“Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I am a 3rd year PhD student working in field of system and software security. I am an Indian classical dancer, I love cooking specially baking cookies and cakes and I am an avid traveler at heart.
What # would define your life journey?
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I was 14 years old when NASA’s space shuttle Columbia exploded on its way back to the earth. The crew had an Indian lady named Kalpana Chawla. Everyone in India was sad that day and so was I. But then I read a lot about her and every life story of hers that I read inspires me to this day. I felt an emotional connection so strong that when I went to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia – where the Columbia shuttle memorial is – I had tears rolling down my eyes. She was and will always be my inspiration of coming from a small town in India and literally reaching for the stars.
Song that makes you want to dance:
Being from India, most of my favorite dance numbers are hindi songs, but a song most of us would dance to is J Lo’s On the Floor.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I belong to a simple middle income group family from India. It was a very difficult choice to move out of the country to study, as no girls in the family had ever done that, along with the move being an expensive affair. I received a few offers with 50% scholarship, but did not accept those as I did not want my grad school to be a burden on the family. I was working as a Member of Technical Staff in Adobe and prepared for my exams and admissions during the same time. It was tough to do after spending about 12 hours in office. But, I had the conviction to do it and it ended up with a where I am today. It took a long time to make sure that my parents were happy and convinced about me moving halfway around the globe for a program that required at least 5-6 years. But they have been extremely supportive since.
I would love to go back to India, to give it back to the community that helped me reach here. As much as I have seen, system and software security are not the primary fields of interest among Indian students. But, with more than a billion population and almost everyone having access to internet and with more and more transactions happening over the net, security should be a major concern. Thus I would love to start an small group who work on system security, ideally as a professor the same place I graduated from.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I am relatively young to give any such advice, but the one thing I have learned to follow in my life: never change your decisions and ambitions based on other people’s life choices. We as women tend to be over accommodating and understanding, which at times leads us to sacrifice our ambitions. This might sound necessary, but in the long run, the frustration of having to give up our wishes builds up and poisons the relationships of our life. Communication is the key, the more we talk to the people in our life, the easier it is find ways where everyone is happy.