A passion for STEM
Course: Masters of Digital Systems and Telecommunication, 2020
Institution: Australian National University
Location: Canberra, ACT
As Anneshwa Dey approaches the end of her master’s degree in digital systems and telecommunication, she is already preparing for the next step on her academic and professional journey.
In fact, Anneshwa has now accepted a PhD position at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. Her research will focus on the use of signal processing and coding techniques used in gravitational waves and telecommunication into other applications, like inertial navigation.
The uncertainty of a global pandemic, together with travel restrictions and lockdowns, has meant that the ANU student hasn’t been back to India for more than 18 months.
Add to that, Anneshwa’s own parents becoming sick with COVID-19, the tyranny of distance and that lingering question of when she might be able to see her family again, and it’s fair to say its been a challenging time.
Despite this, Anneshwa says her family’s love and continued support for her to ‘stay the course and keep going’ has fuelled her persistence.
“It has made me realise I want to be closer to my family and that has strengthened my determination to do well in my current path,” she says.
It was Anneshwa’s family and formative years that instilled in her a passion for education and technology."
Her grandparents and parents, she says, inspired her to follow a career path in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
“I grew up in a joint family where my uncle and aunt, along with my parents, brought me up. All of them, together, pushed me to give my best. They ensured I was motivated to accomplish whatever I set my mind to.
Anneshwa has fond memories of her family’s encouragement.
“My uncle graduated from a polytechnic college and he had all these wacky ideas for my science projects,” she quips.
“I just enjoyed it so much that I knew engineering would be my path.”
During her master’s degree studies at ANU, Anneshwa has been providing encouragement to the next generation of women in STEM, by participating in the Girls into Earth and Marine Sciences program. The program saw her mentor year 11 and 12 students at Lake Tuggeranong College in Australia’s capital city, Canberra.
“The general idea was to tell them about the opportunities in engineering and to help them build a proposal on a relevant STEM-focused topic.
“They had to propose a course, that kids who are in grade 2 now, would study in 2030. The idea was to fill the gaps for what they lacked or should have known in high school, that would help them transition into college.
“It is the most satisfying feeling,” Aneshwa says, when asked what it’s like to mentor these students.
Knowing that even one student can be informed about the opportunities in engineering and forgo the stereotypes associated with engineering particularly for females is the best gift I can get out of mentoring.
The pandemic has been tough on Anneshwa and her family but staying in contact virtually with those back home helped her cope. In Canberra, her tight-knit community of friends and colleagues at ANU were also there to provide support.
“I was in constant communication with my family but given I could not do much, keeping myself distracted by work, and having a team that had my back, was how I managed to come through it.
“My best friend in India has given me constant company virtually and my cousins in Melbourne always cheered me up when I was down. This company, even though virtual, was my steer and I simply couldn't have done this journey without him.
“My extended family in Canberra (my friends) have also been incredibly supportive. We talk, go for a long drive to see the sunsets, have meals together. I think for most of us here who are miles away from family, having supportive and understanding friends is simply the best. We just show up at the door of the person, bring them food and talk.
As someone who has spent her academic life studying digital technology, Anneshwa has advice for those looking to undertake online study.
“It becomes essential to be more outspoken online,” she says. “I understand it is more difficult, but it is easy to get lost in the virtual crowd. So, speaking up, reaching out to tutors, lecturers and fellow classmates can do wonders.
“I am just hoping things change in the near future. I am glad to be here. How Australia has tackled the COVID situation here is absolutely amazing.
“More than me, it is for my family who have one less thing to worry about. The last two and half years of my life at ANU have been challenging, but wonderful.
You can start your Australian education today from wherever you are. Visit ‘explore my study options’ on our home page where you’ll find a flexible mix of study options from wholly online through to studying at Australian campuses around the world. Follow in Anneshwa’s footsteps and start your own unique journey today.