Mariyam Jivani

I'm a Berkeley EngineerClass of 2019
Electrical engineering and computer sciences
Santa Monica College

When did you know that you wanted to become an engineer? I realized I wanted to be an engineer when I took my first college-level single-variable calculus and Physics-Mechanics classes at Santa Monica College. It really sparked something within me. I would be in tears while trying to solve physics and calculus optimization problems but I would instantly be on cloud nine as soon as I would figure out the solution or at least the general idea behind the problem. I realized that I was always curious about how things were built. I loved studying about the human brain too. So, when I was pondering over questions of ethics when it came to Artificial Intelligence, I found myself feeling uncomfortable. That is what I like, trying to find comfort in uncomfortability. Engineering does exactly that. It is a humbling experience.

Mariyam JivaniMariyam Jivani (photo by Laura Vogt)Why did you choose Berkeley Engineering? I have truly been blessed with experiences from India as well as the United States. While India instilled in me a strong need for inclusiveness from a very young age, the United States helped me strengthen my commitment to lifelong learning. So, when I was at my community college applying to different engineering programs, the two most important things for me were whether the program emphasized on learning and multidisciplinary approaches to solving problems. Berkeley Engineering was amongst the very few universities that really demonstrated these ideas, even before I came to Berkeley. Therefore, I chose Berkeley Engineering. Its emphasis on inclusiveness and learning resonates with me and my values.

What do you like most about Berkeley Engineering? I truly love the people at Berkeley Engineering. This includes the professors that I have had so far, the students that I have spent long office hours with, the course staff for all courses I have enrolled in and of course, the behind-the-scenes administrators who make programs like LeaderShape possible. As a student, constantly  in search for encouragement and support amidst a stimulating academic environment, it is truly helpful to realize that others around you care for you and are willing to go above and beyond just like you would, to ensure meaningful learning experiences.

Do you often take advantage of programs and offerings of Engineering Student Services?  A few resources that I was able to learn and get information from were:

  1. The (Not So) Secret Guide to Engineering Podcasts
  2. The ESS newsletters
  3. LeaderShape 2018 — it was amazing!
  4. ESS counseling in the beginning of the semester and faculty advising

All these resources did play an instrumental role in helping me navigate my courses for the first two semesters and meeting new people that shared similar interests with me.

What are you passionate about? My passion can be expressed in the following lines for my vision for... A future wherein every child and his/her family can have the luxury to think beyond resources basic to human development such as healthcare, food, water and housing... to think about what they are truly passionate about learning and pursue it with fearlessness. This is possible through education and learning, which in turn is only possible if the worries associated with what to eat the next day or how to take care of oneself are banished... it is only possible through poverty alleviation. Poverty alleviation, as I have mentioned in the past, is a simultaneous process wherein we have to work on several fronts — access to nutritious food, clean water, safe housing and effective healthcare — for people living in poverty. Health is crucial to every human being and thus, one of my stretch goals focuses on free healthcare access for all in the form of powerful, portable, engineered devices, so as to ensure the luxury I have in mind for every child.

So, I am passionate about improving the quality of life of every child through engineering.

Have you had a memorable “aha” moment (yet) at Berkeley Engineering? Interestingly, I have had several "aha" moments at Berkeley Engineering. One of them is when I was at LeaderShape 2018, working with my fellow program participants on active listening skills. I was following instructions on active listening while my colleague shared his ideas on day-to-day social groups he found himself categorized in. There came a moment when I realized that it was in a long time, since my arrival to the United States that I had truly been able to just listen... without judgments ... just absorb everything my colleague said. That is when it hit me that active listening, when performed with the most honest and diligent intentions, does really help keep judgments at bay!