Charu Sirvastava spotlight

A Thirst for Knowledge

photo:: charu srivastava

Charu Srivastava

After graduating with a degree in computer engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Allahabad India in 2006, Charu Srivastava worked as an IT consultant in India and Spain.

While the work was rewarding, Charu had a thirst for knowledge that could only be quenched by returning to school for an advanced degree.

After talking to Bren School professor Alex Nicolau, Charu learned about the Master of Science in Information and Computer Science with a concentration in Embedded Systems offered by the Bren School.

The program provides students the unique opportunity to study for two five-week sessions in the United States at UC Irvine during the summer and for three quarters at the Istituto di Cibernetica Eduardo Caianiello in Naples, Italy.

“My family put in resources and energy into giving me the best education all my life. It was my Dad’s vision to see me graduate from an American University," Charu said. "I chose UC Irvine because I wanted to be a part of the University of California. The innovation, research and the great exposure in the field of technology I got as a student while studying here, is phenomenal. I am living my father’s dream and it makes me and my family very happy.”

In addition to courses, students work on embedded system research projects as part of their thesis and can obtain a Master’s degree in as little as 15 months.

“Coming back to university was very refreshing,” Charu said. “The freedom of thought, the thirst for knowledge, the drive to conduct research with commitment and self motivation were things I learned from my fellow students and faculty in this program.”

The research Charu is conducting for her thesis focuses on trying to analyze the virtual machine on embedded devices.

“The web browsers on mobile phones or PDA's are not very efficient, they can use more improvement,” Charu said. “I’m analyzing the factors that can give the user an internet browsing experience on their mobile device similar to the one they experience on their desktop.”


Charu found the transition to life in the United States was seamless.

“I didn’t feel like an outsider at all,” Charu said. “I felt very much part of UCI.”

Charu lives in Arroyo Vista, an on campus housing community that features 40 houses, each with 8, 12, or 16 bedrooms and a large shared kitchen and living/dining areas.

“The housing is very nice and my roommates are great people too,” Charu said. “The accommodation is very comfortable.”

Check out our spotlight page to read more profiles of Bren School students, faculty and alumni.

Charu especially enjoys relaxing at the Starbucks in the UC Irvine student center and taking dancing classes, playing racquetball, swimming, and rock climbing at the Anteater Recreation Center, a 89,000 square foot facility that includes a 10,000 square foot weight room, aerobics and martial arts rooms, three court gymnasium with an elevated running track, one court rounded gym, outdoor lap and leisure pool, a rock climbing wall, and three racquetball courts.

Despite the amenities and laid back living, Charu still misses the food and sights she experienced in Italy.


On track to graduate in December of 2008, Charu would like to join a company in the United States that works on embedded systems solutions and feels that her education has prepared her well for any career path related to computer science.

“This program has prepared me to face the challenges of technologies in any company related to Computer Science.” Charu said.

Despite the intense commitment of resources and time, Charu remarks that her time in the Master’s program is one of the most memorable of her life and would recommend the program to anyone else considering pursuing a Master’s degree in embedded systems.

“I think for anyone who is even the least bit interested in technology and is curious of the world should enroll to spend at least one year in an MS program,” Charu said. “It opens whole new domains, exposes you to a lot of aspects of the field and brings a level of maturity to your knowledge of the field. It makes one appreciate the works of people in the past and motivates you to contribute something for the future.”

- Eric Kowalik