Duke Engineering Graduate Student Drowns in New Jersey Swimming Pool

Ranjith Vasireddy, a Pratt School of Engineering doctoral student from India, drowned July 10 in a swimming pool in Basking Ridge, N.J., where he had a summer internship.

Vasireddy, who was 25, had just finished his first year as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He was a teaching assistant for Professor Kishor Trivedi. Vasireddy was working at Avaya Labs for the summer.

Police in Bernards Township in New Jersey said Vasireddy was living with a family there while interning at Avaya. Police said Vasireddy apparently went for a swim in the backyard pool of the host family. He was found several hours later when a family member returned home.

"It's a tragic situation, and our investigation leads us to believe it's nothing more than an accidental drowning," said police Lt. Edward Byrnes, head of the detective bureau, according to the Bernardsville News. The local medical examiner later confirmed the death was an accidental drowning.

Trivedi said he first met Vasireddy while on sabbatical at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. Vasireddy was working on his master's degree and took two classes from Trivedi. Over the course of the classes, Trivedi said he recognized Vasireddy as a promising student and encouraged him. He later applied for and was accepted at Duke’s Graduate School.

"He was a wonderful human being, very respectful, very sincere -- an ideal graduate student," Trivedi said. “He was working on availability modeling, failure prediction of software systems, and software rejuvenation.”

Vasireddy’s supervisor at Avaya, Sachin Garg, said Vasireddy “was doing brilliant work and we were all very excited about his internship.”

Vasireddy was from Krishna, Andhra Pradesh, India.