Raju Derek Bok

Ramakrishna Raju, founder of the Indian American nonprofit Vision-Aid, receiving the Harvard University Derek Bok Public Service Prize. (screen grab of YouTube/Vision-Aid USA)

Harvard University June 1 announced that Ramakrishna Raju, Indian American founder and executive director of Vision-Aid, was honored with the Derek Bok Public Service Prize for 2019.

Raju received the honor May 30, according to a Vision-Aid news release.

The Derek Bok Public Service Prizes are prestigious awards given at Harvard University's commencement each year to graduating students from the Harvard Extension School. It carries a medal, a citation and a cash prize of $3,000. The award recognizes creative initiatives in community service or long-standing records of civic achievement, the release said.

The Derek Bok Public Service Prize was instituted in honor of the former president of Harvard University, Derek C. Bok, for his interest in encouraging public service by all Harvard students. 

Raju has decided to give the cash award of this prize to Vision-Aid, saying he is grateful for the recognition it brings to the cause of Vision-Aid and its many volunteers and beneficiaries. 

Raju was selected by the Rotary International Foundation as an ambassador scholar, and with this scholarship he successfully completed his master’s degree in computer science from Pennsylvania State University.

Subsequently, he has been working in the high-tech industry in the Boston area, with most of his work in the field of IT architecture, design and planning for the United States Department of Transportation.

Raju, who works for a leading engineering services firm in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, area, has successfully led several cutting-edge modernization projects at the Federal Aviation Administration and other transportation domains, and has publications to his credit, his bio notes. Raju began his journey at Harvard, with a master’s degree in information management systems at the Harvard Extension School in 2014, and graduated in May 2019.

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