This month, NC State faculty member and alum Dr. Bharat Balagopal is headed west to become a Battery Algorithms Engineer at Apple in Cupertino, CA. He will be developing and implementing battery monitoring and management algorithms for all Apple devices. Having worked on this technology during his Ph.D. and developing the Smart Battery Gauge at NC State, he says he is, “really charged up to work for Apple and make a difference in people’s lives!”
Bharat came to NC State in 2012 after completing his undergraduate work in India. After graduating with an M.S. (14) and a Ph.D. (19) in Electrical Engineering (ECE), he became a Post Doctoral Research Scholar at NC State. As a 2019 World-wide IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Under 35 Innovators Award Winner, a patent holder, and the 2020 Vice Chair of the Energy Storage Technical Committee in the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, Bharat has contributed greatly to both NC State and the greater engineering community.
NC State provided Bharat with activities to hone both his technical and interpersonal skills. As a graduate student and postdoc, he interacted with members from academia and industry and had opportunities to commercialize technologies developed at NC State. He fondly recalls Dr. Mo-Yuen Chow, a professor in the ECE Department, as, “the best mentor I had. He has always been a pillar of support and guided me to improve my technical and professional standing. He was both an advisor and a friend throughout my time at NC State.” He also holds Elizabeth James, Director, and Lauren Ball, Assistant Director for Programs in the Office of International Services, in high regard as great friends who helped him through tough times during his Ph.D. program. To pay this kindness forward, Bharat has been a member of the Office of International Service’s orientation team to help welcome new students to the school. He has also participated in one-on-one discussions with other international students, motivating them to join NC State for their post-graduate degree programs.
Where are they now?
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His time as a graduate student was not spent just on professional development though. Bharat loves cooking and baking. He considered becoming a baker as an alternative career or a fun retirement activity. So much so that he was one of the students selected to participate in the One Pack, One Kitchen program in August 2016 where he worked with University Dining Chefs to teach them some recipes from his home country.
His favorite memory at NC State was participating in his first Graduate Student Orientation in fall 2013, something he continued to enjoy doing throughout his career at NC State. He addressed a group of 1200 new students about culture shock and what to do to overcome it. “To relive some of my own experiences and then use that to help others was a great experience,” Bharat comments. He also started Global Pack, an organization of students from the US and other countries looking to branch out of their own nationality group to befriend and learn from students from other cultures.
When asked what advice he would give to recent graduates, Bharat offers this, “Put yourself out there! Get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Always build your connections and network. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it because when you ask for help and receive it, you’re more likely to do the same for someone else in the future! NC State has given you a great foundation, now it is up to you to build your amazing career on it!”
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