At Akanksha, we prioritize having alumni members on our board to ensure the inclusion of student voices and involve them in strategic decision-making. At the March 2019 Board retreat, Team Akanksha had decided that we would give two of our alumni a seat at a very important table – the Akanksha board. This change was made in order to ensure that our students have a voice & a vote in matters connected to the programmatic direction of the organisation.
Shweta Nagaria and Mahesh Londe have been incredible over the last 2 years as Alumni Members on the Akanksha Board. Recently, they passed on the baton to the next two alumni – Triveni Dhamdhere & Amit Deokar, both driven young individuals from our KC Thackeray school in Pune.
Let’s learn a little more about them!
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself
Triveni: I am an alumnus of Akanksha’s first school K.C. Thackeray in Pune. I pursued my higher secondary from Rajiv Gandhi Academy and completed my BSc Honors in Physics from Azim Premji University (APU) Bangalore. APU gives students the opportunity to choose interdisciplinary subjects and so being part of that program, I was fortunate to complete my minor in Data Science.. I also did an internship with Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative in data analytics and visualization. My work was based on the data representation of the schools and foundations placed in India. Listening to social activists like Nikhil Dey and many others inspired me to drive change through work we do. I aspire to complete my studies in Data Science, which will help me blend various fields via innovative technologies and make a difference.
Amit: My journey with Akanksha began with the first school, K.C. Thackeray was set up in Pune. I joined the school in the fifth grade and it was a life-changing experience. I graduated in 2013 as the first batch of grade 10 students in Pune and went on to do my 11th and 12th from Rajiv Gandhi E-learning school. I pursued Science at that point, I was always inclined towards the sciences from the start – it was at this time that I fell in love with Physics. I decided that I wanted to continue working and learning in this field and a great opportunity came up at that time – Azim Premji University in Bangalore had just launched an undergraduate program in Physics and I was lucky enough to be admitted. After my bachelors I came back to Pune and worked for two years – at NCRA and as a teacher with Saurabh bhaiya (Akanksa’s CEO) at KCTVN. I began teaching Physics for 9th and 10th graders and at the same time was doing an internship at IISER Pune where I was working as a research assistant. I wish to bring forth some of these ideas from my experiences to Akanksha. Currently, I am a second year Master’s student of Physics at at Maharashtra Institute of Technology-World Peace University (MIT-WPU), Kothrud, Pune.
Q. What do you bring to the Akanksha table?
Triveni: Being part of the undergrad class at Azim Premji University, I was fortunate enough to gain exposure to various fields which helped me gain experience. I would like to bring to Akanksha, my experience and the learnings I gained. I wish to put forth different perspectives based on my experience and aid in decision making.
Amit: My time at Azim Premji and my internship with ISSER was life-changing. I have learned a lot of new things in these positions and wish to bring some of those experiences, insights and learnings to Akanksha. I have a whole host of ideas that I wish to share and hope that Akanksha takes them on in the future.
Q. What do you aspire Akanksha to be?
Triveni:: I wish for Akanksha to be a place which provides quality education to a large number of students and enable them to stand uniquely outside in the world. For Akanksha to be an institution that leads students on the right path and teaches them to make firm choices and decisions. I would also like Akanksha and its systems to empower students to create a more sustainable world.
Amit: A few of the changes I would like to see in Akanksha is that we inculcate ideas about environment and climate change in our education itself. I also wish for Akanksha to embrace the framework of computational thinking and scientific inquiry, something I experienced firsthand from my internship at IISER. The idea is quite simple – we study about sciences in the classroom, but it is completely different from what scientists do in real life. I have implemented this in my KCTVN classrooms when I was teaching at Akanksha. This is one of the best ways we can leverage technology for at least the sciences. I would also love for Akanksha to invest in a more integrated and intertwined subject model. Instead of compartmentalising subjects in different boxes, what if we have our children thinking about these relationships from a young age? Investing heavily in the upskilling and professional development of our educators is also a big priority for me.
Q. What message would you like to give to your fellow students?
Triveni: My message for children is to ask them to keep the flame of curiosity burning in themselves because it’s their curiosity which will lead them to their own passions, whatever field it may be. Be welcoming to all the opportunities without any set back and strive to learn. As Mother Teresa once said, “It’s not about how much you do but how much your love you put into what you do that counts.”. For alumni, I would like to tell them to be the “helping hands.” This is because we were helped by someone which allowed us to be at a better place, in return we can help someone which will help them to be get to a better position.
Amit: For the students, I want them to be empowered and become responsible citizens of the country. In the current wave of radicalization and undemocratic acts around the world, I wish for our students to make the right choices. I also encourage them to be experimental throughout their lives and they should see failure and success as normal things that happen in the course of their lives. I want them to be curious and supportive of diversity. For alumni, I want them to reach for the sky and pursue higher education. I wish for them to work for social causes and hopefully return to Akanksha and add value to our organization so that we can help many more people.