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Shathurshika Chandrakumar

Schulich Leader, Engineering I


Shathurshika is an advocate for women in STEM, and has participated in DECA and Model UN. She’s also a workshop and seminar conductor for STEAM Team, where she organizes programs based on STEAM principles for elementary and middle-school students.

What does it mean to be named a Schulich leader?

To be named a Schulich Leader is simultaneously one of the greatest rewards I have received for my hard work in high school, and the most potent motivation to keep striving for my best in post-secondary studies. The title of a Schulich Leader, beyond granting me incredibly generous financial aid, also opens up the door to an invaluable network of individuals and opportunities in STEM, and being a part of such a community only furthers my resolve to keep working hard and contributing to the world around me.

What is your dream job?

My dream job would be a position in the Aerospace Industry where I can work directly towards bringing advancements of space exploration down to Earth for the benefit of global issues. I would love to not only exercise my critical thinking as an engineer, but also communicate and connect with other people in project-based settings in order to achieve a meaningful impact in the world.

What made you choose McMaster Engineering?

McMaster’s renowned research and engineering facilities along with the option of gaining experience in my field through co-op drew me towards choosing McMaster Engineering. Furthermore, the incredibly diverse array of extracurriculars as well as the tight-knit student community were things that really appealed to me, and I felt that McMaster was the perfect place for my post-secondary studies. 

What are you most passionate about outside of the classroom?

Outside of the classroom, I am very passionate about advocating for opportunities within STEM in the community around me, particularly to female students and/or those from low-income backgrounds. In high school, this passion led me to becoming a workshop leader in the STEAM Team, a club that focused on educating elementary to middle-school students about the potential career paths that exist in STEM today, and the ever-present need for individuals to lead positive change and innovation within their fields. I hope to continue this advocacy at McMaster as well. 

Who is your role model?

My role models are definitely my parents. I always strive to emulate their work ethic in my academic pursuits, and their generosity of heart in my passions outside of the classroom. Without their tireless work and sacrifices, I would not have had the opportunities I enjoy today, and so I regard them as my first and foremost role models in life.

How have you stayed motivated during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, without the structured schedule of school and other activities, motivation has been something very difficult to maintain. Personally, something that worked for me is creating my own schedule, whether it be for brushing up on my academic work or learning something new like coding, and sticking to it on a daily basis. To keep me healthy in mind and body, I also pursue activities such as yoga, biking and kickboxing in my free time. This gives me a routine that ensures I develop good self-disciplinary habits and sustains my motivation.

What are you looking forward to and/or are most nervous about working virtually this Fall?

I am definitely looking forward to how hands-on Engineering projects will be developed in a virtual setting, and the new tools that I will learn in the process. I am very nervous, on the other hand, of the aspect of connecting with my peers this Fall in this new environment. It is still something very strange to get used to when seeing faces through the computer screen rather than in person, however, I am sure that this new way of connecting will grow more comfortable as time passes.

What three things would you take with you to a desert island?

As I love to read and sketch, the three things I would take with me to a desert island include a book (perhaps a childhood classic like Harry Potter, or my recent favourite A Game of Thrones), a pencil and a sketchbook. I answer this question in a very light-hearted manner, so while these items are not exactly survival necessity, they are very important to feeding my creativity and will carry me through the inevitable boredom that comes with being stranded on a desert island.