Department Representatives 2020-2021

Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

I am interested in advocacy and learning more about the dynamics between the university and graduate student body. I enjoy talking, although I am not very good at it, and I enjoy listening, which I am much better at. I think serving as an interface between my department and the broader engineering community would make me better attuned to potential improvements in my department as well as fruitful philosophical discourse. Since I am a first year student I don’t have very specifically-oriented goals; I am more interested in learning and communicating with other students.

Please describe any relevant past experience:

In undergrad I was president of the Cornell Telluride Association, which is an experimental community living project. We managed a large budget for hosting lecture series and seminars as well as for social events, and administered a summer program for high schoolers. I also served on their Academic Affairs committee which was responsible for inviting speakers, public outreach, and coordinating student presentations on their academic interests.

List two goals you have in mind for the top committees of your choice :

I am equally interested in physics and Sanskrit/Tamil literature

Sid

Biomedical Engineering

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

For me, It is excellent to put energy into helping other people be better by giving feedback, making the connection, and providing the resources they need. Growing at the college is a unique opportunity to stay organized, generate ideas, and open my horizon.

Please describe any relevant past experience :

Simultaneously, I am currently holding the CU IEEE EMBS Student Chapter VP Elect position to organize events and enrich students’ campus life. Before joining Columbia, I have had serval experiences at The University of Arizona. 1) Served as a Co-leader in UBRP program, where over 100 fellow undergraduate students were guided to study professional skills related to research during a whole summer semester. 2) Acted as a graduate student mentor advising people at “KEY Research Intern” and “Research Experience for Teachers in Native American Schools” during two summers. 3) Hosted and acted as a lecture speaker for the UA Summer Lecture Series on Biomedical Optics.

Share a fun fact about yourself :

By Serving at Academic Affairs, my goal is to act as a concrete “bridge” to ensure the good interaction of information/requests between students and our school. At the same time, enlarger the influence of Columbia Engineering to the broader community.

 

Cheng Gong (PhD)

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

Having been part of Engineering Student Council for all four years of undergrad I am really passionate about being part of a board that can make changes for students so that we can have the best graduate experience possible. I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of EGSC and represent my department's graduate student concerns in a position where we can make positive changes. I am also very excited about bringing more student programming and planning more events that benefit the students.

Please describe any relevant past experience :

Having served as the president of Engineering Student Council at the University of Miami for two years I have led initiatives to create: an engineer’s week with over 15 events, a homecoming car smash fundraiser, student socials, lunches with the dean and volunteer efforts to get middle and high school students in our local area involved in STEM. I also served as the student representative in departmental leadership meetings and have experience bringing student concerns to the administration and getting results. I also served as UM’s Engineers Without Borders president which taught me amazing communication and efficient planning skills.

Share a fun fact about yourself :

I'm a huge foodie and love to cook.

Divya

Computer Science

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

I want to connect the whole department and make it more bonded as a whole to facilitate communication among students and different labs. This is my last chance to celebrate real academic culture and campus social before jumping back into the industry in the future. I hope to know more interesting people and create activities to contribute to the department.

Please describe any relevant past experience:

I was the former president of chinese club at my undergraduate and high school. I have past experiences in organizing different non-profit organizations for helping teaching children programming and people with with visual impairments.

Share a fun fact about yourself:

I once had kept eating baby food yogurt from amazon for a month without notice until my friends called it out.....

Wang

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

I have always loved interacting with people and learning from them. I am looking forward to getting to know my fellow batchmates as well as representatives from other departments. I wish to use this opportunity to help all my fellows prosper at Columbia by addressing any academic, personal, or professional issues they might face, as we embark on this journey together. I hope to make an impact while I am here and enable others to do so.

Please describe any relevant past experience:

During my professional experience of two years, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with partners across the globe and lead team-wide initiatives. I have first hand experienced the importance of balance between cohesiveness and diversity of opinions in a team. Also, during my undergraduate years, I’ve been part of CSI-DTU chapter leadership and helped plan tech-events for this society

Share a fun fact about yourself:

I believe with the classes going online majorly, it will take time and support for students to adapt and benefit completely from this new regime. As part of the Academic Affairs committee I believe we are responsible for ensuring that with all the uncertainty around, students do not lose out on the enriching experience of academia at Columbia. Major concerns that I feel we need to address in the current situation are scarcity of courses available for half semesters, project/assistantship opportunities, and enabling interaction/learning among the students given remote situations.

 

Shikha Asrani

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

I was a treasurer at my undergraduate school and thoroughly enjoyed the allocation of budget to concerned events. Right from coming across ridiculous asks for events to contributing to serious causes it was great fun heading the budget committee. I look forward to working with the EGSC budget committee and have fun allocating.
During testing times like the pandemic that we are facing, social events need a new look. Bringing a new perspective to connecting people and bringing the CU community together is going to be a challenge. I am more than happy to embrace this challenge

Please describe any relevant past experience:

I was a treasurer at my undergraduate school and thoroughly enjoyed the allocation of budget to concerned events. Right from coming across ridiculous asks for events to contributing to serious causes it was great fun heading the budget committee. I look forward to working with the EGSC budget committee and have fun allocating.
During testing times like the pandemic that we are facing, social events need a new look. Bringing a new perspective to connecting people and bringing the CU community together is going to be a challenge. I am more than happy to embrace this challenge

Share a fun fact about yourself:

Sughosh Kaushik

Electrical Engineering

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

I want to represent my department as a DR, because I feel like it will be a fun way to become quickly connected to the school and the graduate student body. I believe I will be able to accurately voice the concerns of students in my department, as I generally enjoy befriending others and complaining about unfair things.

Please describe any relevant past experience

During undergrad at the University of Maryland, I was treasurer of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, and I was the undergraduate representative on the general academic affairs committee and the undergraduate affairs committee, in the electrical engineering department.

Share a fun fact about yourself​​​​

I can sing two notes at once (if you're confused by that look up overtone singing) and in my spare time, I like to make free chai and help out at the NYDosas food cart

Vaishnavi

Mechanical Engineering

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR? 

I want to be a DR because I think it is important for graduate students to be involved in things outside of their research in order to have a good work-life balance, and improve future job prospects. That can be as easy as going to a social in Mudd, or an alumni event somewhere else in the city. I have been involved in engineering organizations before and I enjoyed helping to plan events and bring people’s ideas for how to improve student life to fruition. I also want to learn more about how SEAS works.

Please describe any relevant past experience 

During undergrad I was involved in a professional engineering fraternity, where I served as academic chair, fundraising chair, and president. I was also the treasurer for ASME for one year.

Share a fun fact about yourself:

Last summer I worked on a Vietnamese food truck, but then quit my job to go backpacking in Croatia.

Kim

Industrial Engineering and Operations Research

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

I hope to step out of my comfort zone to reach out to more people and connect with the people in my program, especially during this hard time. Also, I believe there will be a stronger need to meet and connect with our classmates since the online classes and the cautious campus policy. I want to build a bridge to connect within this community!

Please describe any relevant past experience:

-I used to volunteer in Thailand serving as a team leader of 15 people to help collect elephant data and organizing the schedule and events. 
- Viola principal at Bard Conservatory Orchestra to hold practice sessions each week.

Share a fun fact about yourself:

I hope we can create more different events across the schools between the business school and us. I am thinking about having a meet-up weekly zoom meeting on a variety of different topics to create the environment that we get to have on campus. The goal is to share each other's different experiences in school and get to meet each other over zoom, since many of the people are not on campus. More virtual events focusing on getting to know each other in general.

Hsin-Fang (Crystal) Wu

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

EGSC does an amazing job in helping the graduate students of Columbia Engineering School in every possible way. I believe that now more than ever there is a great need to make graduate student life experience safe and peaceful. I am interested in contributing to the council’s efforts to make that happen.

Please describe any relevant past experience:

Apart from being an organizer and a volunteer in my college fests during my under graduation, I have also taken up a volunteering opportunity to teach underprivileged kids life skills.

Share a fun fact about yourself:

My goal as a member of the Academic affairs committee is to advocate and raise student (in-person and remote) concerns (prioritizing COVID-19 related concerns) to the proper authorities. For example, unfortunately, if a SEAS graduate student is affected by COVID-19, I would like to raise this concern to the proper authorities to make sure this student gets proper medical attention, food and shelter as required.
I would also help my committee in organizing annual town halls meeting and in conducting the annual student survey to improve the graduate student life experience

Sri Manasa Santhoshi Penmetsa

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR?

 

EGSC has a large impact on the graduate student body in Columbia Engineering and being a department representative is an excellent opportunity to bridge the gap between IEOR and the rest of the school. In lieu of our own departmental student government, I feel DRs are crucial as a voice for the 1000+ students in IEOR. I was the first PhD DR in IEOR for many years and I would like to proudly represent their interests effectively again.

Please describe any relevant past experience:

I have held many leadership positions within Columbia Engineering. Starting out as an IEOR DR in 2018, I served as EGSC Treasurer in Fall 2018, and EGSC President in 2019. I have also served in volunteer positions with University Life, Alice Health promotion etc. 

Share a fun fact about yourself:

I love playing ultimate frisbee and Broadway (top 3: Hamilton, In the Heights, Book of Mormon).

 Sai Mali Ananth (PhD)

Chemical Engineering

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR? 

I am the ChEGO social chair, and hope to represent the student group and students in the department.

Please describe any relevant past experience 

ChEGO Social Chair

Share a fun fact about yourself:

I enjoy indoor and outdoor bouldering, and am always interested in introducing people to the sport!

Denny

Why do you want to represent your department as a DR? 

EGSC being a university-wide organization with an impact on the entire grad student community, I'd get to understand the issues important to the grad student community, understand the dynamics involved in managing large-scale events, and be a part of the student organization working continuously towards improving the graduate student experience at Columbia. I also see this as an opportunity to contribute to my department by bridging the gap between our own department-level organization and increase its outreach, especially to the incoming students. 

Please describe any relevant past experience 

During my undergrad years at IIT Madras, I was part of various teams and have experience leading some of them. As a part of the institute placements team, I was responsible for managing the recruitment activities for the entire graduating batch of over 1000 students which involved organizing professional development workshops, reaching out to the industry, and managing recruitment drives that take place over a 5-day period. I have also led the institute water polo and swimming teams to finish second among 16 participating institutes during the 51st inter-IIT sports meet, a national level event that sees participation from institutions across the country.

Share a fun fact about yourself:

I start-off conversations frivolously which gravitate towards serious discussions in split seconds. Wait, I think that's true for most of the things that I do, including my research.

Vipul