Published: 15th December 2018
London calling: Meet two among the 104 women who were awarded British Council’s STEM scholarships to study in the UK
These STEM Scholarships were given away to young girls as a part of the British Council’s celebration of 70 years in India
Imagine bagging a scholarship to study in the UK with the added bonus of meeting UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May. This was the double bonanza that 104 ladies from across India, who had won British Council’s STEM scholarships, got to experience. While the 26-year-old Mounika Gurram from Khammam admires May as a strong leader, unafraid to take any risk in her job, Divya Manjusha Devagudi, the 20-year-old from Tirupati, said that meeting May was one of the best things to happen to her. We caught up with these two students from the two Telugu-speaking states to understand what they expect to gain from this experience and what else are they looking forward to doing in the UK. Excerpts:
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and brought up in Khammam and graduated from Vasavi College of Engineering in Electronics and Communication Engineering. Currently, I’m pursuing my Master’s in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh.
How was the experience of meeting PM Theresa May?
It was overwhelming. She extended a warm welcome to all the British Council scholars. It was very inspirational to meet her and I admire her as she is a strong leader, unafraid to take any risk in her job. She highlighted the importance of getting more women into STEM fields and wished that all of us have a good time in the UK. The British Council scholarship helped me to get on an international platform.
Smile, please: Mounika Gurram is currently pursuing her Master's in AI | (Pic: Mounika Gurram)
Tell us about how you came to develop an inclination towards the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
I am passionate about learning new technologies. The experience of working in MNCs has given me a tremendous insight into the functioning of industries and their needs. With the recent advancements in AI and the disruptive transformations it brought to all fields, especially healthcare and IT, I developed a strong inclination to gain expertise in this field and explore the benefit of this technology for the community.
Where do you see yourself after this course in the UK?
I would like to see myself in a position which provides me with an opportunity to utilise my core skills and enable me to apply the knowledge gained in this field to practice.
Apart from the course, what are you looking forward to doing in the UK?
UK is home to many start-ups especially in the field of AI. Apart from the course, I am taking part in lean start-up programmes which will help gain a few insights into this industry.
The British Council had awarded 104 scholarships for women who wanted to pursue PG degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
Divya Manjusha Devagudi
Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your educational background and where you are from?
My schooling was in Tirupati and I moved to Bishop Heber College, Tiruchirappalli for Bachelor’s in Actuarial Mathematical Sciences (BSc) so I had a clear idea about Actuarial Science. Now, I am at the University of Kent doing International Master’s in Applied Actuarial Science (MSc).
How is the experience going so far?
Being sponsored itself is an excellent opportunity and studying in the UK has been my dream. Without the British Council 70th anniversary scholarships, this would not have been possible. Besides this, meeting PM Theresa Mary May and visiting the House of Lords was amazing.
I would like to be an inspiration for all those who take up actuaries in the future
Divya Manjusha Devagudi, Student | (Pic: Divya Manjusha Devagudi)
Tell us about how you discovered that you are passionate about the field of Actuarial Science? What exactly do you see yourself doing in this field?
I always had a passion for doing something new and Actuarial Science is one such subject which needs great dedication and analysis. In India, actuarial work is only confined to the insurance sector. India needs many more well-skilled actuarial professionals. This is why I chose to be an actuary, I want to be an inspiration for future actuaries and an icon for choosing a different field.
Where do you see yourself in five years and in which fields do you see yourself working in?
By the time I graduate from the University of Kent, I would like to be a fellow Actuary from Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. I would prefer to work in the field of General Insurance and investments after my master’s.
What do you feel about bagging the scholarship and this opportunity?
This is an opportunity that not everyone would get, I consider myself to be lucky for bagging this chance and to be one of the scholars of the British Council 70th anniversary scholarships. I thank the British Council wholeheartedly for it.