Fuelled by passion for education and social impact, Aishwarya’s journey to Harris School of Public Policy

Fuelled by passion for education and social impact, Aishwarya’s journey to Harris School of Public Policy

Aishwarya Sivaramakrishnan, SIAS cohort of 2022 has secured an early action round acceptance to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) from the Harris School of Public Policy in the University of Chicago, along with a Harris Merit scholarship. Driven by her passion for education, social impact and effective policy making, Aishwarya intends on putting policy into practice and working with the government or NGOs in the field of education.

Aishwarya reflects on her journey through Krea and the vision she holds for the future.

The Call to the Future

“The call was a shock in itself; it was unexpected and exhilarating.” The acceptance news took Aishwarya by surprise, it was like a bolt out of the blue but definitely one that held immense joy.

“The MPP programme at Harris School of Public Policy has always been my top choice due to the heavy focus on data analysis and the multidisciplinary approach towards tackling real-world issues, similar to my undergraduate experience at Krea University.”

Aishwarya has also secured a Harris Merit scholarship and believes her summer internship experiences and externships at Teach for India, Centre for Policy Research, Rhapsody Music, and Aureolis Ventures have helped her expand interests and skills and laid down the path for where she is today.

The Vision, Passion and Determination

In the past three years, Aishwarya has had the opportunity to volunteer and pursue her internship with various policy advocacy groups that lobby for grassroots-level change in state-sponsored educational institutions.

“Since then, education policy and child rights have become my passion project, and I have worked extensively in the education space in India. This has given me an insight into the ground realities of primary education facilities, opening my eyes to the pressing need for changes in both curricula and infrastructure available to school-going children, especially in semi-urban and rural areas. Some of my most cherished, valuable experiences and life lessons are from this period of working with children and individuals from all walks of life, and they have shaped the person I am today.”

On completion of her studies, Aishwarya intends on putting policy into practice and working with the government or NGOs in the field of education.

The Krea Journey

Aishwarya fondly remembers her journey at Krea with a memory from day one, something that continues to stick with her even today.

“It was the first day and I was in my room and so was my roommate and so were our families, the entire area was abuzz with hellos and greetings, people were coming in and stepping out and it all felt comforting and familiar. It just felt right and Krea truly felt like home. It remains one of my most heartening experiences till date.”

Aishwarya has always been passionate about education, teaching and training, thanks to her mother who is a teacher. Though she also remarks that before stepping into Krea, she wasn’t so sure on her path forward and there was a huge possibility that she would have headed into the family run business.

Aishwarya ran for the position of Finance and Resources Representative in the first year at Krea and was part of the first student government. It being the very first year of Krea University also helped her play an instrumental role in building the student government and pushed her to try new things, meet new people, and make the most of her newfound independence.

When asked for a piece of advice to other Masters’ aspirants, Aishwarya adds, “I applied to the Harris School of Public Policy in October close to the deadline. And though I didn’t really plan much and got admitted to the very first school I applied; planning does help. There are times when we may not feel too confident and second guess our choices, but the key is to believe in oneself.” Aishwarya does believe firmly in taking chances.

An Economics major, while she believes that she was passionate about her vision, Krea opened up her mind and the various experiences helped her pave the way forward. The Interwoven Learning aspect helped her figure out her other interests, and how she could pair them best with Economics.

When it all clicked Her passion for impactful education was turned into a more determined drive in the first year and the internship, especially the one with Teach of India, was significant in the process. Over her UG years, Aishwarya has done various internships and online training stints which only helped her passion evolve further.

It was in the 2nd year and through a session hosted by the Career Services Office(CSO) for Harris School of Public Policy that helped Aishwarya zero in on her dream institution.

Interestingly, Harris School of Public Policy was her first and only college application and it all fell into place. “I applied during the Early Action round and this was helpful since I was able to get an early decision and plan ahead when it came to academics at Krea and moving to Chicago.”

While the undergraduate experience at SIAS, Krea University and the upcoming Masters at Harris School of Public Policy are pivotal milestones, they are only steps into the impactful journey that this young changemaker has embarked on.

Manvi’s Journey-From Krea University to Carnegie Mellon University

Manvi’s Journey-From Krea University to Carnegie Mellon University

Overwhelmed, exhilarated, excited, these are the three words Manvi uses to express her jubilance on the admittance offer from  Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science to the Masters of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science (METALS). Manvi chose Computer Science Major at Krea, SIAS and has also been a Krea student ambassador. 

Manvi has always been a curious young student, and it all started as early as Grade 6 when she asked her mother what’s the best education she could receive, and the best university. With a desire to always experience the best in education, Manvi’s path took her through various milestones, one being Krea and now onto another at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

Manvi has always been passionate for education and tech and views this as a stepping stone in her journey.

“I want to see how I can use the opportunities I receive to enhance my capacity to work for the greater good.”

Manvi Teki

Lessons from the journey for future aspirants

From her own personal experience, Manvi pulls out few pages for future graduates aiming at higher education

  • Believe in yourself and aim as high as you desire
  • Circumstances may make you feel less confident, but always know there is nothing impossible to achieve
  • Start your research in the 2nd year of Undergraduation
  • It’s an ocean of courses and specialisations out there, explore well but don’t get confused
  • Plan it well, also look for backup universities apart from your main ones
  • Be prepared, keep a good buffer for deadlines. E.g- If the application is due in December, attempt and close GRE by July.
  • Plan it all but do not over plan it, give yourself time to breathe

Pathway and Stepping Stones

The Internships

Manvi feels that all her internship experiences collectively helped her be where she is today. Right from the Teach for India experience in the middle of the pandemic to being a Tech Business Analyst at Minfy Technologies during the summer and a Tech Content Curator once she was rehired, it all were jigsaw pieces falling into place, through the skills learnt and the projects tackled.

One of the projects closest to her heart at Krea was her internship with IBM. “ We applied all the facts we had learnt into the project. We had to create a questionnaire using NLP technique to tap into human consciousness to gauge their learning style and the results were used on various IBM learning platforms. We used what we learnt in Computer Science, a course in Brain and Behaviour and Design Thinking. It was a reflection of my Krea journey itself, of applying things in your real life, truly interwoven.”

The Krea Experience

“Three years of interaction with the faculty and not just from the Department of Computer Science but all across really helped. Conversations play a subtle but important role in what you do and what you decide to do “

Manvi Teki

Manvi emphasises how the amalgamation of these inputs and exposure helped her shape her thoughts and choose her path forward.

Manvi didn’t step into Krea with a fixed mindset, she navigated the journey with open thoughts. But everything fell into place at Krea- the pattern of assignments, the coursework, and the midterms, among others. While a lot of students struggle a bit as they head to an international university, Manvi believes spending three years at Krea with a similar pattern gives her leverage. A jumpstart to a smooth transition.

“The whole research mindset, writing-intensive three years, helped me put into words my SOP. The skills I picked up through courses like Design Thinking have really helped. These have all molded me to adjust and adapt better, made me comfortable with the concept of uncertainty, which I do not fear anymore.”

The Co-curriculars

Manvi has always been one for extracurriculars and believes they help shape the mind and individual one is. “You don’t become you just because of academics. 70% of who I am today is not because of academics, what I learnt was out of classrooms how to speak, how to read emotional cues”, adds Manvi

Manvi aims to work in a space connecting humans with tech and even though she hasn’t done courses in Psychology but one, her time training in theatre has helped her understand social cues and the human psyche.

Way ahead

“Many people believe that creativity is in the Arts but there is creativity in Science too, the phone is a creative product.”

Manvi wants to create the most human designs possible using tech, ones that could help a large number of people. She aims to address the massive gap between advancements in technology to their translation to community and people. Her long term vision includes working for equity in education by ensuring tech reaches students across the social spectrum and in ways that can be utilised by them for learning.

Lekshmi Gopinathan
reports, from the Communications Desk

Hear from a young mind at Krea on what transpired in an exclusive interaction with Dr Raghuram Rajan. Kathan, a freshman from SIAS reports.

Hear from a young mind at Krea on what transpired in an exclusive interaction with Dr Raghuram Rajan. Kathan, a freshman from SIAS reports.

When it was announced that Dr Raghuram Rajan was going to visit Krea for a talk, one could feel the energy shift in the student community. Dr Rajan, the former RBI Governor and a member of the Governing Council at Krea, was one of the most significant reasons that attracted us to the promise of Krea University. To listen to him in person, know about his experiences and draw from them is what all of us had eagerly waited for. And now the moment had arrived. 

Welcomed by cheerful applause, Dr Rajan began his talk with a succinct presentation on India and its economic vision. In the light of the 2022 Union Budget, he elucidated how India is changing – what is right with it and what is wrong. From the employment rates to the COVID-19 data, he highlighted the importance of statistics and what they reveal about the current world. Dr Rajan emphasized the importance of education and schooling in the future by narrating observations and anecdotes from his own life. Citing a few schemes and policies, he talked about how the present India connects to its past and how the same mistakes should be avoided in the future. With the graduation of the first batch of SIAS right round the corner, Dr Rajan laid out an outline of the situation of youth and jobs in the current India. Towards the end of the presentation, he gave a few brief alternatives to the existing vision that mainly involved the need to “focus on upskilling” the people and shifting to providing greener services.

The presentation was followed by a fruitful Q and A session where the students got a chance to directly interact with him. This was one of the best parts about the talk since it was visible how Dr Rajan’s presentation had intellectually stimulated the students to discuss the real issues in the world. From questions on the startup ecosystem and cryptocurrency to concerns about youth, employment and education, as time went by more and more number of hands went up. His witty humorous comments here and there kept the conversation light-hearted, encouraging the students to be more comfortable to open up. 

One of the main lessons that Dr Rajan accentuated on was to not dwell on the past for too long and rather focus on what we can change in the now – even if it concerned the past few years. Dr Rajan ended the talk by signifying how important it is to fight for a better India and how each of us can add value to the society simply by being the best we can be. 

About Kathan

Embracing the space-time continuum with some laughter and overthinking.

SIAS – Cohort of 2023

Majoring in Biology