Meet software engineering PhD student Richa Awasthy, who sees her studies as a way to help improve the lives of people around the world.
You’ve done a masters’, and worked for a large multi-national tech company, why did you choose to do a PhD at ANU?
"It is the number 1 university in Australia when it came to the type of research I wanted to do. Its strong inter-disciplinary focus is really unique for my software engineering field. It is a truly international university that provides a conducive environment and lots of opportunities for you to grow."
“The kind of project I am working on will benefit both industry and academia by bringing them closer. It will help to achieve the aim of research to be useful for people and technology being used for social impact.”
What’s it like being a graduate student at ANU?
"ANU is the right choice to grow yourself and your career. Beyond my academic studies, I have meet students from various nationalities, they have helped me grow individually, I have been so fortunate to have colleagues that are very helpful and motivating."
"I am always out and about doing something. I have tutored, volunteered, attended social events with the Computer Science Students Association, participated in Hacking competitions, and spent hours relaxing in the central ANU area at the beginning of University Avenue near Union Court. The greenery there is dense, lush and beautiful."
So you Hack for fun in your spare time?
"No, actually I participated in the local Hackathon ACT (HACT) competition with my friend Sara, where we created a web-based application in just 32 hours which helps non-English speaking students with their pronunciation. The main idea was that we have a lot of English tutorials and people do them in classrooms, but we wanted to take the app to the hands of the people, giving them flexibility of practicing their words whenever they want, whether they are travelling or are at home."
What advice would you give to students thinking of starting a graduate program at ANU?
“If you want to make an impact in your area of research then ANU is the place. Research helps you discover the benefits of existing things, explore the new things, and be innovative. This skill-set is mandatory for survival in any industry because change is inevitable and change for better comes through research.”
Any final words of advice?
“Canberra is a very beautiful, student-friendly city to explore. There might be some culture shock and you might need some time to get adjusted at first, but you will fall in love with ANU and the city very soon.”