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Google Women Techmakers Scholarship: What all you Earn?

This is my first blog-post, that I am writing about Google Women Techmakers (WTM) Scholarship. I was selected as one of the scholars by Google under Asia-pacific women techmakers scholarship program in 2017.

I was always waiting for a perfect topic to post my first blog and I got one. You all will be thinking that there are so many blogs on WTM scholarship then how this is different from others, why do you need to read one more? Yes, you are right but also wrong. This post will help you to walk through a journey that WTM provides you from a scholarship to a community that is always there like a family. In WTM, I met other scholars who were also selected for the scholarship, and they have been a true motivation for me and also for many other people. They have capabilities to change the world and to lead it with all their passion. This blog I am writing mainly about all those lovely young ladies, and I am very happy to dedicate this to all of them as a gift. This will surely help you to see how even a small strongly bounded community can change your life and perspectives.

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WTM Asia-Pacific 2017 Group Photo

I will explain the application process briefly:

  • Apply for WTM: To apply for WTM, you should be enrolled in undergraduate, masters, or Ph.D. program for the respective academic year. Then you can register for Google women techmakers scholarship program. They will ask you for your basic personal details and you also need to write the answers to five essay questions including the details of your technical projects. For essays, I will suggest, explain the answers in briefly but focussing on the main points so that they don’t get missed. It will also be good if you write few answers using bullet points for the questions like what problems you have faced in the technical community being a woman.
  • This scholarship is given to the women for their outreach events to help other women in the technical community, so, a great importance is given to the programs that you have organized including your leadership roles.
  • Interview:  If your application is shortlisted, they will mail you and will fix a suitable time for the interview. The interview is a formal-cum-casual discussion with a Google employee, at least I see it this way. Still, it will be good if you prepare for it as the final shortlisting is based on your performance in the interview: Re-read your essay answers that you wrote in the application, you should be clear about everything that you have mentioned in your resume and also about your projects. I will also suggest that prepare for some general questions that can be asked during the interview like:
    • How do you see that the gender equality will help the technical community?
    • Why do most of the women quit their professional career?
    • What kind of affirmative/supportive actions can be taken to increase the ratio of women in the technical community?
    • If you see a woman quitting from the technical educational program, how will you convince and motivate her to continue the same?
    • What is the best age to motivate girls to study the science?
    • Who is your role model and what impact s/he has on your career choices?

Except this, I will advise you that you read some good articles which talk about the gender biases in the existing society. It will surely help you to be confident and prepare for other random questions. I will just suggest you, be honest and confident and I am sure you will win it. 🙂  The interview was scheduled for 30 minutes but the discussion was going nice and interesting, so, it was continued for around 45 minutes.

Retreat: The Real Fun

And if you are selected after interview… just cheer… you will be invited by Google to attend the retreat at one of the Google offices and the best part starts there… you are gonna meet all amazing girls. We were invited Google office, Seoul, South Korea for the retreat. Trust me this was the first time in my life when I got a chance to meet so many highly motivated, amazing and technical girls.

WTM scholarship provides you two types of opportunities (this is completely my categorization 😛 ) 1. Direct benefits, 2. Indirect benefits.

Direct benefits: They can be listed as:

  • WTM retreat: As I told, Google will invite you for the retreat. Google will take care of everything like your travel, stay and even they provided us the details how to reach your hotel from the airport as it was the first international trip for most of the girls. They also try to group the people to book the tickets so that you will be having a good company and also enough time to mingle with the people who are going to be there with you. This retreat was organized for 3.5 days and it was started with a welcome dinner and continued with motivational talks, technical discussions, games, scavenger hunt, and of course last and the most important tasty food. In accommodation, you will get a double sharing room and they make sure that your roommate is from a different country. In all the group events, they always keep shuffling the people in the group so that you can channel with as many people. I will suggest try to talk and meet as many people as you can, even spend time in the evening with them, talk to then before and after the retreat, because this will be one of the best community you will belong to. They (Google event organizers) also created a facebook group for all the scholars, so it will help you to get each others details. We also created WhatsApp group and there you can ask all stupid questions related to retreat even what to wear on which day 😛
  • Scholarship: Once the retreat is over, Google will start the scholarship payment process and you will receive the scholarship amount and also the reimbursement of the bills that you have paid like visa and all. During retreat, Google also gonna give you lots of swags, so have some space in your baggage 🙂

Indirect benefits: All direct benefits were really great but for me, indirect benefits were life-changing. They have especially motivated me to write this post because these things will be rarely shared with you until and unless you meet a WTM scholar personally.

  • GOOD FRIENDS: This is the first one and the most important one. All WTM scholars are amazing, they all are selected for their contribution to the community and all these people are very kind and helping. This scholarship will give you a chance to meet them all and surely you are gonna end up being friend as there is a very high probability that you will be having at least something in common, it may be one of your outreach ideas or your technical projects or your future plans. And I can bet it but you can hope for more 😛
  • Motivation: A community where so many people are doing so many amazing things and continuously sharing the story of their success, I see it’s next to impossible that you can be demotivated there. Even you can help others to organize their events and you will get your share in return too 🙂 You will also get a chance to meet former scholars and Google employees, and they all share the story of their journey with each other.
  • Invitation to attend more events: After this, Google invited some of the scholars for Google Developer Day. Except this, they also select some scholars and fund their trip to attend GHCI (Grace Hopper Celebration India). In GHCI, you will also be invited to attend a dinner with other scholars of Google under different scholarship programs and Google employees. For me this was one of the best discussions. We came to know about many more exciting new projects that Google is working on. You will also get a chance to discuss your ideas, and you can get collaborators too.
  • Google Funds to Organize Outreach Events: Google will help you further to organize more events. They might provide you funds or swags to make your event more successful.
  • I am yet to know more: Yes, I have been the part of this community for the past 4 months and I had so much to write. I am still on the journey to explore more and more and will share with you for sure 🙂

There are so many beautiful memories and I can’t write down all of them but whenever I think of that time, it makes me happy and overwhelmed.

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Final suggestion: Never ever miss it, Just Apply and before that don’t forget to make your contribution towards the society. Your small efforts will make this place better for others. You will be a motivational icon for others and you can be, just trust yourself. 🙂

There are also some other blogs on how to apply for the scholarship by other co-scholars and their experiences. You can take a look:

 

मौहब्बत पाक रूह का तोहफा

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मौहब्बत कुछ और नहीं बस पाक रूह का तोहफा है। इन मौहब्बत कि इमारतों पे यूँ तालें ना लगाओ। कभी जात के, कभी उम् के, कभी कस्बों के, कभी पैसों के, कभी रंग के, कभी ढंग के, कभी खुद मौहब्बत के ही….

एक बार इस मौहब्बत में खुद कैद हो कर तो देखो, चाबी होगी नहीं हाथ में और ये तालें खुद-बे-खुद टूट जायेंगे।

यूँ कैद ना करो उन हज़ारों मोहब्बतों को जो पाक दिल में सारी चाबियाँ ले कर घूमते हैं। एक बार उड़ जाने दो उन सब मौहब्बतों को, फिर देखो हर घर में मौहब्बत के फरिश्ते नज़र आएंगे…

क्यूंकि मौहब्बत कुछ और नहीं बस पाक रूह का तोहफा है।

मौहब्बत या मज़हब की दीवारें?

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मैंने उनसे कहा,  जानते हो अगर मैं मुसलमान होती तो कैसी लगती?

वो बोले नहीं, जरा बताओ तो…

 

मैंने झट से गले में पड़े दुपट्टे से हिज़ाब बांध के उन्हें दिखाया तो वो समझ चुके थे कि जब रूह मज़हब की दीवारों को नहीं जानती तो ये मौहब्बत कैसे जान पायेगी।

 

आज हम दोनों साथ हैं, वो भी वहीं हैं और हम भी वहीं… बस ईद और दिवाली की दीवारें हमारे बीच में नहीं आती।

 

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When a Ph.D. girl falls in Love <3

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First love is always special, and so it was for me. I still remember I had so many mixed feelings… I was nervous, confused, happy, depressed, tensed, and a lot more that I even didn’t know… Everything around was looking so restless. I couldn’t even do any single thing that day; maybe I could call him It was so hard to manage that confused mixture of emotions floating inside me. Everything was looking so different…

Any other girl, of course not me, would have expressed those feelings, would have told him that yes, all these are just for you, would have cherished the first feeling of love, and maybe I should have done that. But you know, I am a researcher, a person who is always interested in knowing why this is happening, what is the reason, and has thousands of questions about any small thing. And I did the same with love too… I just ended up thinking about how this happened to me; why really why? How can I like someone, what were the traits? How does he know about everything even I never said.

How I can be so irrational that I just fell in love with someone even without considering all the parameters, by the way, what are the parameters, what should I consider, and then again a long list of questions, never-ending… Thousands of questions were in my mind, and I just wanted an answer for all of them. My Ph.D. instincts overcame my love somehow. Days kept passing, and I was still thinking of their answers.

Being in love for the first time in my life, I was also very curious to call him and tell him everything, express those beautiful feelings to him. Finally, I called but nothing this happened, I just ended up asking him all the questions I had and even more. I wanted to know the limits of our love. I still don’t know if I was more interested in knowing that really am I in love or how am I in love, and I think it was more about the second one. I just spent around a month exploring for those answers, and then one day, I just realized…

I am a girl, a human, and it is pretty normal to fall in love at this young age, and I should enjoy these moments rather than analyzing them with so many WHY, HOW and WHAT… I realized love doesn’t go through the checklist that we prepare for the years before that right moment comes.

It’s been four months, and I am still trying to be a girl and a lover than a researcher in my love story 😛 . Still, sometimes we just sit and analyze how things happened, how we made a choice, how we really opted for it, what was the probability, what were the odds, and so many things. But yes, now I understand that few things just happen beyond math and science; they are just meant to be happened in your life to make it much more beautiful. 🙂

Disclaimer: Just think before falling in love with a researcher 😉 though you can’t help 😛 😀

Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) 2019

I attended 7th Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) 2019 at National Technological University, Singapore from 20 Jan 2019 to 25 Jan 2019. It was a nice and motivational experience to listen and discuss with laureates, so I thought to share my joyous experience with all of you. For attending the conference, IIT Ropar, India nominated my name, and I got the invitation. It is an invitation based summit where they invite Ph.D. and postdoc people from all over the world from different research areas, such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, computer science, and engineering. The main motivation of the conference is to promote interdisciplinary research.

The highlights of the conference are mentioned below.

1. Plenary Talks: The conference started with a Plenary talk by Silvio Micali on Distributed Ledgers and Blockchains. Then we have several other talks from different laureates where they motivated young researchers by explaining their work and the future of the science. For example, Prof Aaron Ciechanover gave a talk on “The Revolution of Personalised Medicine: Are We Going to Cure All Diseases and at What Price?” where he discussed interesting questions like,

  • Aspirin and penicillin are a random discovery?
  • How will medicine make age longer?
  • Live with disease or die because of it.
  • Even two twins are not identical.

Now, you can think how motivating it will be to listen and hear these talks live where you can directly ask your curious questions 🙂 These talks always left me with a long list of questions, some for me and some for them, and hoping to get their answers in future 😀

 

2.  Panel Discussions: GYSS scheduled panel discussions mostly after the lunch and they were awesome because you can eat how much you want and interesting sessions will not let you sleep. The panel sessions were moderated by one scientist, and there were three panelists. The best thing I liked about panels is the general topic so that they are relevant for all the participants as the conference was multi-area. They also had panelist from different areas to discuss the problem from different perspectives.
Some highlights of panel discussions are.

  • Future of Medicine and Healthcare: This session was on the current hot topic, the progress of medicine and healthcare.
  • The Human Side of Science where they talked about the general problems that scientists phase at the personal and professional level.

 

3. Small Group Sessions: Small group sessions were led by one professor and participants were allowed to choose a group of their choice. My first small group session was with Tim, and it was really interesting as he talked about his research experience. Students also asked many interesting questions, and it helped us to get a new perspective about him and his work, such as,

  • How you got motivated about this particular problem?
  • How did you plan your research?
  • How to be a Nobel laureate?
  • This is the era of collaboration and how we can collaborate without having a fear of someone will steal our idea?
  • How to handle ups-downs and depression through the research?
  • Does the number of publications matter in a higher career?
  • How to manage funds for the research?
  • What is more important: theoretical research or applied research?

I am not mentioning the answers to these questions as you can refer the recorded videos of the sessions. These talks will surely help you to realize that you are not alone going through various research-related problems and they also went through these. However, the important part is that they handled it and for us, the important thing is that we have to handle these. They will make you realize that you will come out doing great 🙂
All the discussions were very very amazing and motivating. They made me think how to route the things so that I can aim for what I want.

 

4. Public Lectures: These sessions were open to the general public where people can ask questions from the laureates. Some of the videos are here:
https://www.facebook.com/gyss.sg/videos/2213890465542664/ By Prof Tim Hunt
https://www.facebook.com/gyss.sg/videos/1161907403992094/ By Prof Fraser Stoddart

 

5. Poster Sessions: Students presented their research work using posters. I also presented my thesis work there and got a chance to discuss it with laureates, senior professors, and young scientists.

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6. Site Visits: GYSS also arranged site visits to some of the famous research institutes and universities of Singapore where they displayed their ongoing research. The list is here.

  • Nanyang Technological University
  • Marina Barrage and NEWater Visitor Centre
  • Singapore Management University
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design
  • Agency for Science, Technology and Research
  • Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise
  • National University of Singapore
  • Singapore City Gallery

GYSS also highlighted the research funding opportunities at Singapore. Apart from this, your fellow researchers also can make you aware of a lot of new opportunities that you might not even know. So, you just need to talk to different people to gather more information. If you are interested in working at their institute, you can also discuss this and sometime, they will also help you to connect. I wanted to work at one institute, and I told this to a girl who was working there, and she told me about people working in my area. Some students also asked me about Ph.D. opportunities in my area, and helping someone is always a great feeling 🙂

 

7. Fun Time: Apart from all academic talks and scientific discussions, conference organizers also managed to provide some fun time in the amazing city of Singapore. There were three fun tracks for different types of people, and they asked us to chose one based on our preference. Details are here.

  • Track 1: The Gardens
  • Track 2: Cultural
  • Track 3: Skyline

I went for Skyline as I love flyer ride. It also included boat riding at Marina Bay and amazing food and of course much interaction with fellow young scientists (we are scientists so we cannot avoid it even if we are lost in the amazing view of the city).

Overall, it was an amazing experience to attend the conference and meet Nobel laureates. Personally, I enjoyed discussions with other young scientists. It is a nice place for networking that will surely help in future to get more collaboration opportunities and also to have a social group full of scientifically motivated people.

 

Important links:

  1. GYSS Website: https://www.nrf.gov.sg/gyss/home
  2. Take a look at the program schedule, so that you know what all it covers. https://www.nrf.gov.sg/gyss/programme/programmeschedule
  3. Global Young Scientists Summit 2019 Opening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBJsTNgcJdM

  4. The summarized video of GYSS 2019 is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou4BQ_xNKDg&t=5s

GYSS Reviews from other participants (I thought it would be helpful, so I asked them to share).

  1. “GYSS is a highly motivating and encouraging event. Specially the small group sessions were very interactive. The journeys of ups and downs of the noble laureates lives would help me to overcome even enjoy the frustration and depression of a scholars life and keep motivated forward.” By Imon Mandal, Department of Chemical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.

  2. “For a graduate student experiencing something different from their mainstream research and listen someone knowledgeable talk about it is always fun. I am doing my Ph.D. in pure math and mostly I am ignorant about current research areas in other sciences such as computer science, biology, physics, chemistry, and engineering. What GYSS did for me was to let me have a bird’s eye view of the specialist in the above-mentioned areas who with fierce passion told us about for what they became famous (most cases why and for what they got Nobel prize).

    It’s always soothing and motivating to listen to someone as highly regarded as the speakers who still are motivated to push the boundaries of their research. I got to know the underlying truth about math which is – though it seems an abstract and disconnected field, it’s techniques and ideas are used in almost all other sciences. Finally, I had a great time in GYSS 2019. It made me more confident and hopeful for my future as a researcher.” By Vivek Rai, Department of Mathematics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.

 

Note 1: GYSS launched their app that you can install and it helped to connect with the people. Later on, you can shift to the social platform that you use, and most of us are now Facebook friends.

Note 2: Follow GYSS page on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned 🙂

Our First Date…

 

I wish we would have gone on our first date…

My eyes would have played with your eyes… They would’ve talked in the silence of our breath… Still confused where to look… Walking oa long lane with no thoughts at all… Your fingers would be rubbing with my fingers making me feel to hold your arm We would have stopped on an ice-cream parlor… I feel I would have ordered all flavors… You were looking at me to share those cones…

I will be hoping the life stays forever like our FIRST DATE…

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Words that kept me motivated…

I read a blog where a girl shares that how unhappy she is in her current marriage and everyone thinks that he has a perfect husband because he is smart and earns well. However, why she was unhappy? Because she was not able to bear the constant comments from her husband and it broke her self-esteem and also her from inside. That moment I realized how badly even a simple statement could impact us from inside.

I thought to write down all the important things that people ever said to me, and which always kept me motivated. (Statements are in bold, and I have also briefly explained the story behind them.)

  1. You are a strong woman, never be scared. (By V.M.)

    I was going home by train, and an electric pillar fell on the train coach. People saw sparking and started running. It was close to burning train experience because no one knew what is happening just running. However, in the end, everyone was safe. The staff was taking care of the fault, and we were still sitting in the train. I called my friend and told that I was really scared. He said, always remember you are a strong woman and never be scared, and see you handled that nicely. It made a strong impact on me, and after this event, I try to handle every situation bravely.

  2. Do you think crying is the best solution for such an intelligent girl? (By V.M.)

    I was feeling bad due to some events and called my friend. While talking, I couldn’t control the tears and just started crying. When I was quite after some time my friend said: “Do you think crying is the best solution for such an intelligent girl.” I realized that surely the crying is not a solution. It’s only the bad time when we need to think wisely and make good decisions. Now I always try my best not to cry and try to handle all emotions and all things in a better way.

  3. Good things even go after you. (By S.D.)

    I was starting my NGO, and of course, it was like lots of responsibilities. That time one of my friends said to me, “You are taking a great initiative, and you know these things even go after you.” If you do them nicely, they will keep running; even you leave or die. It really motivated me, and whenever I am confused, his words make me go through it. He made me believe in my dream and my effort will always be alive in one or another way.

  4. Only a diamond knows why the time had put that under pressure (By A.T.)

    I am a Google Women Techmaker Scholar and once someone from that group posted this quote. I liked that, and now whenever I am passing through a hard phase of my life, I just believe that time is putting me in that situation for making me someone good.

  5. There is no right or wrong way to live life; you have to make your own unique way. (By V.M.)

    I was confused about what to do, what is right, what is wrong. I asked him for help and he said I cannot decide right or wrong based on others’ experiences or perspectives, I have to do what I feel right because I am not born to replicate someone’s life; I am born to live my life, and I have to make it unique with my decisions and experiences. So, never worry about right or wrong 😉

  6. Being a girl, it is hard, you have done great till now, and you will do further. (By V.M.)

    I was having a high fever and had to travel because of an important trip. I was feeling like quitting in the middle, and I told one of my friends over the call, and he said this. Then I realized that I really have managed nicely till now and can do it further. Now, whenever I travel, I never scare because I know I can manage just being calmly and patiently. Same goes true with life. You also try sometime. 🙂

  7. Don’t be hard on you; you are doing the best you can do. Just focus on what’s the next best step. (By V.M.)

    Once I was very upset, and I was doing that I am not doing the best what I can do. I talked to one of my friends, he counted all the good things happened to me recently and made me believe that I am doing great and this is the max that I can do given all circumstances. Now, whenever I feel this way, I just remember this incident and count all the good things happened recently and try to make one more good things to happen. You also try it sometime and better write all good things in dairy and read them regularly because we forget nice things easily.

  8. You help so many people; I am happy to get a chance to help you. (By R.K.)

    This happened when I thanked one of my friends for the help he offered me with an application. It really saved my time. He said that he was happy to help me because I always help others. I really knew I never helped him before, but I was happy to see that people observe how you behave with others and help you when you need. I always believe all help you do to others come your way in one or another way. If you will think, you will also find it true, so, always be open to help others.

  9. What I observe in you, I do not observe in most of my students. (By R.W.)

    Once I met one senior professor in a conference, and we talked about a lot of stuff including different cultures, cuisines, recipes, job, research, music, dance, Google, social services, life goals, popular science books, languages, and a lot more. In the end, he gave me this remark “What I observe in you, I don’t observe in most of my students.” It really made me happy. It also made me feel that it is really important to discuss with others being what kind of person you are. I will also suggest you be what you are and people will find you interesting.

  10. You are building a great resume; you will achieve great heights. (By R.G.)

    I called her to tell that I am invited to attend a summer school. She congratulated me and just said this. That time I was going through a confusing period of my life, but her statement made me really happy. That day I realized we just need to do what is required to build a good resume, rest will automatically fall in place.
  11. One day this world will believe in what you have and will appreciate you for that. (BY J.J.)

    When your professor believes so much in you, it is truly motivating. His words always motivated me to do even better.

  12. You couldn’t get it because you didn’t have the required resources not because you ain’t worthy of it. (By Y.S.)

    I couldn’t make to that exam, and my teacher said this to me. I was very young at that time, and the only thing that used to matter was rock through every exam. However sometimes we cant achieve a few things due to the lack of the required resources, and whatever is the reason, we should never blame us for that.
  13. Don’t do anything to make me proud; I am just another human being. (By S.I.)

    Once I told my professor, I always tried my best to make you proud. He replied and also explained, don’t do anything to make me proud, I am just another human being. I realized, it is surely not a right motivation and we are not born to make someone proud. We should do what makes us happy, and if you believe this, it will surely change some decisions in your life 🙂
  14. Time is linear, do what is most important to you. (By S.I.)

    During Ph.D., in one of the summer vacations, I got many offers including internships and projects, and I was confused what to do. I discussed with people and someone said, for sure all the options are good but you can not go for all. You just need to choose what you like most. So, now when I have many options, I choose one that is most important to me.

  15. Pessimism is a disease worse than cancer, so first search for it in your mind and your heart, and delete it. (By A.M.)

    Once my friend quoted me this from Chanakya Niti when I was sad. At that moment, I realized it is surely spreading faster and making me sadder and sadder, and I need to get out of it. I will also suggest you be safe from the diseases like sadness, depression, unhappiness; they will kill you surely. I am still learning to fight with them and will master eventually.

All these words are very common but what makes them great is the right time when a right person comes into your life to make you realize. All these things changed my perspectives towards life and also towards me. I always remember these words and they truly motivate me whatever is the situation.

 

Letter to my Intern… Hey Girl…

Hey Cutiee Girl,

I am writing this to share my pleasure in working with you. This was really a very nice experience.  It was a great pleasure to answer all your queries whether related to research or career guidance. I always mentored you and tried to help you understand all the different perspectives of life. You are such an amazing, hard-working, self-motivated girl. I know I couldn’t give you much time as I was busy with other projects, still, I tried my best to help you learn a lot and gather the skills for building a nice project. Your internship is ending now but our relationship will not end here.

I know being an ambitious girl from a small place, you would have faced many problems in your life and I know you have handled them bravely. If I say: I wish you have a smooth life further and achieve your dreams, I know I will be lying to you and also to myself. Because I know being a girl you will have to struggle hard to take every single step towards your dream. But I can surely say, I will always be there for you whatever is the time or condition. I will help you to find a smooth solution for the zigzag-like hard problems coming your way. Someone once said to me: “I am a keyboard away, so always feel free to ping me” and that day I really felt the world is small, at least all the people I care and I need are close to me. Today I am saying to you that I will always be just a keyboard away. Feel free to share everything with me, your successes, your failures, your dreams, your goals, and even the small footsteps you take towards hitting the flags on your big dreams.

Never think that you cannot achieve something because as I know you, being such a hard-working, dedicated girl, you can achieve whatever you want to. I will still suggest you few things what I feel, always remember parents are not so proud of us when we earn big money but they are always proud of us if we are a good human being and they will always be happy to see us happy. And I also wish you always stay happy. I hope you never have a single tear in your eyes as you deserve to be a happy person, just go for it. I wish you get all the success and whatever that success means to you.  I am sure you will write down your goals and will make a path towards them.

You are a nice, soft-hearted, kind person and this one thing always made me have a strong personal bond with you. I hope in future you will also come forward to help and guide other girls struggling through their paths.

God bless you and always keep you happy. The memories with you will always be a part of my happy-days diary at IIT Ropar.

Why you should take an extra step to help others?: An Interview

In life, we see some people take an extra step to help others. I met many such amazing girls who are trying their best to spread awareness about the technologies.  People are always curious to know what motivates them to do the same, so, I collected interviews based on the following questions:

(1) What is your contribution to the community?

(2) What motivates you to do this?

(3) Why would you like to suggest that students should organize such events?

FotoJet

Maybe their views will motivate you to take an extra mile and help others. Read further to know that.


(1) A couple of things here. I have been an active part of the organizing circle in college. I was the head of the technical festival in our college. We tried new things to increase the participation from women in hackathons, and those actually worked. I also organized a summer school in 2016 for students from lower economic backgrounds. For one month, we called them to our college, taught them computers, math, science, communication skills etc. All of them went back with a lot of learning. I am also a co-founder of a startup, Leocart.com. It is an e-commerce website which is focused on providing a larger market for women entrepreneurs and artisans from all over the country, bringing the buyers unique handicraft and handloom products. As a part of this, we teach women in rural areas how to use the internet to upload their products and control their business. So there’s a lot of learning for everyone in different communities.

(2) In the summer school, we organized, one of the girls came up to me and said, “didi, mujhe aapke tarah mobile engineer ban na hai bade hokar”, and that was one of the most genuine things I had ever heard. Knowing that I am able to make even the tiniest difference in someone’s life is motivation enough. But in addition to this satisfaction, I have been lucky to have developed a vast network of people who are motivated to bring about a change in the society and enrich technical skills.

(3) Organising events helps you develop your personality, communication skills, network, and other soft skills. Honestly, It doesn’t matter however amazing you are in your academics unless you can talk to people and collaborate. You need to be a team player and a leader, and organizing these events helps you become one. These skills make you a very desirable candidate in interviews and give an upper edge. You learn how to handle different situations, and the experience from all this is irreplaceable.

-By Vahini Ummalaneni
Google WTM Scholar


(A) From imparting my knowledge on various fields, to helping others take their skills up a notch, I have been a part of a number of community-based initiatives. Being the Director of Women Who Code Delhi, I have organized a 24-hour hackathon, a number of informative sessions on varied topics in Computer Science, and a few mentoring sessions for young girls.

(B) In my opinion, life is not just about living for yourself but giving back as well. Apart from altruistic intentions, my motivation to join a community of women in tech was a sense of lack of cultural support in the field. I think it is our duty as women in technology, to help each other given the challenges we face.

From the career perspective, being involved in volunteer work enhances your whole personality. Having a support system of highly motivated people who are doing amazing work in their lives really pushes your horizons.  

(C) I would advise students to organize such events to improve their own abilities while maintaining a sense of doing purposeful work in life. Each of the events that I organized made me acquire a number of skills.

  1. Organizing informative/hands-on workshops make you better at teaching while helping you impart skills to others simultaneously; I believe you learn better when you teach.
  2.  Leading the organizing team for a Hackathon (Code-Off) has improved my leadership and other skills tremendously – from managing a team, cultivating connections, to managing finances.
  3.  Mentoring sessions are like the cherry on the cake, if you are able to inspire others by giving your own life as an example, there is no greater satisfaction than that.

I believe in the quote by John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

-By Priyal Aggarwal
Google WTM Scholar


(A) As a student, I have led various groups and organized many events which brought together students to apply knowledge practically which they learned in classrooms.

(B) The sheer chance of learning during these sessions from various students helps me grow inter-personally and professionally. It helps me learn from different perspectives.

(C) Organizing these kinds of events will help students in organizing skills, it will grow their network and thus improve the understanding of their field better. It will help them grow as a professional thus having experience in hand even before they step out of college.

-By Noor Afshan Fathima
Google WTM Scholar


I am very passionate about open source and when I was in my first, second years of college didn’t receive much guidance or mentorship from my seniors. Consequently, when I got to a position where I could provide advice and mentorship to juniors, I chose to give back to the community whether it is through workshops for high school students or talking about my journey in tech talks at my college. The main motivation for me is that if I can prevent someone from having the experience I did, I should do that.

-By Prachi Manchanda
Google WTM Scholar


I am a computer science enthusiast currently majoring at IIIT Delhi, India. Being the editor-in-chief of the official college magazine, an active member on the Women Techmakers community, an Amazon project mentee and a consistent blogger, I make sure my experiences reach out to and impact the maximum audience of women to increase awareness of opportunities that directly benefit them or support them at different stages of their tech journeys.

My primary motivation for organizing events is the community itself, a beautiful blend of women from all spheres of technology coming together to allow for an immense influx of thought processes and ideas. I recommend each one of you young women out there to organize events for women in tech because the situation is gravely disappointing. I would suggest that your events offer women a platform to not just leverage their skills and connect with speakers from industry and academia- but also pitch their own ideas on a scalable level.

-By Anannya Uberoi
Google WTM Scholar


(A) My most recent contribution to the community is setting up of a Women in Technology club in my institute IIIT Delhi along with Vahini, another 2017 APAC WTM Scholar. Through this club, we wish to build a close-knit community at IIITD and create a platform for sharing of resources, opportunities, and experiences. We would also provide mentorship through this initiative. We also want to leverage this club to involve school kids in CS and related technical fields through outreach programs like CS Unplugged. We want students to make an informed decision of taking up CS or a technical field for higher education in college rather than merely taking it just because their parents want it or just because someone they know is doing it. I want genuinely interested people to get into the technical field who will be able to create an impact with the amazing work that they do. Apart from this, I’ve been actively involved in some initiatives to conduct summer camps for children of domestic help in my residential colony and few initiatives for the environmental cause as well.

(B) I think my love for technology and things that go behind this technology make me want others to experience the joy that I derive out of it. I just love to help people out in whatever way I can. Nothing compares to the joy I feel when I’m genuinely able to help or guide someone and it actually makes a difference in their life. I think it’s this that keeps me motivated to keep doing more and more for people within and even outside the community.

(C) I think a lot of us have a vision and some idea of what and how we want to achieve it. It’s all about the extra push that we need that gets us going. We should never hesitate about starting.  For people starting any such initiatives here are few tips from my side:

  1. Keep the target audience in mind
  2. Have content keeping the audience in mind
  3. It’s easy to start such initiatives, but it’s a challenge to keep them going. So, keep your audience engaged and remind them again and again as to why they’re a part of this initiative. Keep them engaged through different activities and events
  4. Have an idea of what mode of communication do you want to use. Websites, Facebook Groups, Mailing Lists, Slack Channels etc
  5. Timely feedback is also very important to ensure your that initiatives are achieving the vision that you started them with. Quality is super important and supersedes quantity any day.

-By Simran Saxena
Google WTM Scholar


(A) I believe that giving back to people is the best way to worship God. I would like to the uplift the society as a whole and make them aware. But before helping the society, we have to improve our own home. My college was like my home to me. I took an initiative to open a community, to help freshers. Sahyog The mentorship club. Where we helped students to cope with college culture, help them in there education problems (by giving them one to one classes), financial problems (making them aware of sources through which they can earn, get scholarship etc) social problems ( ragging, harassment etc) and many more.
Other than that I even go to colleges in small towns and update and encourage them about opportunities in technology which they might not know. Something’s which has benefited me might also benefit others.

(B) There was a time when even I was deprived of privileges, unaware of opportunities. I have a lot of potentials I believe. But all I desired was a helping hand.
When I see these differences in society, lack of awareness etc. I can exactly understand their situation. If I could help them in some way or the other, I will believe I have done service to God.

(C) Sometimes all people need is awareness, someone to show them that yes you can do this. Organising such events is the best way to connect with them. Also, I believe more and more you spread the information, even your network grows and you also come to learn a lot.

-By Shraddha Agrawal
Google WTM Scholar


I hope now you are motivated enough to come forward and take an extra step 🙂

Best Women’s Day Message

Today on International Women’s Day, I received this message and this was the first thing I read when I opened my eyes in a fresh new day. It made my day. So, I thought to post it here with you all 🙂 This was really really very special and overwhelming for me. I also realized that the best moment in life is when someone starts believing in you.

Happy Women’s Day👩🏼 to one of the most talented women I have seen.
I don’t know you personally, but as we know, Action speaks louder than words, they overshadow your caste, age & even gender as well.
And your publications📃, achievements🥇experience, assistantships, presentations, research projects are enough to express your dedication, hard work & sincerity towards your passion .
I read your post “U r not alone…”
I can be wrong, but I felt that being a woman, you must have faced obstacles during your engineering, but instead of quitting, *you must have decided to draw strength from struggles, smiles from stress & instead of ignoring troublemakers, you must have taught them life lessons.👊🏻
Keep on blogging & getting tons of publications, adding tons of tabs, pages in your website.😜
& I’m sure abt one thing-
U r a diamond 💎, no one can break u
Keep smiling 🙂 & Enjoy today’s day.
Happy Women’s Day👩🏼

 

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We both are here 🙂

 

Thank you so so much for such a lovely message 🙂