Energy Startup Co-op Fuels Quest for Knowledge, Offers Unexpected Benefits

Prithvi Ravi at Florrent co-op
Prithvi Ravi at florrent co-op

International MS student Prithvi Ravi has always felt a strong pull toward fundamental science - the pursuit of knowledge in its purest form. In high school he learned about the field of materials science and engineering, which has roots in both fundamental and applied science, offering Prithvi a broad academic landscape to explore. He decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in metallurgical and materials engineering in his home country of India, but he knew his quest for knowledge wasn’t finished when he graduated.

Prithvi looked to advanced degree options in the U.S., where he felt he could find the best exposure to international cultures, research opportunities, quality education, and flexible curriculum. The study of energy storage solutions, an emerging and critical domain, was of particular interest to him. “Aspiring to contribute to this cutting-edge field, I sought an institution at the forefront of both materials science and energy storage,” Prithvi says. “Drexel University, renowned for its pioneering work in these areas, quickly emerged as my top choice for pursing my master’s degree.”

Drexel’s graduate co-op program provided Prithvi an additional avenue for exploring the energy storage field. He recently completed a co-op at florrent, an energy startup working to develop ultracapacitors from carbon active materials derived from hemp biomass. At florrent, Prithvi worked in physically characterizing and electrochemically testing and studying these carbon active materials to make superior ultracapacitors for energy storage.

Along the way, Prithvi discovered that working at a startup company brought unexpected benefits to his co-op experience. “Working in tech startups constitutes a fast-paced environment where multiple activities unfold within short periods of time,” he notes. “You experience a lot of challenges and are given numerous opportunities to solve them. It is incredibly rewarding as you accumulate a lot of knowledge and there is a high potential where your work makes a direct impact in the company’s direction to success. As a part of a startup, your role extends beyond that of a traditional employee; you engage directly with senior leadership, participating in numerous discussions that fuel your learning and inspiration.”

After completing his MS degree, Prithvi plans to work in the energy storage industry for a while, then head back to school for a doctoral degree to embark on a career in academia. He sees numerous ways his co-op experience at a startup is preparing him for his path. “The co-op at florrent has helped me develop a lot of hands-on experience, scientific thinking, problem-solving skills, and exposure to diverse technologies and techniques. These experiences have equipped me with practical skills that have served as a crucial foundation for my transition into a career in the tech industry and the dynamic world of scientific discovery.”

Learn more about how you can make an impact with a graduate co-op experience.