#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Chandrika Vasudevan

“Stop running to those who ignore you and start running to those who adore you.”

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hola! I am Chandrika, a Master’s student at Santa Clara University majoring in (Computer) Engineering Management and I interned at Oracle this spring and summer. My university is located in the heart of the Bay Area and it’s got the most beautiful campus ever! (the best place to Instagram I’d say!) I am very passionate about technology and computers and am a Grace Hopper 2016 scholar too!

I love to involve myself in various organizations that work for the empowerment of women and children.

Back in India, when I was working as a Software Engineer, I was involved in multiple NGO volunteering  activities that strived hard to help children with special needs gain access to basic needs and education. These volunteering ventures have always motivated me to give back to the society and spread happiness to people around me.

Fun Fact: (1) I am a trained Indian Classical Singer and one of my most cherished experiences is to have performed in the presence of the former Hon’ble President of India, Late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who is a Scientist and a Veena player himself! (wow! How cool is that right?!). His appreciation and words of encouragement is something that I would cherish for life.

(2) I have always found the need to settle down at places closer to the beaches and with the starting letter of my name ‘C’ – I was born and brought up in Chennai (a beautiful coastal city in India) and right now, I live in California!

What # would define your life journey?
#Optimism and #YouCanDoIt – Never take ‘no’ for an answer. A lot of people around us are always going to find ways to push us down and make us give up. But the key is to believe in ourselves and the choices we make. To quote my most favorite dialog from the movie – The Pursuit of Happyness

“Don’t ever let somebody tell you, you can’t do something. You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”

If you are passionate about something and work with all your heart, the universe will make sure it happens, no matter what. I always try to imagine myself in a place where I accomplish my goal and that really helps me work harder and ultimately reach that place.

Favorite website / app:
Facebook and the FB messenger are my most favorite apps. It is amazing how Facebook makes it possible for people around the world, from various walks of life, to connect with each other. These were the platforms which made it possible for me to become a part of some of the best forums for the women in tech, such as the Grace Hopper Community, Anita Borg Institute, Systers and Lean-In, to name a few. Being a part of these communities has changed my life for good!

The Facebook messenger is an app I use on a daily basis to stay in touch with my family and friends who live on the other side of the world! The innovative additions and features that they bring into the messenger from time to time is what makes it my most favorite! (And of course, the funny GIFs too!)

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I have had a lot of inspiring people in my life who have helped me become the person that I am today. But one person who has always been there for me and has been more of a mentor throughout my life is my brother, Jayanth.

He is the person who introduced me to technology and computer programming. When I was hardly ten years old, he helped me create simple games and applications which made me develop the passion towards computers and coding. He is a person who has always inspired and encouraged me and someone who has always believed in me. He was the one who taught me that persistence and hard work never fails. I would not have been here today if not for my bro!

Song that makes you want to dance:
“What makes you Beautiful” by One Direction is one song that elevates my mood in no time. I am a great fan of the Indian Classical Music and Academy Award winner, AR Rahman’s albums too!

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
During my very first job in the US as a Web Developer for my university, I had the amazing opportunity of working on my dream project of creating an entire website from scratch. This job was a dream come true for me since I was the only technical person involved in the project and I had a wonderful manager who used to trust me and back me up during my challenging times at work.

During the initial stages of the project, I took several surveys from multiple users and came up with a few designs to develop the new website. At this point of time, I faced several challenges in order to satisfy everyone around me- the higher level management, the faculties, my manager and my peers. This was not easy since every person had their own priorities and it seemed impossible to come up with a design that made everyone happy! This was when I understood about people and gained the practical experience of managing people, understanding their requirements and coming up with a product that satisfies almost everyone’s needs and wishes. I realized how important it is to not just be good with coding but to be great with people and also be a good manager. Looking back, I am happy that I learned so much on my first job and the huge impact that it created on my career. But the biggest lesson that I learned from that particular experience was to own up to my work, believe in myself and work extremely hard to put my best foot forward. (Curious to see my end product? Check out https://www.scu.edu/ecp/)

Ideal Job:
Any job that creates a huge impact in the lives of people is where I see myself in future. I am a passionate singer, developer, an aspiring product manager and entrepreneur. My dream is to develop a product that combines all my passions together to make a huge impact in the lives of people. I believe in making the impossible come to life and that is exactly the kind of product I look forward to building in future.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
As clichéd as it sounds, life is a rollercoaster ride. Enjoy it! If you want to be successful in life, you are bound to take risks and make sacrifices- never ever repent your decisions.

To quote Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook,

“If I had to embrace a definition of success, it would be that success is making the best choices we can…and accepting them.”

When you face challenges in life, you tend to feel as if you are the only person going through the hardship and that no one else does. The truth is that every successful person has been through innumerable challenges. What makes them succeed, is their attitude towards every challenge and the faith that they have in themselves.

On a positive note, at the end, it is all going to work out. If it hasn’t worked out yet, it is not yet the end!

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