“The mere fact of being able to call your job your passion is success in my eyes.” – Alicia Vikander
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hey, my name is Akira Sewnath and I’m currently majoring in Computer Engineering at the University of Florida. The most interesting things about me are: 1) I was born in South Africa and 2) I have an identical twin. I love gardens and augmented reality and I’m always curious about ways in which nature and technology can intertwine.
FUN FACT: I have this weird hatred for VR/AR goggles and I think it’s because I want to interact with the digital world like Tony Stark in his workshop. Do you see him wearing any goggles? NO.
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
Google Maps. Recently it’s also been Marco Polo since I’m currently away my family.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Oprah Winfrey inspires me so much. She’s someone who has risen above a horrific past and destructive stereotypes to strive towards her life purpose, which is helping people become their most authentic selves.
I remember one day I was listening to her talk and she said that every choice she made was intentional to her purpose. She constantly asks herself, “does my intention for this action align with my overarching values and purpose”. That caused me to reevaluate my entire life.
Song that makes you want to dance:
Currently, that would be “One Dance” by Drake. Although, I also like “Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE even though I don’t understand what’s going on.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Depression is one of the hardest things I’ve had to face yet. There’s no truly “overcoming” it, but I’ve slowly learned how to keep pushing forward. For me, pushing forward means weekly therapy, putting myself in a situation where I can heal, and improving myself in the areas I care about.
I must say that I wouldn’t be so gutsy and bold with the direction I want my life to take had I not experienced such intense lows. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I’m very grateful for where I am now.
I want to be so wealthy that I can construct a campus where people from all walks of life can study and develop creative technologies (i.e. VR/AR, holograms, AI, etc.). It would be one big college campus/lab that would look like a mix between the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and Starfleet Academy. In this academy, I’d probably be a professor or lab director.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Do not be scared of hard work or getting uncomfortable. Work for the moments that bring tears to your eyes because you know how much it took to get there.