Pragun Vohra

Innovator. Scientist. Engineer. Leader.


Download Resume




MIT Sloan

Supplemental Application



By day, I'm a software engineer with experience creating web-based mobile and desktop platforms from scratch, but by night I'm an inventor and tinkerer, constantly pushing myself to increase my skillset as I carve out solutions.

I have a background in Computer Engineering and Biology, receiving my bachelors from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2011, where I also completed a four year research thesis investigating alternative energy. With the free time that I did have, I co-led a sold-out national dance competition, focusing mostly on the technical and financial aspects, but also managing a team of 16 board members and over 20 volunteers.

I have five years of full-time work experience, split between my time at Applied Predictive Technologies, a mid-size business analytics software firm that was recently acquired by MasterCard for $600 million, and Hurdlr, a startup focused on a finance management mobile application for entrepreneurs. I am particularly interested in front-end development: creating cutting-edge interactions and simplifying complex information for users.

I love pushing myself and others to innovate. To date, my teams have won six company hackathon awards ranging from "Best Execution" to "Most Valuable Project" and, at a Startup Weekend, our team won an honorable mention. That said, I firmly believe that to make an outsized impact, it is vital to build, support, and empower outstanding teams.

I also provide technical support, administrative assistance, and create products for our family business, Histoserv, Inc., one of the largest histology laboratories in North America, currently serving over 1,000 clients from top universities, government institutions, and the private sector.

I'm an avid obstacle racer, organizing teams for over 12 obstacle races at this point (including, but not limited to Tough Mudder and Spartan Trifecta races), enjoy skiing, and have spent over 1,500 hours clocked in at TechShop, a membership-based makerspace.

If you see anything that interests you and have a few questions or if you just want to say "hello," contact me!

Work Experience

October 2016 – Present

  • Managing team of 7 to develop a product to help clients optimize pricing strategy
  • Engineering highly responsive front-end infrastructure for pricing strategy platform
  • Interviewing intern- and full-time candidates for engineering positions

Histoserv, Inc.
Lab Assistant, Software Engineer, & Technical Support

June 2004 – Present

  • Created payroll platform and paycheck calculator (saving 2 hrs/week), website, & antibody inventory tracking software
  • Created a sub-$25 device with paired software for cellular level digital microscopy for use with DSLR cameras
  • Managed computer and network infrastructure, and employee training on developed software

Hurdlr, Inc.
Software Engineer

October 2015 – September 2016

  • Spearheaded mobile application development efforts for a fast-growing user base (2K to 90K downloads)
  • Collaborated with 2 interns on mileage tracker redesign (reduced battery usage by 75%) and in-app purchase support
  • Increased engineering productivity by 2 hrs/day through tactical training of customer success team on created tools
  • Drove integrations with and contributed to code-bases for Branch Metrics and Zendrive, improving reliability for all parties

Applied Predictive Technologies
Lead Front-End Software Engineer

February 2014 – October 2015

  • Managed 10-person effort to create fully customizable test-summarizing dashboard, used 10K+ times by 175+ clients
  • Supervised 7-member team to build platform to design business tests for a foreign client, now used by 40+ clients
  • Led 6-member group to create key product to calculate ROI of business tests, successfully achieving contractual targets
  • Designed, tailored, and ran 3 training sessions on web development and debugging for 75+ engineers, interns, and QAs
  • Led APT's Maryland recruiting team for 3 years, devising best practices and increasing hiring by 3x with 0% turnover

Applied Predictive Technologies
Front-End Software Engineer

February 2012 – February 2014

  • Developed common look and feel of product layout, working with third-party design company, now used across all APT products
  • Spearheaded mobile front-end efforts for company's first mobile product
  • Created numerous common components used across APT's product suite, accelerating development for engineering team

Internship Experience

Software Development Engineer Intern

June 2011 – August 2011

  • Engineered a testing suite to ensure minimal downtime for millions of users on Windows Live Messenger
  • Intern Ambassador for UMD: led info sessions and application strategy sessions on campus
  • Starred as 1 of 8 interns (out of 1000+) selected to star in a 12-episode recruiting web series "My Intern Life"

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summer Intern - Information Technology Lab

June 2010 – August 2010

  • Developed a new file format for the storage and transmission of standardized of emergency responder procedures and credentialing

National Institutes of Health (NINDS)
Lab Assistant Intern - NINDS

June 2009 – August 2009

  • Assisted PI in organizing and classifying developing neural cells to find their true point of divergence
  • Conducted preparatory lab procedures, analyzed experiment results, and crafted montages of fluorescent specimens

The MITRE Corporation
GIS Analyst Intern

June 2007 – August 2007

  • Incorporated GIS analyses to prototype programmatically-driven emergency response procedures to a hoof-and-mouth disease outbreak at the local, state, and federal levels.

The MITRE Corporation
Software Engineer Intern

June 2006 – August 2006

  • Developed an in-house search engine to find geospatial files by feature (e.g. lat/long, points of interest, etc.)


September 2007 – December 2011

BS in Computer Engineering, magna cum laude
BS in Biological Sciences, magna cum laude
Four-year research on increasing algal biofuel production
GPA 3.95/4.00

September 2004 – June 2007

Magnet Program for Math, Science, & Computer Science
GPA 3.89/4.00

Awards and Recognition

  • Hack & Learn 7: Pricelessness Award for best data integration with MasterCard post-acquisition by MasterCard, 2015
  • Hack & Learn 6: Wow Factor for a tool to visualize database usage, a la WinDirStat, 2015
  • Hack & Learn 4: Wow Factor for creation of an animated map of the APT Index, 2014
  • Hack & Learn 3: Most Valuable Project Award, selected for H&L3 project's company impact, beat 31 teams, 2014
  • Hack & Learn 3: Wow Factor for a "wallboard display system" that showed product usage, data managed, etc., 2013
  • Hack & Learn 2: Best Execution for an alternate, one-stop landing page for clients, 2013
  • Honorable Mention for a fully-functioning prototype of a geriatrics-focused wearable that enables users to request assistance, 2015
  • Second Place for creating a tool that determines the "degrees of freedom" between Wikipedia pages, 2010
  • First Place for building an application to quickly search and index Wikipedia, 2009
  • Magna cum laude in both Engineering and Biology degrees, awarded to top 5% of class, 2011
  • Gemstone Program citation for presentation and defense of a 4-year team-based thesis on clean energy, 2011
  • Presidential scholarship for past academic performance, extracurricular activities, and application, 2007
  • Engineering scholarship for past academic performance, extracurricular activities, and application, 2007
  • Maryland Higher Education Committee scholarship for secondary school and PSAT performance, 2007

Not one to accept current standards, I'm always trying to push my skillset via various independent projects. I usually try to choose projects that would require me to learn new skills or practice old ones, but that are at least somewhat out of my comfort level. Below, you will find a selected list of these projects. Stay tuned - some of my upcoming projects include an automated lab slide stainer and a glove-friendly waterproof bluetooth music remote armband for skiiers!

Objective: To practice my hardware computer engineering skills that I hadn't used since college, and learn woodworking, metalworking, wiring speakers, and programming microcontrollers, among other skills. Most of this project was done by hand and it taught me the fundamental skills required for building a physical wood/electronic device.

Though I enjoyed making my smart video game arcade cabinet, my favorite games are racing games. Leveraging my new membership and computer-controlled cutters at a local makerspace, TechShop, I was able to focus on design rather than the actual cutting process and created a series of racing arcade game machines. To make it easy for users, I wrote a mobile-controlled game launcher so that the machines could be configured to race against each other with the click of a single button.

Since adult-sized racing machines don't normally work well for children, I made one of the racing machines fully configurable so that the pedals, steering wheel, seat, and monitor can be moved for children as young as two years old.

I used a CNC router for the main structure of each machine, a laser cutter for all of the plexiglass work, a waterjet cutter for the metal cutting, and a MIG welder for creating seat mounts. Along the way, I also tore apart one of the steering wheels to attach the "force feedback" wires to a vibration motor mounted under the seat so that in-game crashes and other feedback would be sent to the chair.

Drop me a line if you want to help test :)

This project is what really drove me towards joining the maker movement.

I had always wanted to create a video game arcade machine, but I never had the time or the money to actually build one. One cold January night a few years out of college, I decided that I should build one because (1) it would be a great refresher in practicing some of those hardware computer engineering skills that I hadn't used since college, and (2) it would be a fantastic way to learn new skills, such as woodworking, laminating, audio wiring, and working with microcontrollers. It was a phenomenal, if not overwhelming, project to learn from, but to date is one of my most proud accomplishments. About 95% of the project was done by hand.

With numerous arcade machine plans on the internet (dimensions, hardware, software), you might wonder what there is to innovate on? If you know me, you'll know that I don't do anything without improving it in some way. I had three solid thoughts in mind when designing and building this machine:

  • Great computer games that work in arcades are limited, so let's incorporate an XBOX 360 into the machine as well; but let's make sure that from the user's perspective, they have no idea that a computer is actually interfaced with a real Xbox inside!
  • The machine needs to be "smart" - that is, it needs to be remotely controllable via a mobile or other internet-connected device.
  • The machine interface should work with various input mechanisms - joysticks, light guns, and even a steering wheel.
  • Controls are difficult to remember for games, so this machine must have a second screen that shows game controls at all times.

Alas, the project was born...and two years later, it's almost complete. The thing about large projects is that they're never really complete, because there is always that "little bit more" that you want to do to make it better.

At our family business, Histoserv, Inc. (a histology lab), we had a problem: we needed to send images of full lab slides to clients in order to have them understand (and sometimes approve) of our tissue cutting, ordering, and staining results before we mass-process their remaining animal tissue. Though we have a $50,000 digital microscope, it would require hundreds of images to actually capture a composite picture of a full lab slide.

Then it occurred to me: DSLRs are fairly good quality, and a macro lens can go really far - perhaps all that we need to do to solve this problem is build a platform with an even backlight. I created a CAD model on the computer, went to TechShop, and used a waterjet cutter and MIG welder to cut out the steel parts for the stand and weld them together. Upon researching backlights, I found that you can purchase them for between $300 - $450; insane. I found an alternative on adafruit, for $2.75.

It turned out that the light source wasn't completely even, and this showed up in the pictures. Thus, I decided to resort to a (relatively) cheaper software solution, and wrote a user-friendly image processing program that would remove the vignetting effect that results from raw images by subtracting an image of a blank platform from an image of the lab slide.

Putting aside the cost of a DSLR, which has an extremely large range, the entire apparatus came to under $25.

Project Maker was a prototype website designed to allow people involved in the "maker" movement to have a place to showcase their creations and work logs, and offer professional and coaching services to other makers or clientele. The idea was to not only connect makers within communities, such as those who frequented the same makerspace, but also to connect them across the globe.

A primary purpose of the website to better familiarize myself with Bootstrap and responsive web design, while one of my teammates investigated Cordova, for creating a full mobile variant of the website. Surprisingly, from the work completed, the most challenging was creating a rich text editor, or modifying one for the website's needs, that would work well on desktops and mobile devices. The end solution was a version of tinyMCE with our own plugins for image/album management and posting.

The project was developed for about 3 months, however, with tight schedules at my full-time job and minimal resources to devote to the project, I was unable to develop the website past its basic functionality. Most of the legwork so far had been on the creation of a robust database.

With the right team, I would definitely be interested in picking it up again. If you want to help with the project, let me know and let's continue it together!

I will be adding more pictures in the future once I can get the past servers for it back up.

My aging grandmother from India visited our family in 2015, perhaps for the last time. As she was bedridden, she could never be left alone as she might need something, be it a trip to the bathroom or a glass of water. Watching the rest of my family struggle to support her, I knew there had to be some way to resolve the constraints that were put on my family.

That's the scenario that inspired "Angelus Smartbands," a Startup Weekend project that I had pitched and organized a team for at the 54-hour event. With a team of five, we managed to build a fully functioning prototype of a wearable with a single button. Once pressed, that button would send an alert with the patient's name and a Google Map link of their location to a consumer-configured list of mobile numbers. From there, the device facilitates a group chat between the patient's friends and family, and will light up an LED on the patient's wearable once a positive response is detected in the group chat - letting the patient know that help is on the way.

This project received an "honorable mention" at the Startup Weekend event.

One summer day during high school, I had trouble finding my copy of Epic Games' Brix, a classic puzzle game from 1992. As someone who will always pursue a challenge, I decided to it might be a fun challenge to try and create my own version of the game. That said, I won't strive to remake anything unless I can innovate on it, so this version supported much higher resolutions and included a level editor!

I had been programming for a few years at this point but had never really gotten into programming games - that required "real" gooey-looking user interfaces, must perform well on most computers, and have sound (!). I spent about 8-12 hours each day that summer working hard on creating this game. While I was working on the graphics and the game code, I reached out to a few friends whom I had met online years earlier - I needed to form partnerships for the game's music and sound effects. Luckily, a few of those I reached out to were extremely talented. This game ultimately received a publishing offer.

If you are interested in trying the game out, please drop me a line and I'll send you a free copy!

Whether it's pushing past your physical limits or putting together a large production, my best extracurricular experiences have been with other people. Through these experiences, we have all gotten stronger, more knowledgable, and closer. The activities on this page all include a video, so I hope you'll enjoy seeing what each experience has been all about!

Thanks for taking the time to watch my application video! I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it. If you would like further details on anything presented in the video, feel free to look around the website or send over an inteview invitation :). I look forward to hearing from you!

Tough Mudder is a type of obstacle race – there is little doubt in my mind that anything can bring people closer, faster, than competing in obstacle races together. While our core team pushed ourselves hardest at Tough Mudder, Spartan, and Savage Race events, we also ran multiple less-intense obstacle races as a means to encourage others to get into fitness and get into the sport. I set up gym training sessions and created videos as encouragement to have others join our team and join us on our fitness journey. You can see one of our earlier races in the video below, along with pictures from other race events.

Maryland Masti is an intercollegiate, traditional Indian folk dance competition held annually at the University of Maryland. It's a 501(c)(3) organization, with proceeds going towards various charities, including CRY (Child Rights and You). I was part of the executive board, and co-led the efforts during my senior year – handling $25k in revenue, creating and mentoring others on technical material, and managing 14 board members and about 20 volunteers. We successfully sold out all 626 seats of the auditorium and positioned the following years' leaders well. Below, you'll find a promotional video of a show lineup announcement and pictures from the events.

Low cost. saving dollars...

project maker man.

save yo wife save yo fam.

boxed in..get it.

Found anything that sparked your interest? Want to know anything else about me or my projects? I'd love to connect with you - let's chat!