SPOTLIGHT STORIES

Vithulan Suthakaran

Vithulan Suthakaran

Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering
vsuthakaran2015@fau.edu

Vithu Suthakaran is graduating with his bachelors degree in civil engineering with honors at the age of 19. He was recently was accepted into the number 1 civil engineering graduate program in the nation at UC Berkeley.

His academic journey started when he was 15 years old where he became a full time college student at FAU High. At the age of 17, Vithu filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office where he was listed as the sole inventor. Additionally, that same year, he was also named Undergraduate Research of the Year for FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

From a young age, he always been fascinated by the concept of using engineering to solve environmental issues. Over the past four years, he has been working on an independent environmental engineering research project that aims to seek a solution for climate change. Specifically, he has developed an artificial leaf that captures the carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere and converts it into a source of oxygen. The artificial leaf has a 98% efficiency and costs approximately 50 cents for one single leaf. The applications for this device range from utilizing it in residential areas, developing countries, and even extra-terrestrial habitats for a source of oxygen. Since he was in 7th grade he has dreamed about competing at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair with over 1,800 students from 81 countries. When he was 17, his work on the artificial leaf landed him a spot in this competition in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where he received fourth in the world in the environmental engineering category. He has also worked on a research project regarding oil spills, where he designed an underwater robot to collect oil from water bodies. With this project, he received first place in the FAU WAVE research competition.

Vithu’s long term academic goal is to obtain his PhD in civil engineering. After this, he aspires to start up his own environmental engineering company where he develops devices for issues involving water and air pollution. In future he hopes to streamline these devices to developing countries in need. When Vithu looks back on his undergraduate years at FAU, he is grateful for the opportunities that the university has provided to help jump start his passion in the field.