Former STEM Signing Day honoree shares words of advice for HS students considering STEM

Partnership for Learning caught up with STEM Signing Day 2021 honoree Ishaan Ganguly and found out his latest updates.

What have you been up to since STEM Signing Day 2021?
I graduated from high school in May 2021. Then, I went to the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) to study Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and I’m in the process of completing my bachelor’s degree. In parallel, I’ve done several STEM internships ranging from manufacturing to research and development (R&D), giving me an opportunity to figure out what I like and dislike.

Did you always know you wanted to pursue STEM?
Pretty much! Math was always my strong suit, and, when I branched out to physics in high school, I started seeing all the cool real-world applications that a degree/credential in STEM would allow me to do.

What impact do you think STEM will have on your career trajectory and prospects?
Looking at the trends over the last few years, I’m confident that by having a technical degree, like Electrical Engineering, in addition to Computer Science, I will be able to land and keep a job without an issue. The way I look at it is that if a STEM graduate decides to turn around and do something less technical as a career, they can, but the inverse is not true.

When do you graduate with your bachelor’s degree, and what are your plans after that?
I graduate in Spring 2025. I will then be staying at Georgia Tech for another year to complete my master’s degree. Career-wise, I’d like to go into research and development in the realms of photonics, radio frequency (RF) engineering, and quantum computing hardware.

Any words of advice for high school students, who may be considering STEM?
Yes, I have a few!

  1. Develop enthusiasm in a niche STEM subject: High school and undergraduate years are the best time to explore all that is out there in the real world when it comes to STEM. Even if you don’t fully understand things on a technical level yet, you can still at least develop enthusiasm in a niche STEM subject. This may change as you learn more during college, but having something gives you a north start to help you get through the grind.
  2. Surround yourself with the right people: This is especially important when you go into STEM, because the standards of those around you will influence what you expect of yourself (for better or worse, so pick your circle wisely!).
  3. Prioritize learning the material and developing an intuition over getting good grades: In STEM, acing exams doesn’t always imply a good understanding.
  4. Give yourself time to internalize the material you learn: This will definitely bring up new questions and better your understanding.
  5. Don’t let the name of your college crash or inflate your ego: You are empowered to work hard and take your STEM degree as far as you want. The perceived prestige of your college (or the lack thereof) isn’t the end game!
  6. Developing study habits should be a proactive process: Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you.
  7. Cold email professors! You will be surprised how often they respond.

 


 A circuit board Ishaan built and tested for a school project.


 Ishaan soldering electrical components onto a protoboard.

There’s still time to apply for this year’s STEM Signing Day! Simply fill out the application on this link.