From her love of coding, to being bitten by the entrepreneurship bug, Ishika represents a new generation of holistic engineers.
Junior-year Engineering Product Development student
Why did you choose to study at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)?
SUTD is the only university to combine both design and technology in their curriculum, and I’ve always been passionate about both. I was intrigued by their hands-on and holistic approach to engineering and believed that I would be able to benefit most in this unique environment!
Why did you choose to major in Engineering Product Development (EPD)? What is your favorite module and why?
I chose EPD because I’ve always had a fascination and love for physics. It’s also my favorite subject! EPD teaches me to produce something tangible that can help solve problems of the world.
The Introduction to Design class is my favourite module. It gives us the opportunity to choose any real-world problem and we get to spend a term designing a solution for it as a team!
Tell us more about how your lecturers incorporate data science, AI and machine learning into your classes. Which of these classes stood out to you the most and why?
In our freshmore term, we learnt the foundations of data science, and we explored it further through projects that involved modelling and training of data collected from sensors. I’ll be taking my AI and machine learning classes in my next term.
Did you take the Digital World module? What were the top lessons you took away from this class? How do you think you will apply these lessons to your future career?
Yes, I did. In fact, it’s a compulsory module in our freshmore year. This module introduced us to Python coding, and we learnt to develop android applications. As part of The Digital World course, we also programmed line-following robots too! I find that this module played an important role in deciding my career path. This class helped me discover my love for coding and I decided to pursue a computer science minor, which would not have been the case had I not chose SUTD and undergone the freshmore year!
Tell us more about the summer programme at TU Berlin. How do you think this complements your study at SUTD?
I was chosen for a 2-month summer programme in TU Berlin where we took up courses on start-ups and entrepreneurship. It was extremely enriching to experience the start-up tech scene in Berlin, while making friends from all over the world and travelling around Europe. While SUTD gives me a strong foundation in engineering and technology, the programme gave me insights on how I can build my own tech business!
Have you undergone any internships? Tell us more about them — what did you like and dislike most about each one? Did your lecturers support you during these internships? What did you learn from them?
I did a 16-week internship with Silicon Labs (a semiconductor manufacturing company) as a Product Test Engineer. It helped me understand the real-world industry culture. I liked how I could apply the knowledge I learnt from EPD in real-world situations. Unfortunately, I was mostly working from home due to Covid-19, so I could not fully experience the office environment. And yes, our lecturers and the Career Development Centre helped us greatly throughout the journey. Through these experiences, I learned a lot about the semiconductor industry/systems, and improved my coding skills significantly!
You are active in several clubs, such as Namaste (Indian Cultural Club), Dance Derivativez (Hip Hop) Dance Club and Taal Dance Club. Was it hard to find these clubs? What do you enjoy most from joining these clubs? Do you think your experience at SUTD would be different had you not joined these clubs?
I joined these clubs at the very start of my university life. During our orientation, there were many performances, display booths as well as info sessions about Fifth Row clubs. As such, it wasn’t difficult for me to find the clubs. I think these extra-curricular activities really helped me to grow as a leader and a dancer. They played a very important role in shaping my personality and making varsity life exciting. I think being an active member of many clubs made school life quite busy and challenging for me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What are your plans for the future? How do you think SUTD will prepare you for your career?
I plan to work as a product engineer for a few years after I graduate, and then possibly establish my own tech start-up in a field related to wearable technology. SUTD has developed not just my engineering skills, but also numerous critical soft skills. The most important skill SUTD has taught me is the ability to adapt and pick up new skills while working on a job/project.
Having done a number of projects in SUTD, which is your favourite and why?
My favourite course projects are from the Introduction to Design and Engineering to Design modules. But if I had to choose a single favorite project, it would be my current Undergraduate Research Opportunity Project (UROP) project on smart shape-changing textiles. I’ve always been passionate about this idea and I founded the UROP project myself, so it gives me a great deal of flexibility, and decision-making authority, and satisfaction.