Atharv Agrawal is a Munk One graduate double-majoring in PCJ and Economics with a focus in Data Analysis. This summer, he produced a podcast on the experiences of COVID-19 with friends.

Atharv was a part of the Munk One program, which he cites as the defining experience of his first year at university: being surrounded by some of the most eager minds from across the world made for a rather enriching experience. He found that this was the kind of environment that was conducive to his growth, so he decided to apply for the PCJ program. His choice of also pursuing Economics was more philosophical; he explains that life is a summation of our decisions, so in that sense, economics is a study of human life itself.

Atharv describes the first few weeks as an enthralling experience. He has found the PCJ community to be incredibly tight-knit and welcoming. This is important especially in these times, when it is more difficult to connect with people. He enjoys the wholesome tone for the program that Professor Bertoldi has set, with every class starting with a music session and ending with a poem and meditation session, both of which are somehow always incredibly relevant to that week’s conversation.

When Atharv’s summer plans did not pan out as he had envisioned due to COVID-19, he decided that to spend the summer doing things he never would have imagined otherwise. Atharv ended up shooting 10 episodes of a video podcast with Eli Meadow and fellow PCJ student and Munk One alumnus, Abhay Singh Sachal, called “Different Boat, Same Storm: Kindling Empathy Amidst a Global Pandemic.” They spoke to people from all walks of life: poets, adventurers, social policymakers, life coaches, entrepreneurs, tour guides, and youth change-makers. Through this experience, they have learned and grown so much that they are already working on Season 2!

Aside from podcasting, Atharv is a student consultant at the IBM Pro Bono Initiative, a consulting program run by IBM Canada wherein university students are matched up with local non-profit organizations and guided by IBM mentors to strategize and solve complex business challenges.  He is also on the executive team of Global Spark, a national, student-run initiative that exposes university students, with an emphasis on STEM students, to global issues and multidisciplinary thinking. He is leading Global Spark’s podcast, which is focused on bringing global experts to share their thinking and experiences on the importance of multidisciplinary problem solving in tackling global challenges and incorporating social impact into their careers. He serves as the Academic Partnerships Coordinator, responsible for engaging and working directly with faculty members to create curricula that fosters such interdisciplinary thinking and liaising with them to incorporate these curricula in university courses.

Atharv is also participating in the Research Opportunity Program at the Munk School. His project, under the guidance of Professor Teresa Kramarz, is titled “The Politics of Environmental Disasters and the Production of Social Risk.” They are  investigating how social vulnerability translates into community resilience in the face of various kinds of environmental disasters.

After graduating from PCJ, Atharv wants to work in a field that combines economics, international development, social impact, and innovation. He has yet to decide whether to pursue this from an academic route or an industry-based route, but he is hoping that his time in university will help realize what he is best suited for.

A fun fact about Atharv is that he is left-leaning ambidextrous!