Prawat Nagvajara was the first Winter Olympian from Thailand, competing in 2002 and 2006 as a cross-country skiier. Although born in Thailand, and growing up there, Nagvajara studied in the United States, earning his college degree and masters’ degree in electrical engineering from Northeastern University. He later earned a PhD in computer engineering at Boston University in 1989. Nagvajara became a professor of computer and electrical engineering at Drexel University with research interests in reconfigurable computing, field programmable gate arrays (FPGA), and custom computing.
Nagvajara learned to ski in the United States and was inspired to try for the Olympics after seeing Kenya’s Philip Boit ski in 1998 at Nagano. Nagvajara trained in Vermont with a Bulgarian coach and helped set up the Thailand Ski Federation to allow him to compete at the Winter Olympics.