Harjyot Singh is an Artist in a Lab Coat

09 Feb 2016

Harjyot Singh is an Artist in a Lab Coat

Harry is the third of our five Edinburgh students in this series. When Beth asked around at the CS events for who she should profile, the unanimous response was for this guy right here, so you can guess how much fun the shoot was! Read on for sentences like “So naturally I play Guitar for an Indie/Alternative Rock band here.” (Gosh, naturally!).

Tell us a little about you.

I’m from India, I moved to the UK about two years ago and I’m currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at The University of Edinburgh.

When it comes to how I spend my time, my hobbies are all over the place! I have been into music and art since I was 8, got into it because I was a very introverted child, spent most of my time reading (Still do, not often as I would like though) or picking up instruments! So naturally I play Guitar for an Indie/Alternative Rock band here. I like to believe that I fall somewhere between the artsy and nerdy types.

I’m also a lot into the fitness scene so you’ll always spot me either at the gym practicing for my upcoming kickboxing match or down by the canal trying to improve my rowing split (Dona’s gonna go ahead and act like she knows what this means)!

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

For my first outfit, I am wearing slim fit black jeans from Lee, A plain organic cotton t-shirt from h&m and some random overcoat I picked up at the thrift store.

For the second, the overall things are the same except the shirt - It’s a black Zara’s stretch shirt:For the accessories, I’m wearing Brown Chukka boots from topman. A Skull Bracelet from Topman, a Beads Bracelet from Topman, a Harley Davidson Belt…and some random scarf.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

To begin with, when I was back in India, I never really paid attention to how I dressed or what I looked like. However once I got to UK, I saw how people expressed themselves with their clothing. I started exploring, and as a firm believer in the italian saying of sprezzatura, I really loved the elegance of 3 piece italian suits but also the care-free look of the street hipster style.

After that I filled my wardrobe with classic shirts, to a few plain t-shirts, venturing out to more unusual patterns/styles at times (once I tried to wear red trews - didn’t really go well!) and from there it has evolved into a mix of the two, where one side overshadows the other depending on my mood.

A thing I never really understood up until maybe a few months back is how important accessories are and how they can bring together a look! Belts, watches (I am quite proud of my collection), bracelets, scarves and boots, I have variety again for whatever goes with how I am feeling that day!

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

Don’t let what people tell you deter you! You might find people who are better than you, know much more than you, or spend most of their time just doing STEM related things. Don’t let that make you think that you aren’t good enough!

Bring what you have to the field, give it your best, learn all you can. Remember this is a field of thinkers and innovators - we are artists in lab coats, everyone is bound to be beautifully different!

Oh, and don’t forget to live.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

I haven’t had a chance to really work on too many projects during my short term at university, but the one that comes to mind is GreatUniHack in Manchester, early 2015.

GreatUniHack  is a 36-hour long hack that I and some friends decided to embark on. After much debate we decided to build a simple client that allows you to summarize and forward your emails as text messages. We wanted the basic functionality of being able to send/receive, but we also added in some cool features like being able to see the trend of emails you receive.

The idea stemmed from recalling times we’ve had to monitor emails in a place without internet - I remember once my mother got really upset because I didn’t respond to her emails for a week…

The best thing about the weekend was that I was able to help make my teammates’ first hackathon experience a good one - it really made me happy to see that they learnt something useful and enjoyed it as well! The project won an award I think :)

Are there any misconceptions about STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?

I have often come across people who tell me I talk a lot for a computer science guy, and I think that’s a big misconception. No, we don’t all spend our lives in front of a computer screen, no we don’t all obsess over the same pop culture things (anime, star wars, etc pick your poison), nor do we wear the same hoodie to lectures for a week!

Everyone is different, what field you like to study doesn’t affect how you are as a person or what your interests are, people who are in my field can be interested in fashion or music or sports, and yes we are social (I could party better than the next guy haha!)

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

The best way to follow me would be to add me on facebook or follow me on instagram. If you want ridiculous selfies, my snapchat handle is [harjyot7]. You can find me on github too!

Gosh what a fun interview, and educational too - Beth learned a new word! (sprezzatura). 

To echo Harry;”Oh, and don’t forget to live.”

Dona & Beth