ISyE undergrad, Shinjini Das, will be graduating this May. But before she does, Shinjini will give the coveted Undergraduate Reflection Speech in front of approximately 10,000 undergraduates and their families who are waiting excitedly to cross the stage and receive their diplomas. We were able to sit down with Das and pick her brain on this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Before delving deeper, it is important to note that public speaking has been a forte of Das’ for many years. Das was recognized as a 2009 Future Business Leaders of America Top Ten National Finalist in Public Speaking and served as the only undergraduate workshop facilitator of ‘The Road to Effective Public Speaking’ at the 2011 ACC Leadership Conference. A President’s Scholar at Georgia Tech studying industrial engineering, she is an inducted member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national collegiate leadership society. Looking to the future, Das has accepted a full time offer with Deloitte Consulting where she hopes to put her public speaking skills to the test.
The theme of Das’ reflection speech is 'The Spirit of Georgia Tech,” one quality she feels that distinguishes this institution from the rest is 'spirit.'
“There is an incredible amount of spirit here on campus, both in and out of the classroom, spirit that drives each of us towards achieving our goals and aspirations,” says Das. “I hope to impart the message that the qualities we have developed through our experiences at Georgia Tech will continue to define us as we strive to exceed our potential as future leaders.”
Das has competed in numerous public speaking competitions on the national level and has presented at the 2011 ACC Leadership Conference and the 2011 Georgia Tech Leadership Conference. Ever since her first competition at age 15, and as a Future Business Leaders of America Top 10 National Finalist, Das has grown tremendously both as a person and as a professional. The process of crafting a speech, relating it to a diverse audience, and delivering it with style proved to be the perfect preparation for building confidence in her life and beyond.
During her early years, Das had to have sufficient content and flair for delivery to engage a wide variety of audiences each week during competitions. The experience upped her sense of self and confidence in her speaking abilities and she holds strong to the notion that public speaking has “revolutionized my life.” For Das, the greatest honor is knowing that her message has successfully impacted a group of individuals. “Serving as commencement speaker this spring is truly the culmination of a lifelong dream and the fruition of a vision,” she says.
Georgia Tech is known for preparing its students for life after college and Das is no exception. Along the way she has learned the value of hard work, determination, and above all, persistence.
“I am prepared to handle failure with poise and grace, and to rise above challenges. Ultimately, my career at Georgia Tech has ensured that in the future, though I may be challenged, I will not be shattered. I thank Georgia Tech for this experience and am looking forward to staying connected with the institution,” Das says.
For those still in college, Das urges those to “create your own opportunities and strive to follow a path in order to achieve your goals and aspirations.” Her biggest achievement to date has been representing Georgia Tech in several leadership roles on a national level. She serves on The New Agenda's 2014 Young Women Leadership Council as the only woman from Georgia Tech. Impressively, after a Womensphere Emerging Leaders Summit, Das successfully reached out to the EVP of Brand Marketing for the Harlem Globetrotters to ask her to serve as the keynote speaker at the Georgia Tech Leadership Conference. She was also invited as the youngest presenter by 'The Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation' to lead a seminar on 'Life After College,' in which Das discussed her experiences at Georgia Tech.
Das enjoys encouraging her fellow students to sharpen their oral communication skills. “Effective communication is the name of the game today. The best way to improve is to practice! I would encourage those interested to pursue opportunities to lead and speak both during presentations during class and outside, in great initiatives, such as the Public Speaking Club at Georgia Tech.”
Das believes that it is critical for students, especially engineers, to refine their oral skills as the combination between technical and communication aptitude is very high in demand. With a desire to pursue a professional speaking career alongside her staple career choice, the demand for Das will run high as well.
Industrial and Systems Engineering