SAP awarded University of Texas student Sujata Narayana the Grace Hopper Conference scholarship. The scholarship helps students, who would not otherwise have the opportunity, cover expenses so they can attend the conference. The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the World’s Largest Gathering of Women Technologists where young women can connect with other women in computing and innovative organizations, hear stories from peers and experts in computing, and get quality career advice specific to their needs.
Sujata shared with us a little about herself, and her passion for engineering…
I am so grateful to SAP for the scholarship. Participating in the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is a dream come true for me.
I am a Junior at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering. My passion is dance and photography. As a woman who thought that Engineering was not for me, UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering has made me a believer in my intellectual capabilities. I have now turned into an evangelist, motivating young girls interested in STEM academic pursuits. Having been awarded this opportunity to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is further validation of the path that I have chosen. More importantly, I view my attendance at the conference as a celebration of my academic achievements.
How do you combine your passions with computing?
My passions are dance and photography, which may appear diametrically opposed to engineering and computing. I have managed to keep the balance between my academic pursuits and my passions. More importantly, I have succeeded in combining my passions with my educational efforts. For example, I was able to take lessons learned from my dance endeavors and apply them to my engineering class project team. Similarly I have learned a lot from engineering academic journals that have been of very practical use in my photography hobby.
Why did you decide to study computing and what makes you continue to stay in the field?
As a woman, I was hesitant about majoring in Engineering, when I first heard from my High School counselor that my aptitude tests pointed in that direction. So my counselor advised me to take an introductory engineering course at the Career Center. Through that I quickly realized that I would truly enjoy pursuing engineering studies.
The competitive engineering program courses at University of Texas at Austin have been challenging and intellectually stimulating. With strong peer support from other women prospective-engineers, I have been able to excel in my academics. My reservation of being a woman in a traditionally male dominated field has evaporated. I am truly enjoying being in this field of computer engineering.
Whether it is Photography or Engineering, we have to enjoy our passion, but also find ways to share it with others selflessly, so that we find purpose in what we do. I learned the profound lesson that being a leader is not tough if you transform the challenge into an opportunity for selfless service.
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