Entrepreneurship, connection & empowerment
Purdue Computer Science undergrads, Miranda Chai and Aarushi Upadhyaya, are both engaged in the entrepreneurial culture of Purdue. With their background in computer science, they are co-leading The Womxn Program – an Anvil initiative that strives to build a community of women and non-binary individuals who are passionate about entrepreneurship and female empowerment.
Chai is from San Francisco, she is in the Machine Intelligence track and is considering picking up the Software Engineering track as well. Upadhyaya is from Fairfax, Virginia and is in both the Machine Intelligence and Security tracks.
Purdue CS: What’s your favorite part about Purdue?
Miranda Chai: My favorite part about Purdue are the students. Being from the Bay Area, I didn’t know anyone
coming into Purdue. However, through BGR and meeting students around campus, I was able to connect with some of the most welcoming people. I felt right at home at Purdue, it was the place for me. Through Purdue, I have been fortunate enough to make lifelong friends and some unforgettable memories.
Aarushi Upadhyaya: My favorite part about Purdue is Harrison Grille. I was a Harrison Hall resident last year, and it was the perfect place to hang out with friends, study, or just grab a late-night snack. I’m a big fan of their shoestring fries and buffalo cheese curds!
PCS: What has been your favorite accomplishment at Purdue?
MC: My favorite accomplishment at Purdue has been becoming the co-Lead Director of and co-founding the Anvil’s Womxn Program. I joined the Anvil this semester and didn’t expect to be taking charge of the new initiative they started in 2020. When I heard what the Anvil was trying to accomplish with the Womxn Program, I just knew I wanted to be a part of it. Though the past months, we’ve been working tirelessly on building this community of passionate Purdue women entrepreneurs, I knew it was the right decision.
AU: My favorite accomplishment at Purdue is the same as Miranda’s, becoming a co-Lead Director at the Anvil and co-founding it’s Womxn Program. I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship and have been involved in Purdue’s entrepreneurship community. I’m also very passionate about female empowerment and when the opportunity arose to be a part of such an awesome initiative, I was very excited! Now, as we are launching this community, I am looking forward to the hard work of growing the community. We are going to build a community of passionate Purdue women entrepreneurs.
PCS: What topics from your coursework have been helpful to you so far?
MC: The topics from CS 251 Data Structures have been very useful in terms of acquiring an internship. Throughout my experience in applying and interviewing for internships, many companies have asked about algorithms, runtime, and other topics that CS 251 has greatly prepared me for.
AU: Definitely, the introduction to object oriented programming covered in CS 180 has been most helpful to me. Throughout my time at Purdue, I have built upon the concepts we learned and explored them in more depth. This strong foundation has truly helped me further my learning in CS. I also think data structures covered in CS 251 are useful, since they are frequently covered in company coding challenges, like HackerRank.
PCS: What do you wish others knew about entrepreneurism or computer science and how it impacts their lives?
MC: I wish others knew that it doesn’t take building a huge startup or creating the next big hit to be able to call yourself a successful entrepreneur. Essentially anyone, regardless of their race, gender, or experience, can become an entrepreneur. All it takes is having one idea and putting in the hard work to bring your idea to life and eventually to market.
AU: That anyone can do it! Everyone starts off as a beginner. Last year, coming into Purdue as a freshman, I didn’t know anything about entrepreneurship. Under the mentorship of some great professors and other students, I was able to acquire the experience I have now. The most beneficial thing I did was reach out to people and get their insight and knowledge.
PCS: Tell us about Anvil’s Womxn Program, what do you hope to accomplish and what do you think will be a reward to participants?
MC: When looking at Purdue’s entrepreneurship community, the Anvil saw the lack of women representation and decided to create this new initiative, the Womxn Program, as a safe space for all Purdue women founders to meet one another and gain resources to further their entrepreneurial passions. The Anvil’s Womxn Program’s mission is to build a community of women and non-binary individuals who are passionate about entrepreneurship and female empowerment. During this program, we hope to benefit our members by planning fun socials with fellow driven students, networking events, and fireside chats with successful female entrepreneurs all of which will help our members be fully immersed into the Purdue entrepreneurship community.
AU: The Womxn Program is a new initiative from Anvil to introduce Purdue students to the entrepreneurship community and create a supportive environment for women and non-binary individuals. Students with all levels of experience in entrepreneurship are free to join this community, as long as they’re interested! Throughout the upcoming semesters, we hope to add benefits for our members by planning socials, networking events, and fireside chats with successful female entrepreneurs.
Learn more about Anvil’s Womxn Program:
Womxn Program Interest Form
Womxn Program Discord Server