#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Shipra Arjun

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

In San Francisco for a summer fellowship

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi! I’m Shipra! I was born in India, grew up in Massachusetts, and then came to New York for college. I am graduating from Stony Brook University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering (BME) as well as Applied Math and Statistics (AMS). I actually never had formal computer science training, instead I taught myself Python, Java, and C on my own time and then just starting playing around with it. I think the most enjoyable part is being able to communicate with a computer and being able to dictate its actions 🙂

A big part of my undergraduate experience was my involvement with research! I have studied and researched the differentiation of dental pulp stem cells, the impact of low intensity vibrations to bone formation, and helped develop algorithms and write programs for tumor segmentation. I have been fortunate enough to get recognized and present at either national or international conferences for each of my research projects. My mentors who have guided me through each of these projects have definitely played an influential role during my growth as an engineer.

I also love working on independent projects that are not tied to courses. I have been working to design a cheap and impactful water filter and have also been programming an iOS game. Working on side projects serves as a great outlet when school gets overwhelming. Other things I enjoy include drawing, dancing, writing, and mentoring younger children in math and science!

Fun Fact: I have a pet turtle named Tesla, after my favorite scientist! Most of my friends were able to meet him since he lived in my dorm room for 2 years, but now he lives at home.

With Tesla my turtle

What # would define your life journey?

Being happy and genuinely enjoying what you are doing is such an important thing to achieve. If you aren’t enjoying it, what is the point? Having a positive mindset is great and it also spreads cheery vibes to everyone you interact with.

Favorite website / app:
Website: Wikipedia, Khan Academy, YouTube, Piazza
App: Instagram, Snapchat, Spotify, Notability

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
I have definitely learned something from everyone I have had the opportunity to interact with, whether it was professional or personal. However, it’s easily my closest friends and family who have influenced and helped me the most. My family has proven that diligence and self-motivation are really what you need to succeed. Ironically, my friends are also just as motivated and excited about something as I am. My friends support me, let me bounce ideas off of them, remind me to take care of myself when I’m sick, but most importantly, they inspire me.

Me (right) and encouraging friend
Me (left) with my supportive family

Song that makes you want to dance:
Any of Taylor Swift’s music, particularly Blank Space!
Or One Direction- Steal My Girl / What Makes You Beautiful

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I have faced so many technical challenges, ranging from learning a new language in 10 hours for a hackathon to simply being stuck on yet another problem set to not having my ideas be taken seriously by male teammates. By watching countless YouTube videos that would walk me through different concepts and collaborating with numerous peers, I have been able to work through most of my difficulties. Honestly, putting in the effort to truly learn a concept beyond the scope of the assignment really helps. As for being looked down on by peers- that is a really tough situation. I asserted my thoughts as clearly as possible and learned to show that my methods work, rather than simply telling the group. It’s hard for anyone to turn down an idea or method, if it ends up working 🙂

Me (back) and friend preparing for dance show
Me (front) and friend enjoying an afternoon of kayaking

Ideal Job:
I would definitely be beyond excited with jobs in several different fields. However, it is the work and job I would do there that would make me truly happy. I hope to work on projects, regardless of the field, that allow me to continue learning as a person and not stay stagnant in my knowledge. I love challenges and part of the reason I enjoy programming and engineering is because it provides a way to think about and solve problems, both local and global. There is always a problem to be solved and with it comes a whole fun puzzle of optimizing and delivering the best solution.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Do not be afraid of not fitting in the “tech world”, embrace standing out! In fact, make yourself stand out through ideas and creativity. In words of TSwift,  “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”. Just do your thing, and regardless of what that is, do everything possible to be the best you can possibly be at your thing.

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