Hi, I am Aditi. I was in my junior year when I received this scholarship and it has empowered me to contribute positively to the community even if it does not account for too much. Life is too short to accumulate so much knowledge and wealth that it can change all the lives around you – only our will to make a small change step by step can help bring a positive difference in the lives of people around us. I am pursuing my interests currently at UCLA and exploring new and upcoming technologies in CS. Everyday is different and I get the opportunity to learn a lot. This also encourages me to be a part of this enriching community which thinks, designs, implements and does social good. With this, I would like to say that being a Venkat scholar has not just taught me how to divert my learning into doing something impactful but also helped me understand how community matters – people you interact with each day have the potential to make a difference.
2) Could you brief up top 3 things why one should apply this Scholarship? You can also mention the after Scholarship experience too.
- Networking – meet with people who share a positive vision to create a better future
- Learning through experiences
- Understanding what can help you create an impact – how people reached where they are
- Amazing swag
- Bay area leads tech!!
I am glad to have met the people at YouTube/Google. It was very enlightening to hear their experiences, their dreams and why they were working day and night to create a product which was affecting lives worldwide. They are so considerate and inspiring that you’d like to know more about their views on your career path and vision.
3) What quality do you think a candidate should definitely have to get this scholarship
Suggest self-sustainable ideas!!
Willing to take initiatives to make a change. Tell them about what you did to create a healthy impact on the community, how did you create an environment which pushed people forward
Willing to listen and act positively – true leaders
4) Would you recommend this program?
Yes, no doubt in that. Why is this even a question? 😛
5) Who were your Letter of Recommenders? How did you go about choosing them? How was the process like?
I was inclined towards choosing my mentors who did not just know about my academic performance but like me as a person – a leader, a team player, a volunteer
So, try to balance your recommenders in a way that it shows most sides of you and can talk about ability to push boundaries and overcoming challenges.
6) What are some of the things for college students to explore while in college? Could you give some insights
I would strongly suggest students to focus on learning through projects. You need to be brave and confident in your existing skills and work towards extending those skills by doing side-projects and going to hackathons. If you’d like my advice and like problem solving, I would also suggest trying sport programming – helps discover new ways in which you can reach a solution given a problem and helps develop resilience.
7) What is the impact that the scholarship has created in your life? How are you using the 225USD Project grant?
My grandmother runs a school in my hometown – I have taken initiatives to teach the kids in the school and alumni basic computer skills and functionalities that can potentially help them be prepared for a better future. These skills come in handy while dealing things at the workplace with a promise of better financial gains. The workshop aimed at empowering kids of these families to believe that they can contribute to the well-being of their family if they can operate a computer and learn useful electronic skills (for a prospective job which pays well and gives more control over one’s life).
8) Could you mention some of activities which you were part of in college? Have you won any other Scholarship/Opportunities while in college?
This was the first scholarship I won and it was not easy. My hard work paid off – I was an admin of a programming club at IIIT Delhi and it helped me develop leadership skills, made me a better organizer and an empowering women representative. I hope I made an impact and it led more women to participate in coding events. I started as a volunteer and progressed gradually, even volunteered in external programs remotely at Stanford. I also extended my efforts to help host INOI workshops at IIIT Delhi to mentor high school kids and organize lectures (so they could work on solving problems and progress all the way up to IOI).
9) What advice will you give a First year/second year CSE student
Be motivated about learning
Focus less on GPA (>8.0 though) but focus on external learning through projects.
Apply for GSoc and other funded projects
Start working on open source projects – it is good learning. Matters a lot!
Never be scared or working on projects outside your course structure.
Volunteer and learn to give back to the community – very important!
10) What advice do you give on writing the essays for application?
They should be believable – be concrete and specific about your intentions and goals. It should not be vague. Portray your story in a fascinating way so that the reader feels intrigued – it should tell your story and how your journey has shaped you as a person. Your past story should pave a path for the initiatives you plan on taking in the future – sound motivated, passionate and humble.
Also, stick to the word limit, please
11) What do you ‘think’ was why your application stood apart from rest of students applied? Some tips too:)
Think about what quality you want them to know about you. Pick and choose! Be brave and don’t stop doing amazing things. Talk about how Mr. Panchapakesan inspired you. Why me? – To stand out you have to make the readers believe in your interests and ability to make things work. Your writing will talk, focus on all components of all application, choose recommenders wisely. Diversify.
12) Could you share some of momentous(also Fun) occasions you had in the Silicon Valley Retreat?
Meeting the YouTube CEO – Ms. Susan Wojcicki and getting her perspective as a business woman in the tech industry.
Asking questions was important – they shared more insights and were delighted to have us.
Meeting leaders of various teams – HCI, Youtube Good, The Creator team, Recommendation team, VCs, Peoples operation, team members who knew Mr. Panchapakesan and who understood what made him an amazing leader/friend and employees who were excited to share their journey with us. Very awe-inspiring TRUST ME. At that point I understood how much impact people can make by patiently listening and interacting.
Google HQ and Youtube HQ visits – too good to be true food, biking around the campus. Staying in Union Square!
Hanging out with my other fellow-scholars who were super-amazing. I won’t forget the time spent with them – forever. And, networking!
13) What preparations you did before applying for the scholarship
Take care of deadlines
Proofread essays, get them reviewed
Give enough time to recommenders for writing your letter
Think about what the application essays mean to you – how can you find answers to the questions asked in the application to actually start making a change. How motivated can you be!
14) What made you to apply for this?
The story which the scholarship essay was asking me to tell was the one I wanted to. The motivation was perfect! I was also planning to apply for Masters the next year so I wanted it to be a part of my journey. I read that the scholarship will give me a chance to meet people who are in places where I want to be – to understand their challenges and aspirations, so I applied and hoped I to get in.
Good luck! Don’t forget that it is not just an application, it may change your window of viewing things – you should look out of the box which pushes you to do something for others and not just yourself. You’ll feel happy once you start contributing to the society (what someone is doing for you today will lead you to do something for others tomorrow) and don’t let it stop – make the model s.t it is self-sustainable.