Being part of SWE’s India team has given me many unique opportunities and avenues to interact with wonderful women in India. A little while ago, I reached out to Mody University in Rajasthan, India, to tell them about SWE. They were so excited about the opportunity to partner with SWE that they quickly completed their application in order to inaugurate their new affiliate at their state-level “Tech Fest Droid 2.0.” The SWE HQ team diligently reviewed and expedited their application and invited a SWE India team member to join their Affiliate Inauguration. That’s how my first solo work trip happened.
So, on February 21, 2019, I traveled from Chennai to Rajasthan to reach Mody’s campus by evening. I was expecting the infrastructure to be very simple due to my preconceived notion about colleges in rural areas, but it turns out the campus is fully established with urban amenities. The more fascinating fact about Mody University is it’s the only women’s university in India to be accredited by ABET (India’s equivalent of STEM). Mody’s program meets quality standards to produce graduates who are prepared to enter a global workforce after graduation.
I was received by Dr. Vinod Maan, associate professor of Mody’s computer science & engineering department, who diligently coordinated the formation of SWE at Mody University. She is also the Faculty advisor for the affiliate group.
The next day, I met with Dr. V.K. Jain, professor and dean of the computer science and engineering department. He is the sponsor of the affiliate group and was instrumental in establishing SWE at Mody University. During the inauguration, I presented Dr. V.K. Jain with SWE Inclusion cards.
The auditorium was filled with vibrant college students, faculty members and Droid 2.0 participants. It was truly a one-of-a-kind experience to talk about SWE and its potential in front of a large student community. I was also given the honor of presenting the SWE Affiliate certificate to the university members. The local newspaper even published an article on the event.
After the inauguration, I visited the engineering block where I interacted with students and had the opportunity to listen to their knowledge of artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and many more technological concepts as part of a poster competition.
Then, I met the hardware competition participants who filled the room with their ideas that ranged from quirky devices to jugaad* gadgets. It was fun to see how individuals’ engineering knowledge and some creativity can bring amazing solutions to the world.
*Jugaad roughly corresponds to "do-it-yourself (DIY)" in the US, "hacking" or a "bodge" in the UK, "tapullo" in Italy, "zìzhǔ chuàngxīn (自主创新)" in China, "Trick 17" in Germany, "gambiarra" in Brazil, "système D." in France, or "jua kali" in Kenya; in addition, equivalent words within South Africa are "’n boer maak ’n plan" in Afrikaans, "izenzele" in Zulu, "iketsetse" in Sotho and "itirele" in Tswana.
Photos: Interacting with participants of Hardware competition
Later, I had a Q & A Session with the SWE student members. It was more cordial and the students were very eager to know more about the SWE Affiliate group activities. We also had a brainstorm session to plan what future events they can conduct. Some of the suggestions were school outreach for STEM awareness, a Holi* marathon, roundtable discussions based on documentaries, cosplay debates, open mics, community service using their inventions for the society, knowledge exchange between different engineering department students, an education fair, etc. I was captivated by the outpouring of ideas. I am happy that the purpose of my visit was more than just an inauguration; it was a unique privilege to imbibe the energy and ideas of this affiliate group!
*Holi is a Hindu spring festival, also known as the “festival of colors” or the “festival of love.”
Photos: Student members of the SWE Affiliate
Written by Sunayana