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Humans of Harker: Reformatting reality

Ashwin Reddy explores the world through intellect

%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99m+looking+for+a+diversity+of+perspective.+I+think+that%E2%80%99s+something+that+I%E2%80%99ve+found+more+value+in+through+film%2C+through+discussions%2C+and+that+type+of+stuff.+Its+just+that+I+want+to+hear+a+lot+of+different+opinions+so+that+I+can+form+the+best+opinions+for+myself%2C%E2%80%9D+Ashwin+Reddy+%2812%29+said.
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Humans of Harker: Reformatting reality

“I’m looking for a diversity of perspective. I think that’s something that I’ve found more value in through film, through discussions, and that type of stuff. Its just that I want to hear a lot of different opinions so that I can form the best opinions for myself,” Ashwin Reddy (12) said.

“I’m looking for a diversity of perspective. I think that’s something that I’ve found more value in through film, through discussions, and that type of stuff. Its just that I want to hear a lot of different opinions so that I can form the best opinions for myself,” Ashwin Reddy (12) said.

Aditya Singhvi

“I’m looking for a diversity of perspective. I think that’s something that I’ve found more value in through film, through discussions, and that type of stuff. Its just that I want to hear a lot of different opinions so that I can form the best opinions for myself,” Ashwin Reddy (12) said.

Aditya Singhvi

Aditya Singhvi

“I’m looking for a diversity of perspective. I think that’s something that I’ve found more value in through film, through discussions, and that type of stuff. Its just that I want to hear a lot of different opinions so that I can form the best opinions for myself,” Ashwin Reddy (12) said.

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Clad in a casual button-up shirt and with a brown book bag slung around his shoulder, Ashwin Reddy (12) occasionally glances off into the distance as he stands in the lobby of Nichols. Delving into the intricacies of Lagrangian mechanics, his hands gesture to create invisible diagrams in the air as he expounds on another one of the countless mini-projects and topics that have captivated his attention.

Ashwin enjoys engrossing himself in areas of study that strike him as particularly interesting, often spending time researching concepts mentioned in passing during class.

“He goes above and beyond compared to other people to dive into a concept to the point where it seems like he’s spending an inordinate amount of effort trying to understand it, but when you think about it, it just shows how committed he is to understand it from different perspectives and different angles,” close friend Ashwin Rammohan (12) said.

This dedication to learning translates into a love for teaching for Ashwin, whether that be in the form of ardently explaining his latest interests to his friends or creating videos to consolidate his own knowledge.

“I think I’m very invested in just learning. And explaining and teaching. One thing I’ve found is that you can only really understand a concept you learn in a class if you can explain it to someone else easily and very simply. And there’s a fun in distilling what you’ve learned into something that someone else can understand,” Ashwin said.

Ashwin has focused a significant portion of his energy in the field of robotics, an area he has been active in since the third grade. From participating in First Lego League (FLL) tournaments in middle school to writing articles about the applications of artificial intelligence to the field of robotics for Harker Horizon, his journey through robotics has been a defining characteristic .

“The truth is, I just find it interesting. I’m not sure I have a reason for it,” Ashwin said. “I guess [it] depends more on your personal preference, but I think it would be pretty cool to have a robot butler.”

The turning point for Ashwin’s involvement in the field came during a robotics symposium he attended in his sophomore year. After feeling as though he lacked the necessary knowledge to belong when he attended the conference in his freshman year, Ashwin returned with more knowledge of the subject. The simple act of asking a professor a question at the symposium cemented Ashwin’s belief that he belonged.

“Its a community and anybody can be [a] part of it. Nobody really cares that you’re in high school. If you know what you’re doing [and] you have some interesting ideas, you’re part of the community,” Ashwin said. “Asking the questions was kind of the validation of ‘Yeah, you can be a part of this community.’”

Ashwin also flourishes in communities beyond the boundaries of traditional STEM fields. He is an active member of the Boy Scouts, and he enjoys casually experimenting in the kitchen. Above all, however, is Ashwin’s fascination with film. He started a film club with Ashwin Rammohan earlier in the school year and enjoys analyzing a diverse range of movies, especially those of the neo-noir and hyperreal genres.

“You have to train yourself. There’s a difference between going to the movies to just watch a movie to relax, and ‘I’m watching this to understand how this was made, or what the intent was,’” Ashwin said.

Ashwin’s interest in film originally sprouted out of a disinterest in English and art classes. In his freshman year, he did not appreciate the practical value of literature classes and thus chose film as an alternative art form that engaged him far more than reading did.

“I chose film just because I’ve probably watched more movies than I have read books,” Ashwin said. “I got really interested in it and it helped me out in English classes, where I learned to transfer those same ideas over.”

His Honors American Literature teacher, Brigid Miller, commented on how Ashwin’s interest in film translated to the classroom environment.

“Ashwin was unafraid to disagree with everyone in the room [which was] something I found admirable,” Miller said. “I love his passion for film. He’s knowledgeable about film in a way that initially took me by surprise. He brings that same discerning eye to his study of literature.”

Ashwin’s unique approach to English exemplifies his receptivity to a wide range of often unusual ideas. For example, he practices the philosophy of minimalism by disconnecting from social media, citing the various examples of the destructive nature of such technology.

“I just feel like I’m more tuned into what’s going on around me physically rather than virtually. Like I used to be on Reddit a lot and it’s fun but its like you kind of wonder [that] this is time that could go toward pursuing a passion or a hobby,” Ashwin said.

Another instance of this characteristic lies in Ashwin’s phone. Ashwin has grayscaled his phone, thus minimizing distractions. By desaturating the display of his screen, he mitigates the effects of bright-red notifications designed to grab the attention of users.

“It is helpful, right, like you’d like to see how many missed emails you have. But at the same time, you’re being taken advantage of because [for] a lot of these services, their motive is not to help you as much as it is for them to get a profit,” Ashwin said. “I think it’s all about the intent behind what they’re doing.”

As with his devoid-of-color screen and break from social media platforms, Ashwin is unafraid to choose the unbeaten path that best fits him.  

“A lot of his approach to life, it has the same kind of methodology, where you dive into it intellectually and try and reformat in a way you understand it,” Ashwin Rammohan said.

Ashwin’s inquisitiveness, a trait that his friends admire, has played a large role in reformatting his own life in this manner,

“If I had to pick one kind of characteristic about him that most stands out it would be that intellectual curiosity,” close friend Akshay Ravoor said. “He holds very strong opinions, but I think the key thing about him is that he’s also willing to change them.”

Ashwin echoed this ideology of discovering the optimum choices and opinions for himself through broad-mindedness.  

“I’m looking for a diversity of perspective. I think that’s something that I’ve found more value in through film, through discussions, and that type of stuff. It’s just that I want to hear a lot of different opinions so that I can form the best opinions for myself,” Ashwin said.

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Humans of Harker: Reformatting reality