Shruthi Sridhar: 'Personal improvement can be as fulfilling as getting an award '

Shruthi Sridhar


Chennai, India

What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?

Finding out that I can be engaged by and interested in activities I wasn't good at was a crucial realization. This happened through the course of several events, including getting a C on my first ever essay at college, spending hours on a math theorem I couldn't understand and going to a ballroom class although I've never liked to dance. This realization has led me to explore interests or classes that I never thought I would like. More importantly, I have become conscious of how personal improvement can be as fulfilling as getting an award.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

I have found a community like no other in the Cornell math department. Given the small class sizes, I've also gotten to know my professors well. They've been sources of inspiration as well as people to go to for advice. I've also met some of my closest friends by working on problem sets or talking about math. This community has been crucial to my education at Cornell.

What do you value about your liberal arts education?

When most of my academic pursuits have been to have a deeper understanding of my major, or to make myself a better candidate for graduate school, the liberal arts education makes sure that I explore new areas as well as areas that I have some interest in, but neglected in pursuit of career goals. There has been something that has excited me in every class that I've taken, and I'm grateful that I had to take classes outside my major.

What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I'll be starting a mathematics Ph.D. program at Princeton in the fall. My goal is to be a professor in mathematics, a career that combines the two things I enjoy most about math: teaching and research. Thus, I see myself playing an important role in the development of the field, as well as sharing knowledge with the next generation of students.

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		 Shruthi Sridhar