Finding the Right Challenge
September 27, 2019
University of South Florida Business undergraduate Bhavika Shah came to a realization after completing a business calculus course.
“I wanted more,” said Shah, who ultimately earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.
Support for changing majors came from her family, including her father who has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and knows what is involved in becoming an engineer.
“He understood you will fail more times than you succeed, and always reminded me to take it one day at a time,” said Shah, who also cites persistence and a willingness to seek out resources to overcome challenges.
Among the resources Shah found at USF were peer study groups, accessible professors and the College of Engineering’s Design for X Laboratory, of which she was a lab assistant and student manager during her studies. The DFX Lab is a well-equipped facility provided for undergraduate students to work on engineering projects, especially those featuring multi-disciplinary characteristics.
The kind of work produced by Shah and other students helped validate her decision to study computer engineering.
“They knew they didn’t know everything, but everybody specialized in something so they were open to working in groups,” said Shah.
“It was such a collaborative atmosphere; everybody had the common thread of creativity and making something new and useful.”
Providing opportunities to others is something Shah has done since attending high school in Miami, where she volunteered with organizations related to leukemia research and helping people with Down syndrome. When she saw a need for supporting women in the computer sciences, she worked with others to rejuvenate the USF chapter of Women in Computer Science and Engineering. According to Shah, reaching out to local industry yielded a positive response.
“I told them, ‘This is our club, this is our mission; we want to inspire women to grow in this field and to not be afraid to take the opportunities that come their way.”
The club’s activity calendar soon became full with networking and recruiting events, which benefited WICSE’s members. The membership also found ways to take the STEM message to schools near USF with WICSE Kids, combining performing skills with STEM knowledge. Shah said the idea was to introduce technology to young people by showing how it relates to their interests, such as cars or even fashion.
“Some people don’t know their full capabilities and how much they can truly create.”
Since graduating in 2018, Shah has been working as a Systems Integration Engineer at CAE USA, where she is responsible for integrating hardware and software solutions for military flight simulators.