All this talk of The Great Northeast Snowstorm has got us thinking back to last July when we met Ria Bhatia from Penn State. It was easily 90 degrees out when we did this shoot, but her faux fur vest was so luxe that we all had to try it on! We bet she’s happy to have it in the frozen northeast right now! Ria was kind enough to open source her day-to-day and share with us what keeps her so busy. Read on to find out more about this mentoring-minded computer scientist.
Tell us a little about you.
I’m a rising Junior at Penn State, where I’m majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Mathematics and Engineering Leadership Development. Outside of school I’m involved with a couple different clubs and organizations:
- Mentoring incoming freshman in Engineering
- Helping students out with resumes and give them career advice
- Giving prospective students tours of Penn State’s Engineering College next year
- I’m in an engineering sorority (which isn’t as nerdy as it sounds!)
- I’m also Parade Captain for Penn State Homecoming!
So, school is super hectic but being busy keeps my mind free.
I also have a huge adventurous side to me so hiking, rowing, and swimming in random lakes are all game (especially in the Seattle summer).
Tell us about what you’re wearing.
My blue dress (Forever21) really shows off the fun colorful side of me - since I’m Indian I have dark features and bold prints are something I can actually pull off. I love this dress because it makes a statement and it can be dressed down or up.
My other outfit is an American Rag vest with some dark wash skinny jeans and gold Ann Taylor flats. Penn State is so cold in the winter time so this vest really embodies the huge parka I wear around campus while being way more stylish. Jeans are a staple of my outfits so finding super stylish but also comfortable jeans is always key - these ones are Hollister.
How did your style evolve to what it is now?
My style evolved from Hollister print shirts to a more sophisticated look, probably because I graduated high school. Big milestones along the way were realizing that skirts will always look a little off on me (so I finally stopped investing in them), and discovering the true genius of Sperry’s after breaking them in for a year.
Statement necklaces also became a thing in college but I definitely haven’t worn my statement necklaces to their full potential; that’s a challenge for another day. This one is from a palace in Beijing.
Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?
Find a mentor to look up to asap; being in any STEM field is difficult and you’re going to need a mentor to help guide you even when you feel like quitting. You are capable of achieving anything but you need support and resources to help you achieve anything, so always ask for help and remember that you’re never in this alone.
We all have the power to create and build, so don’t let any historical notions or words of others tell you differently.
What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?
Last summer I got to work in the Open Source Technology Center and I wrote networking providers for Linux servers. This experience exposed me the world of open source operating systems which is something I really knew nothing about before. I learned so much about how to produce code in a team setting. I got through my internship by asking loads of questions and that’s something that I’m not afraid of anymore. I used to think asking questions was a sign of weakness but really when you’re asking the right questions it can be a sign of knowledge and understanding.
I’m looking forward to the future when I can work on more projects at Microsoft and make huge impacts on people’s everyday lives.
What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?
Twitter / Instagram / Facebook
We absolutely adored the feline’esque Ria and her passion for mentoring newer students as well as infiltrating the amazing world of open source technology. We know she will make some killer contributions–spreading her mentoring and wisdom even further! We are amazed at Ria’s busy schedule of formal coaching/mentoring, being in an engineering sorority, parade captain, outdoors activities, and oh yeah, classes! This awesome young woman is absolutely killing it at Penn State this year and we can’t wait to see what she does this summer.
Stay warm, Ria!
Dona & Beth