An image of Aishwarya with MatSoc magazine

Aishwarya Varanasi is a third-year Undergraduate student. In 2020/21 Aishwarya is the Magazine Editor for MatSoc magazine, a bi-yearly magazine published on behalf of the Materials Society. 

How have you found the role of MatSoc Magazine Officer so far? 

I have enjoyed my role as MatSoc Magazine Officer so far. I have a few more months left in my term as magazine officer. I’ve always liked the graphic design and writing articles so this role was an excellent combination of both. I thought that this was a nice way to marry my extracurricular interests with the idea of giving back to the MatSoc community. 

Through this role, I was able to talk to many of the first years who had written articles for the magazine and hopefully inspired them enough to take an active role in departmental life in the following years. I thoroughly enjoyed e-meeting some of the first years and reading about their perspectives on “online lectures” and “contact lenses”. In the Winter 2020 edition, I had introduced the alumni section where I had interviewed many alumni and asked them to share their experiences working in industry and impart some advice to current undergraduates. I had thoroughly enjoyed networking with alumni and learning many new things about working in strategy consultancies, materials consultancies and academia. It was also very nice reading about some of my course mates UROP experiences and opinions on different materials topics. I personally feel that I have learnt a lot through talking to a lot of the writers during my time in this role and this has played a key role in developing my personality.

What is your proudest achievement this year? 

Adjusting to all the online lectures and labs has definitely been one of my big achievements this year. But I think one of my proudest achievements this year has been my third-year design study project. Having 5-hour calls on multiple days to work on a project with someone living in a time zone 8 hours ahead has definitely been a challenging experience. I am quite pleased with what I had learnt through the design study project and design office members. I would also like to say that adjusting to remote university would not have been possible with the department’s excellent work on modifying all its teaching for remote study. I also think that Emily, Emmeline, the Wellbeing team and MatSoc have worked very hard to organise social events on teams to recreate the “close-knit materials community” on teams. 

What was your biggest challenge this year? 

My biggest challenge this year was settling down in the “new normal”. I was one of the people who actually enjoyed walking to university every single day and attending lectures in person. With everything being moved online, at times I found it hard to concentrate on the online lectures for long periods of time every single day. 

What does Women at Imperial week mean to you? 

Women at Imperial celebrates the achievements of female staff and students at Imperial and raises awareness of the support available in the college for women. From my first year, I had noticed that our department has got a decent male to female ratio compared to many other engineering departments; which is a great thing! I’ve had many female role models to look up to in the department – right from my personal tutor Dr Fang Xie and lecturers like Dr Theoni Georgiou to seniors like Abigael Bamgboye. I believe that this week is a great way to meet many more successful and well-established women in STEM and celebrate their achievements together to understand that there is truly no limit to what a woman can achieve.