Virginia Tech graduate student Siddhartha Roy is passionate about water issues facing the world.

An engineer, poet, activist, photographer, and researcher, Roy, of Palanpur, India, will graduate Dec. 19 with a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the College of Engineering.

Roy, who will continue his education at Virginia Tech as a doctoral student in civil engineering, conducts research on flow-induced failures in drinking water infrastructure, focusing on erosion corrosion of copper pipes in hot water systems.

“I got a free t-shirt at a conference that says, ‘I am the future of water.’ I really like that quote because it embodies my passion for the environment and especially water,” said Roy. “Water availability and quality remain critical issues for large segments of the world’s population in developing countries, and I desire to contribute to this cause.”

One of the many ways Roy gives back is through his work with Engineers Without Borders. The Virginia Tech chapter is designing a wastewater system for a boarding school in Guatemala. Right after commencement, Roy and his team will embark on their first implementation trip this winter.

“The school remains closed for about two months during the school year because of water scarcity," said Roy. "The Engineers Without Borders team from Virginia Tech has been active for several years, and only now have we come very close to implementing the wastewater system.”

Currently, the school’s wastewater is dumped into concrete pits in its backyard, creating contamination issues for groundwater in the area. The wastewater system that Roy and his team are creating at the boarding school, which currently houses more than 150 students and staff, will allow the school to double its capacity and foster a cleaner environment for education.

“Through my experience, I realize the importance of a purpose in life or even the quest for one. I personally want my life to have meaning and, therefore, try to find ways to make that happen,” said Roy. “Nothing encapsulates this aspiration better than Virginia Tech’s motto: Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).”

Roy is deeply involved in both the academic and artistic sectors of Virginia Tech.

After receiving his bachelor's degree at Nirma University in India, Roy said he "decided to come to Virginia Tech because of the reputation, the flourishing intellectual and experiential capital, and a chance to see the world.”

In addition to his studies in engineering, Roy is also interested in science communication and public education, the role of mindfulness in human morality, and creative writing. He is a science blogger for Virginia Tech Water INTERface, and he most recently became the social politics editor for The Interloper, an LGBT-focused magazine for the Virginia Tech community.

In 2013, Roy’s original poem won first prize in the Graduate School’s writing, art, and photography contest. This year, he took first prize again—this time for photography.

He is proficient in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Gujarati, preparing himself for inevitable world travel, as he hopes to enter the international development sector following his doctorate program.

Written by Holly Paulette.