International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Meet Our IEA Alumni: Shruti Vasudev

Department: Bioengineering

Tell us a little about yourself. 
My name is Shruti Vasudev; my family are Indian but I’ve lived in Kenya all my life as part of the large Indian ex-pat community there. I’m nineteen and studying first year bioengineering here at Sheffield. When I arrived I decided to join the International Ambassador Scheme and I’ve recently returned from Kenya where I was giving talks on studying at Sheffield and coming to live in the UK to students at Schools where I grew up. 

How did you decide to study Bioengineering? 
At first I wasn’t very sure if I wanted to do engineering or medicine, because I really liked biology but at the same time I really liked maths and physics. When I found out about bioengineering it seemed like the perfect combination for me and when I read about the course content at Sheffield I was very interested in doing it here too.
The subject is very interesting, I’m very intrigued by a lot of the modules and we have amazing tutors. Sheila MacNeil is my role model; she’s just amazing. Everything about bioengineering suits me very well, all my interests are what I’m studying so it’s a lot of fun. 

What are your plans for after you finish your degree?
Well I’d like to finish my Masters then work in industry for a year first and eventually I’d like to do my MBA and maybe start my own company. My dad owns a business for cardiac surgery equipment, so In the future I’d like my own company, maybe something like medical imaging. 

What have you been doing through the International Ambassador Programme?
This was, undoubtedly, my best experience ever. It was about telling people what we offer at Sheffield, the kind of engineering degrees we do and basically to encourage people to come here. I went to my junior and senior schools at Oshwal Academy. It was so much fun going back to people you know, and they remembered me from last year.  The teachers were all there too and they were so proud that one of their students was in the University and had come back to represent [Sheffield]. That was a really big feeling. 

“Every university should have a scheme like this! I went to Kenya but other students went to other countries and this will make such a big difference” - Shruti Vasudev

One of the other schools I visited, Nairobi Jaffery was a really good experience too. It is a Muslim school and a lot of girls came to my presentation. I think they were surprised to see a girl talking about engineering and to hear that they could do it too. They often come from quite conservative families that don’t always believe in girls taking up something like engineering and when they heard from me that girls can do it and we have jobs all over the world, it meant a lot to them. 

“a lot of girls came to my presentation- I think they were surprised to see a girl talking about engineering and to hear that they could do it too” - Shruti Vasudev

How have you found the audience reaction to your talks?
It’s been really interesting and positive. After I went to the Jaffrey School a lot of the girls’ parents rang me to ask how I was finding it, things like is it a male dominated class? Are there other girls studying with me, how it was on the whole to adjust to the UK and if it was safe for a girl to be there?  They were so interested to know how I was managing not just as a person but as a girl. After the talks some of the teachers came up and asked me to tell them about the course as well. When my biology teacher went back to her class all the boys said “OK today, let’s not study today, tell us about bioengineering a little more!” 

It’s a new scheme this year, how do you feel it has gone so far? 
Every university should have a scheme like this! I went to Kenya but other students went to other countries and this will make such a big difference. I know personally a lot of students will be considering engineering that wouldn’t have done so before. Definitely. This scheme is undoubtedly fantastic, it’s such a big thing. 
My family in India are teachers and this has been so positive for me that I’m hoping that I can arrange to go and speak in some Indian schools next time I visit. 

Do you plan on going back again?
Yes definitely I would love to do this. At the end of the day, it’s such a good feeling knowing that, if I've not made a difference to someone’s life, then at least shown them a path they may not have considered before. That’s such a good feeling, especially when at the end of every presentation a few boys and girls come around and asked questions. I feel like I’ve helped them at least a little bit in choosing a career.

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