This blog was written by SWE member and engineering student, Ashna Reddy
I chose to pursue an engineering major because I realized that the world provides a lot of open doors to explore that field. You can be: in healthcare building medical devices, vehicle engineering exploring the limit of autonomous functionalities, design the next architecturally innovative and sustainable building, capturing the world’s imagination with a satellite image to detect environmental and forecast changes, landing a rover on a planet, or reducing carbon dioxide in the air. This ability of an engineering degree to allow an individual to solve problems in various industries is what intrigued me the most about the field.
Realizing that there is a great deal of opportunity in this space to solve a plethora of issues that fall into several categories, I was curious to know how individual people initiate the process of solving these issues. Not big businesses or billionaires, but startups, projects and initiatives led and still being led by a small group of passionate people with the potential of becoming big and widely known.
“I knew that if people could get inspired by their words, they too might consider starting something to solve an issue they care about which only makes the world a better place.” – Ashna Reddy
This curiosity and hunger to learn more led me to reach out to several project leaders and founders around the globe to ask about their journeys from step one about how they are trying to solve some of society’s biggest issues. While chatting with some of these individuals, I realized that this type of content is necessary for people especially young people who are trying to figure out their purpose in life to listen to. Here’s why: As we grow up we go through the mandatory schooling system and hopefully end up in a position where we can afford higher education and pursue our true interests. The end goal is usually to use that degree to get a job associated with the content of what you learned in your time at college. The other possibility is going to graduate school to get a specialized certificate allowing you to be competitive to receive a higher paying and more respected position. After chatting with these individuals, I quickly realized that there is a third, rather unconventional path – starting something of your own.
The reason why many people do not consider this option is because of uncertainty and possible lack of role models or connections around them who have done something like starting a startup. But I knew that if I was able to share the journey of these individuals to the public in some way, it would prove to be a viable option. What I found out was that many of them had to drop out of school or press pause on their education to start what they wanted to start. But in the end, they all mentioned how this process was and still is the most fulfilling thing they have ever done because they are following their passion and solving an issue they truly care about. I knew that if people could get inspired by their words, they too might consider starting something to solve an issue they care about which only makes the world a better place.
That’s when I decided to create, host, and launch my own podcast called, the Sparklink Podcast, to bring those stories to the world and inspire the next. The name Sparklink is a combination of “spark” relating to inspiring the next and “link” to potentially connect with the guests on the podcast or individuals outside to get you to dream of solving a certain issue accomplished.
In the episodes, I interview project leaders, startup founders, and initiative starters on their journeys including the beginnings, the challenges, the people and the wins that they had throughout. We go into detail – how did they get funded? What were the iterations of their product? Who are their consumers and competitors? Who are their partners? What is the vision and what do they hope to accomplish in the short term and long term? The guests are from around the globe and have been featured on top magazines like Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and Times. Some have even won prestigious awards at Grace Hopper, Intel’s Science and Engineering Fair and so much more. There is no restriction on the field of the problem or topic being discussed. As of now, the podcast has episodes on finding parking, spinal reconstruction surgery, memory loss, food waste, transportation, unemployment and a great deal more. The podcast is currently available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.
It has been such a wild, inspiring, and motivating journey interviewing and learning from these individuals and I hope to get others inspired to start something of their own! Happy Sparklinking!
Links to Sparklink podcast:
Link Collection(with all platforms to listen on): https://lnk.bio/eBaI