If you’re an engineering student contemplating your career choices, you’re at the right place! Akshita Gupta never liked Computer Science in the first place, but destiny (and her typical Indian parents) had other plans for her! Read on to find out how she managed to not only develop a liking for the subject but also win hackathons and later receive the prestigious Google Women Techmakers scholarship!
Major accomplishments of Akshita
- Microsoft Student Gold Partner 2020
- Google Women Techmakers Scholar 2019
- Smart India Hackathon Winner 2019
- Class Hacks Hackathon Winner 2018
Google Women Techmakers for Computer Science
Formerly the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, this program furthers Dr. Anita Borg’s vision of creating gender equality in the tech industry by encouraging women to excel as active participants and leaders in the field.
It has three main elements
- Scholarship: An academic scholarship, awarded based on academic performance, leadership, and impact on the community of women in tech.
- Retreat: An opportunity to connect with fellow scholars and Google mentors, while participating in professional and personal development training and workshops.
- Community: An online network with fellow Scholars Program participants designed to share resources, support the global community of women in tech, and collaborate on projects to make continued impact.
Included in the interview:
- Getting into Computer Engineering
- Finding her penchant for coding
- Involvement with the women in Tech community
- Recognition by Google and Microsoft
- Why Akshita was selected
- Advice to future applicants
I heard that you were not very fond of Computer Science. How did you get into this field?
Haha, the reason would seem similar to a typical Indian Parent mentality. I had a 10 CGPA with an interest in Math and Science, hence Engineering. My performance in Computer Science in school had me believing that I can do everything except this subject. I began hating the stream and was just enduring it till my board exams. After the final results came out, my parents forced me to opt for Computer Engineering because it had “scope”. Now I had two options, one was to keep on detesting it while staying angry with my family for my whole life. The other was giving this stream a fair shot.
Ah yes, the scope! Then how did you find out that maybe you did have a thing for Computer Science?
The first year of engineering consisted of general subjects, so I used that time to prepare for the upcoming semesters. Starting with Web Development, I developed a website for a small cafe during my second semester. After the successful completion of the project and discovering the fascination with writing backend code, I was ready to explore more. That’s when I dived into Data Structures & Algorithms and Machine Learning. Turns out, it wasn’t the subject but my lack of interest and poor quality of guidance that had turned me against it. My bucket list transformed into- a great internship, an even better job, and lots of diverse projects.
You are quite active in the Women in Tech community. When did you realize the need to empower other women and what steps have you taken for the same?
During my tenure as an intern, I was the only female on my team. Hence, I came face-to-face with the problem of “Underrepresentation of Women in Tech”. Considering 6:1 Men to Female ratio as questionable, I realized we as girls don’t step forward that often to prove that we are amazing. As a result, we are not appreciated in the field of science and if we achieve something terrific, we are simply perceived as “lucky”.
Respectful environment and recognition of my work as an intern motivated me to show the world how remarkable we women are. Following the old saying of “Change starts at home”, I decided to take sessions and workshops on my topics of expertise. Being in an all-girls college, gave me a chance to interact with incredible young women. I encouraged my juniors to participate, apply for opportunities, and focus on the fundamental subjects.
That is amazing! Your efforts have been recognized by companies like Google and Microsoft, am I right?
That is true. In August 2019, I became one of the 22 females in India to receive the Google WomenTechmakers Scholarship. This International Recognition was a reward for my contribution towards the technical field and empowerment of women in the tech community.
I was incredibly proud of myself for being selected amongst the 15 Microsoft Student Partners(out of over 500 MSPs in India) who were recognized for their work and was invited to be a part of MSP Asia Summit 2018 held in Taiwan and then promoted to a Gold Student Partner Position and again invited in 2020 for the Summit held in Singapore.
For our readers who are interested in the WTM Scholarship, can you tell us why you think you were selected?
I believe I was selected for my efforts towards the betterment of women-in-tech. Also, I already had a network of students I was connected to and was working for the progress of the societies I was a part of. With all the exposure, I was building a strong extra-curricular background. These reasons combined with the internships, projects, and courses I had done, is why I was selected.
Any advice you would like to give future applicants?
Explore. This was the best advice I got and now would love to give to my juniors. If you are unsure about your future, where you want to go, or what you want to do, just keep on looking. Utilize your bachelors by doing loads of diverse projects, interacting with people aiming for different industries, join a varied set of programs to get immense exposure, and just keep going on. Eventually, you’ll be where you were meant to be.
While Akshita’s checking off her Bucket list entries, we hope you’ve got some inspiration to live your dreams too. We at Scholarship Track are here to help you achieve them all! Akshita has gracefully accepted our request to host a live QnA with us and is willing to mentor future applicants too! Follow us for more updates on scholarships, interview series, live QnAs, and much more! Never miss another opportunity! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest updates directly in your inbox!
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