I have always been interested in neuropsychology and behavioral patterns
If there was one thing you could tell about Leena it was her ability to look beyond herself and work for a dream that most would not have dared to dream…. this soft spoken, charming , determined young lady joined Pathways, Aravali, in 2011, as a Pre Term student for the IB Program. Her quiet grit and affable personality made her win hearts in the classroom and outside. Leena was everywhere and whatever she did was filled with her insatiable passion to give it her best!
Biology and math came to her, as easily, as dance and sport. This lanky girl played the basketball field with the same deftness, commitment, strategy and ease as she did in turning in her assignments to unrealistic IB deadlines.
We got Leena to answer some our questions so we could share them with you ….
Q1. Please give us a brief of what you are currently engaged in?
I am currently pursuing my undergrad in Biomedical Engineering (BME) from Purdue University. I have a year to go till graduation. I am also working as a Teaching Assistant at the manufacturing lab/workshop at Purdue Engineering. Also, next semester I am going to be a Peer Consultant/Ambassador for the career Counseling Cell at Purdue. I was previously a Research Assistant at a neuro engineering lab (for a year) and a team leader for an international engineering project team (for a year and a half).
Q2. A note on your childhood:
I was born in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. But owing to my father being in the Army, I moved around all my life. My father was a Civil Engineer in the Indian Army but is now retired and heading a civil consultancy and construction firm. My mother was an elementary school teacher.
Q3. At what age did you figure out that engineering was what you wanted to pursue and why?
I have always been interested in neuropsychology and the underlying mechanisms behind the behavioral patterns of different populations; and in turn mental healthcare. I think this stems from all the travelling that my family did when I was younger. As I grew older, I discovered the application of neuro engineering and other medical technology to healthcare and cognitive research. I realized that as an engineer, I would have greater ability to not just understand healthcare but to be affect the future of it – worldwide and especially in developing countries like India. And that is how I came to be in BME. I think I've always known that I wanted to pursue science; but BME specifically, since 11th grade.
Q4. Coming from a services background, what do you think you gained that helped you stay focused on your goals?
Coming from a service background, I've learned to live and adapt to different environments very quickly. This kept me from being perturbed due to being far from home. Moreover, having moved around a lot I had a good perspective on what was important and what was not, and this helped me set my priorities, focus on my goals and not get carried away easily.
Q5. Pune to Purdue …… long way ….. one quality you had that took you to it ?
More than anything I did, it was the vision and determination of my father to give me a good education and a quality platform to learn in that has brought me where I am. I cannot take credit for it. I have tried to do the best with what I've had, but it's my father who has taken me to it.
Q6. You are currently studying and working in your college, the secret of your work life balance?
Time management and organization. I use various methods on a daily basis to plan my day, week and month. Moreover, I set priorities on all my tasks and allocate times for them. This helps me visualize my day keep on track. But in the end, it's important to realize I am not always going to accomplish everything I want to in a day and not get bothered by it. As long as I am on track and finish what is important, I can keep going.
Q7. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? Which branch of engineering do you want to post graduate in?
Five years from now, I want to be working on developing and creating markets for affordable healthcare technology in developing and underdeveloped countries. There is a huge disparity between what is available in first world nations and the rest of the world. I'd like to be working towards bridging that gap. I want to eventually get a graduate degree in a combination of biomedical engineering and management.
Q8. What to do you miss most being away from the security and safety of home and country?
Being home, there is a certain sense of belonging and identity that one feels. Away from home, I miss that. But more than that, I miss being with my family.
What special memories do you cherish of your time spent at Pathways?
I cherish the friends I made and the time I spent with them. They are like a second family to me; and have been with me through my best and worst. Living and studying at Pathways was a huge learning experience and I'll always look back to all of it fondly.
Q9. What would you do differently if you had a chance to turn back the clock?
If I could go back, I would like to spend more time getting to know everyone in my batch on a personal level. They are all wonderful people who have a lot to offer to the world.
Q10. Your advice to the current class graduating from Pathways?
Make the most of all the time you have right now and everything that Pathways has to offer. Cherish your teachers and staff. They really do care about you and want you to excel. It's only when you leave that you will realize the worth it brings to you.
Q11. Your message for your batch mates?
All of you have the ability to do great things. DO IT!
Leena, we are delighted to see your dreams coming true and we know that you will continue to lead by example…..if you can dream it YOU can DO IT….. and who knows that better than you !