Ramakrishnan Sundara Raman recognized with MLK Spirit Award for leadership and vision

The MLK Spirit Awards are given annually to recognize members of U-M’s community who exemplify the leadership and vision of Dr. King.
Ramakrishnan Sundara Raman

For “exemplifying the leadership and vision of Dr. King,” CSE PhD candidate Ramakrishnan Sundara Raman was honored as part of U-M’s annual Martin Luther King Symposium with an MLK Spirit Award.

The MLK Spirit Awards are given annually to recognize members of U-M’s community “who exemplify the leadership and vision of Dr. King through their commitment to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Recipients include students, student organizations, staff, and faculty members.

“It means a lot for me to receive this award, and I would like to thank our entire lab who work very hard to address digital inequity,” Sundara Raman says. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work on impactful problems. “

Sundara Raman’s research focuses on measuring inequity and inaccessibility in the Internet. He works to measure large-scale network events such as Internet censorship, shutdowns, and geoblocking that disrupt the Internet for certain groups of Internet users. Raman leads the development and operation of one of the largest global observatories of Internet censorship, Censored Planet. This work has helped bring to light several important findings that protect Internet access for marginalized Internet users, and his study of censorship events have resulted in tangible policy change. For example, Sundara Raman’s work protected secure access to the Internet for millions of users in Kazakhstan.

Sundara Raman is an active member of the Internet freedom community, which focuses on ensuring a free and open Internet for all, and has participated and presented at digital rights conferences such as RightsCon.  Ram has also served twice as the Outreach Chair of the CSE Graduate Student Organization (CSEG), where he organized several outreach educational activities for middle and high school students. He started a collaboration with FEMMES, through which he organized multiple educational workshops in computer science for underrepresented gender groups. 

“I am very pleased to see Ram receive this honor,” says professor Westley Weimer, Chair of CSE’s DEI Committee. “He supports his community as a leader in CSEG, has been involved in efforts to have graduate students provide evaluations for application essays, attends our student-staff-faculty DEI Committee meetings, and has advocated for student safety and consequences for faculty misconduct. Our community benefits from Ram’s compassion and hard work, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with him.”