Born in 1950 in Nellore, India, Upendra Chivukula grew up in Chennai. He studied electrical engineering and earned a degree at the College of Engineering, Guindy.
In 1974, he moved to the United States as a graduate student, first living in Queens and eventually settling in Somerset, New Jersey. He earned a Master's degree from City College of New York in electrical engineering. He went on to a career in engineering, project management and information technology for companies including AT&T Bell Labs.
He served on the Franklin Township Council from 1998 to 2005, including time as the deputy mayor and mayor. In 2001, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, becoming the first South Asian American to serve in the Assembly. From 2002 to 2014, he represented the 17th Legislative District in the Assembly. In 2014, he began serving as a commissioner on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU).
In part one, Chivukula discusses his family's history, upbringing and education in India, moving to America, education at CCNY, and early professional career. In part two, he delves into his professional career, political career, and time as a commissioner on the NJBPU, focusing on current energy policies and green initiatives in the state.
The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.