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From makerspace to making her space: a Mumbai girl’s inspiring journey of breaking stereotypes and securing an Engineering admit at Purdue

Samika Chander, a young ambitious girl from Mumbai, has achieved a notable feat by clinching a spot in the prestigious Purdue University, top-ranked for Engineering disciplines by US News & World Report. This is especially remarkable as traditional engineering fields like Mechanical and Electrical are highly dominated by male students.


Join us as we celebrate Samika’s success and applaud her determination, resilience, and commitment to pursuing her dreams. 


Speaking about why she opted for Mechanical Engineering as her major, Samika responded “I’ve always been passionate about knowing ‘how stuff works’ ever since I was a child. If I am not in the classroom, you’re sure to find me immersed in a lab or makerspace, tinkering with a machine. I am used to being the only female participant in science fairs, demonstrating working models driven by fluids and pumps while my peers typically opted for presentations involving charts, posters, and prototypes.”


Looking back on her journey, Samika recognized the importance of her projects and extracurricular involvement in shaping her career objectives. “I believe my research papers, maker projects, and community service were instrumental in differentiating my profile and defining my personality. Being an IBDP student gave me an edge; however, it was my work outside the classroom that made me stand out from the rest. The joy of creating practical solutions that positively impact society, along with my ability to work independently and innovate, keeps me motivated.” shared Samika. 


Upon asking about these innovations, Samika ecstatically talked about her self-sustaining Hydroponics System and the Mask Dryer Machine that she had designed using household items during covid-19 pandemic. She added, “These initiatives not only allowed me to apply engineering principles in innovative ways but also underscored the importance of sustainable solutions and adaptability in design.”


Samika was also grateful to her mentors at Scholarly, who played a crucial role in her admission journey. “I would like to thank Vivek Sir, Founder and CEO of Scholarly, for motivating me and guiding me to publish two research papers in renowned international journals and share my findings with the world. Since US universities place a lot of emphasis on research, I truly believe these papers helped showcase my curiosity, problem-solving skills, and analytical mindset to the admission committee.”


We are indeed amazed by Samika’s infectious zeal and enthusiasm. It’s rare to come across such ambitious individuals who have made their mark at such a young age! Not just co-curricular activities, Samika has developed a holistic profile by actively participating in MUNs and working closely with NGOs. She elucidated, “US universities are looking for future leaders, changemakers, and risk-takers who can create a positive impact on the world. Through my extracurricular involvement, I heavily focussed on developing strong leadership and communication skills. A social service endeavor like working with Kshamta NGO enabled me to empower marginalized women by educating them and imparting them life skills. My dedication to personal and societal growth has helped me to aim higher and pursue my dream of developing eco-conscious technologies for generations to come. And studying Mechanical Engineering at Purdue would be the first step in this thousand-mile journey!” 


As we know, a journey to any destination is never a butter-smooth ride; there are always certain roadblocks one has to face. Samika faced certain challenges like her failed startup. As a first-time entrepreneur, she made some mistakes which led to the fall of her online marketplace venture ‘Why Arts LLP’. Nonetheless, instead of getting demotivated, she learned from this experience and emerged stronger and wiser. Her journey serves as a reminder that setbacks are not brick walls but glass ceilings waiting to be shattered by resilience. 


As Samika starts this new chapter, she carries the hopes of many who dream big. Her story encourages young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. We congratulate her on this momentous accomplishment and wish her continued success in her future endeavors.

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