Why did you choose engineering at CU Boulder?
I was actually here for the Data Science field before I got interested in Cybersecurity! I also wanted to take a class with Professor Jim Martin, whose textbook I studied from in my undergraduate. It was my dream that came true in Fall 18. Also I found Boulder to be safer than most places. I wanted to experience the idyllic and slow-paced life which is the exact opposite of the kind of life I had back in my native place.
What does the #iLookLikeAnEngineer hashtag mean to you?
Girls are stereotyped to be rote-learners or to be in fields like Marketing, Nursing, or Arts. Most people can't wrap their head around the fact that girls could be engineers and can also be in fields like Cybersecurity or be a part of a team that launched India's first passively-stabilized satellite. There's also a notion that needs to be dispelled that girls who are into grooming themselves, who don't wear glasses, and who don't talk only geeky stuff may not be as involved in their major as others. So to me, #ILookLikeAnEngineer means that I can be just as technically sound and achieving as others even with all the self-care.
What are three things that make you unique?
My team won a President's Innovation award back in my undergraduate for building India's first Passively-stabilized Magnetic Attitude Control System satellite. I know 5 languages - English, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, and Sanskrit. I am also learning Spanish. I am a creative writer. I write melancholic content, mostly.
What are your career goals?
Training myself to be a valuable and a competitive security engineer is my current goal. I am into secure software development. I gradually want to transition into pure security like Pen Testing in the future. I also want to encourage more girls to try and explore this field.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
"Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something" - The Pursuit of Happiness
What are your hobbies?
I've just begun to read and understand the stock market. I'm an avid reader and will read everything - flyers to bottle labels to blogs. I also compete with a friend in learning Spanish. I've tried to read the Spanish instructions on RTD buses before but they now make sense better. Having learnt Piano 1A, I can't wait to start 1B. Playing an instrument needs a lot of patience, which I think I lacked, so challenging myself on that helped my patience.
What do you enjoy most about engineering?
Those Eureka moments that you get when you get results of experiments is the most gratifying thing about engineering. It's such an exciting time to be in engineering because of the rapid technological advancements! We're all stakeholders of this era. I love how engineering makes its ways into the lives of every single person - from a radio in the past to a smartphone now. It being centered on solving world's most challenging problems is what is so alluring. Like desalination of water in countries without freshwater to introduction of bullet trains for fast, and mass-transit of population.
What is your favorite engineering experience?
I have so many to name! Every conference that I've attended is a favorite experience so I make sure to attend two conferences every academic year. The atmosphere is charged and there is so many inspiration and positivity at these places. The passionate attendees stir the emotions in you and remind you that you're making a difference in the world with your knowledge and that keeps me going!
On a lighthearted note, I love fixing my mom's phone or laptop because I am a "Computer Engineer". The happiness on her face after fixing is priceless, so I am always up to do such things for her even though I don't have to be an engineer to do that.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
It's okay to fail. You'd never appreciate success if you never failed. I've failed so many times in my life. I could make a castle out of all sorts of rejection letters.
I've been written off for some of my achievements because I am a girl. For those of you in the same boat - don't pay heed to those. Have friends who will criticize you when wrong but don't let anyone make you feel worthless.
Hima Boddupalli, Class of 2020, Computer Science