“There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. ”
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hello! My name is Pranjali. I am a junior pursuing Computer Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Patna. Apart from coding, I love to play chess and basketball. I am an avid reader and a writer too. During summers 2016, I was an intern at Google India and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
What # would define your life journey?
I would say ‘Do what you love and love what you do’
I have always been passionate about the things I do. And I feel the more you love your work, the more you enjoy it.
Favorite website / app:
I love Quora. Whenever I have time, I find myself browsing through different topics.
I am also thankful to Stackoverflow. I usually end up here while searching my programming related queries.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
The people who inspire me the most are my parents. Both of them are from a different background and are very successful. From helping me with my baby steps to this day, they have always been highly supportive. They have always encouraged me to follow my passion and pursue my interests.
My father is an incredible person. He is really hardworking, smart yet humble. He has always taught me to keep working towards my goal. Whenever I wouldn’t perform as well as I had expected, he would say ‘An arrow is stretched backwards before it is shot. It is okay, you are going great’ and this would lighten me up!
On the other hand, my mother is a very kind and sweet person. She has been my guide at every stage of my life. I really appreciate the way she patiently handles all the situations. She is a lovable person who has always been a source of inspiration for me.
Song that makes you want to dance:
Uptown Funk! By Mark Ronson
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
In my first year of engineering I was clearly new to the area of programming languages. When I saw my peers, who already had prior experience with computers and programming in their schooling years, performing better in computer science courses, I knew I had to put in a lot of effort. Studying at an institute where the ratio of girls to boys pursuing Computer Science was 1:10, I lacked the emotional support and had a constant feeling of being an odd one. I then realised that the interest for Computer Science in women needed to be ignited at a young age so that they choose remaining in the field after their high school as well. And so, last year on International Women’s Day I published my book ‘Journey of IIT-JEE’ to create awareness among young girls about the numerous opportunities in technical fields. The book proved to be a hope and inspiration for many students across the country and I was invited to present talks and interact with them. I couldn’t be more elated and went around different remote areas where young girls were unaware about their future opportunities and the fact that they were capable of changing their future. Even though I belonged to a minority at my institution, never did I let people convince me I did not belong here. In my sophomore year, I secured an internship at Google. Further I was selected as a Student Developer at Google Summer of Code 2016 and turned out to be the first female from my institution to be selected for this program. Being selected as the first female coordinator of the computer science club at my institution was
like a cherry on the top. When Google awarded me the Google Travel Grant to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration in USA this year, it was like a dream come true. I had the opportunity to interact with inspiring and established women in technology whom I consider my role models. I have been fortunate to have awesome mentors and I make sure I continue their legacy.
In recent months, I have developed an inclination towards Machine Learning and its related areas. I am amazed by the way this field has grown in the past few years and the diverse applications it has. I would like to get into research and explore various areas in Computer Science. In 10 years from now, I see myself working on technologies which believe in changing the way people expect the future!
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I know it sometimes feel that you are the odd one in the crowd. But I assure you the number of women in Computer Science has been increasing and will continue to do so. Never ever let yourself believe that you do not belong here only because you are the minority. Reach out to women across the world through different channels. With strong networks being created, I am sure you will definitely find someone out there, who will guide you when you need them and assure you that you are not alone!