Meet Swathi Meenakshi Sadagopan

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Swathi Meenakshi Sadagopan earned her Masters in Electrical Engineering from McGill University. She is currently pursuing a fellowship in Journalism from the Munk School at the University of Toronto. She currently works as a Data Analyst (Senior Consultant) at Deloitte. In her spare time, she likes to write, perform the South Indian classical dance (Bharatanatyam), paint using watercolours, and train neural nets.

When did your love of STEM begin?

It's hard to identify a single point in time. I think I was always a curious child and retain that curiosity to this day. My interest in STEM was largely inspired by stories my father told me about his work. His job involved a lot of travel across India at a time when the power grid infrastructure (such as high voltage transmission lines) was being built. I thought that was very cool and something I wanted to know more about. I was also lucky to have teachers along the way who encouraged me. I think my initial interest in STEM has sustained and grown through the years (leading me to study electrical engineering in university) because of how you can always arrive at an objective answer through an application of a law, theorem etc. or analysis of facts. It wasn't a matter of opinion and I appreciated that.

What is the best part about working in the field of STEM?

The best part about working in a STEM field is that I can apply my training to solve a wide ranging set of problems. In my current role, every project involves working with data. It usually begins by formulating the question we are to answer and then going about the analysis in a systematic way. The process is very similar to my graduate school thesis problem of designing an efficient motor for an electric car. Even though the method is the same, the problems I solve today can be applied in contexts I couldn't have imagined in school. That variety, to me, is appealing.

What advice would you give young women interested in a career in STEM?

If you choose to study STEM, I can tell you that it'll be challenging yet rewarding. So, find a peer group to help you navigate the challenges. In my experience, I have also found being tenacious to be almost more valuable than sheer smarts.

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