2017 Incoming Grad Series: Athith Krishna

by Nicole Poletto, Professional Development Peer
Monday, September 25, 2017 9:35 AM

The 2017 Incoming Grad Series continues, featuring backstories and fun facts on 8 students who are part of our largest and most diverse incoming class in recent memory.

Athith Krishna is an incoming Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Bangalore, India. He received his B.S. from Cornell University where he fostered his interest in semiconductors as a Cornell-Tata scholar. The strong research focus at UCSB and personal lab connections drew him to continue his research as a Gaucho.

Read on to learn more about ​Athith's childhood in India and how he ​was the youngest person to be invited to participate at the Mental Calculation World Cup in Leipzig, Germany.


Athith was born in Mysore, India, and spent the first 9 years of his life there until his family moved to Bangalore. He was raised by a single mother in what he describes as a lower-middle-class, super-conservative family comprised of his grandparents and his mother. ​His mother dreamed of becoming an engineer and encouraged Athith to pursue it himself. It turns out, when he started studying engineering at Cornell University, he loved it and is excited to continue his studies to pursue his Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering.


Athith was drawn to UCSB due to the reputation of the faculty and program and personal connections from his time at Cornell. He is looking forward to making life-long friendships all while working on the high-precision and extremely sophisticated research tools at UCSB. ​Not only does he plan to make a contribution to the field of semiconductors, he also plans to visit the beach and soak up some sun.



His interest in semiconductors arose when he was in 11th grade during a seminar series at the Indian Institute of Science. As he learned more about semiconductors during his time at Cornell, he designed his undergraduate experience to give him a deep understanding of the fundamental material properties of semiconductors, whether electronic, physical, or chemical. At UCSB, he plans to work in the physics and electronic properties of Materials, specifically the growth of the wonder material, gallium nitride, and its applications to high-power electronics and optoelectronics. 



Athith loves playing racquetball and squash in his free time or jamming on his guitar. He enjoys hiking and trekking and is looking forward to exploring the Santa Barbara area. He also has an amazing memory. When he was 13, he was one of the fastest mental calculators in the world and was the youngest person to be invited to participate at the Mental Calculation World Cup in Leipzig, Germany. He can also narrate the entire dialogues of all James Bond movies starting with Dr. No and ending with Spectre.  

Welcome, ​​Athith!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is ​​Krista Lucas, an incoming ​student in E​ducation who is returning to graduate school after a 10-year break from academia.