research as a Senior at Intel ISEF, Aum won 3rd place in his category.

Beyond chemistry and science, Aum has developed an interest in the worlds of finance and entrepreneurship. Through his school’s DECA club, Aum fostered his passion and developed the ability to quickly devise solutions to corporate issues. As a Junior, Aum participated in the Business Finance Series, winning 1st place in his area and state. He has also represented the United States at the international conference and ranked 2nd.

His most satisfying adventure throughout high school, however, was in founding his own non-profit Science For Community (SFC) as a Freshman. He invented a unique buzzer-based Science game format called Buzz Bowl. To raise STEM awareness he conducts games which reward perseverance and consistent performance. Since its inception Aum has motivated over 1000 students and raised over $10,000 for his school district, gaining the attention of the Bellevue Schools Foundation, the mayor of Bellevue, and the Governor of Washington state.

Outside his extracurricular activities and academics, Aum is a massive MCU fan. He is enthusiastic about meeting the diverse student body and developing his passions at Columbia.