Meet yet another inspiring lady, Vidhya Sridhar, who is passionate about her work and hobbies. Womentorship is glad to share Vidhya’s powerful story in her very own words :).
“I completed my schooling from different parts of the country (and the world) since my parents had transferable jobs. I had an aptitude for Mathematics in school and this inadvertently led me to do an engineering degree. I did my B.Tech. in Electronics and Communication engineering from National Institute of Technology (NIT), Trichy. I went on to work for two years in a research centre in Chennai called CDOT-Alcatel Lucent Research centre – a telecommunications centre that specialised in WiMAX. During the course of two years, I had the opportunity to work across various teams in the company and I realised that a M.Sc. degree would possibly open more doors for me. In 2011, I quit and took up a M.Sc. offer at Imperial College London. The one year degree was a blur and I graduated with distinction and was awarded the outstanding achievement award for being the top of the class. I was very interested in pursuing the project I did during my M.Sc. towards a PhD. However, I did not get funding right away for a PhD. I went back to India and worked for a year in Broadcom Pvt. Ltd. in a completely new role, albeit still in telecommunications. Luckily, with help from my supervisor at Imperial, I managed to get a full scholarship towards a PhD at Imperial College London that year. It has been three years since I started my PhD at Imperial in 2013 and has been an eventful ride since then :).
I thank you for inviting me to share my story. Though I don’t believe I rank among the likes of the great women who have left their mark in one small way or the other – trust me I am not trying any fake humility here – I will attempt to share with you what I am passionate about and what I do. I love learning new things and I believe everything that I have done and do currently stems from this fact. I sincerely believe constant learning and possessing humility; can take one very far in life. I am passionate about a lot of things and I try to pursue them all in amounts that I can. I am currently pursuing my PhD where I specialise in Communications and Signal processing at Imperial College London. I have managed to publish some good work in top notch journals and have had the opportunity to present my work at a various conferences.
I am also very passionate about music and believe that music, in any form, can soothe any pain/losses.I began to learn Carnatic music at the young age of nine. I am an active musician and have performed at a number of cultural centres like the Nehru Centre and BharatiyaVidyaBhavan in London. I am currently learning Hindustani classical vocal under the tutelage of Smt. Chandrima Mishra at the BharatiyaVidyaBhavan, London.
I have always wanted to do my bit to my fellow humans who may be less privileged than us. Over the years, I have come to strongly believe that reforming and improving the education system is the principal basis to address a number of problems that plague our country. While working in India, I volunteered with Asha for education (Chennai chapter) for two years where we attempted to set up computer infrastructure in schools in and around Chennai. After moving to Bangalore, I volunteered with LOTUS, a CSR initiative of Broadcom, where on weekends I taught hands-on science at government schools in the outskirts of Bangalore. These experiences were truly enriching and teaching will always be part of my plans when I return to India. In London, I briefly taught science to kids via skype through ‘evidyaloka’ and I hope to resume this soon. Currently, I am a Project Manager at the Asha for education – London chapter where I manage a project called Puvidham – a school for the underprivileged in Dharmapuri.
I also organise a number of fundraiser events here in London for our projects back home in India. As part of this, we started a group called “Team Asha” where we did two ultra marathon walking events – 50 km and 100 km. I am madly into walking and completed my first 100 km walk last year over the span of 48 hours from London to Brighton where we raised close to £2000. I am hoping to do a 106 km challenge next year around the Isle of Wight! :).On a completely different side of things, I am also very passionate about Zumba. A few years ago when I was totally out of shape, Zumba played a very important role in helping me to stick to a workout and making me realise that I am quite a decent dancer! After 4 years of Zumba, I am a certified Zumba instructor myself and enjoy giving classes or rather Zumba parties!
My idea of a perfect future is where I am juggling more problem solving, possibly through more interdisciplinary research, learning music and performing, teaching hands on science and mathematics to kids, doing ultra-marathons every year and of course Zumba-ing!I think I have droned on enough about myself – my only advice is please don’t let anything or anyone to dictate what you can and cannot do. We have the time to do a lot of things – trust me :).”