Yash Tadimalla is determined to make his mark. As a fourth year Ph.D. student in computer science and sociology, he serves as president of the Graduate & Professional Student Government. Learn why he chose UNC Charlotte, his favorite place on campus and who inspires him.
Why did you choose UNC Charlotte for graduate school?
First and foremost, UNC Charlotte's identity as a relatively young and evolving university held great appeal for me. It signified an institution with an open-minded approach, willing to explore new horizons and embrace innovation. As a young scholar eager to make a meaningful impact, this environment seemed like the perfect place to nurture my ambitions.
I was fortunate to find an advisor, Dr. Mary Lou Maher, who not only shared my research interests, but shared my passion for promoting equity in computer science education. This alignment was a key factor in my decision. It meant that my academic journey would be guided by someone who genuinely understood and supported my goals.
How does a UNC Charlotte graduate degree prepare you for your future?
My UNC Charlotte graduate degree is my compass for the future. What makes this experience special is the diversity that surrounds me daily. I've learned to navigate through various cultures and backgrounds, a skill that's crucial in today's globalized world.
As an international student, UNC Charlotte has been the perfect starting point. Charlotte is a welcoming city, and the university's global focus has allowed me to connect with peers from all corners of the world. This cross-cultural experience is an invaluable asset for my future.
My UNC Charlotte graduate degree isn't just about academics; it's about gaining practical skills, building connections and finding my path in the world.
What advice would you give to someone considering graduate school?
Find mentors to guide you, manage your time wisely, don't hesitate to seek help when needed, stay connected with friends and engage in diverse conversations. Make the most of University resources. Lastly, consider joining student groups and becoming a part of your graduate student government. Graduate school isn't just about studies; it's a journey of personal and professional growth. Enjoy every bit of it!
What’s your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus has to be the Botanical Gardens, particularly the corner room in the greenhouse. I volunteered there for a semester or two, and it's a spot that holds a special charm for me. The next most calming thing is the feeling I get every time I watch the sunset from the top of the hill with Craver Road.
What’s your favorite graduate school memory so far?
One standout memory from my graduate school experience is from the fall graduate social in 2019,. It was an event that I helped organize with the Center for Graduate Life and Learning when I was a graduate life fellow. It was an absolutely fantastic experience. Not only did I forge friendships that have lasted a lifetime through organizing the event, but the entire experience was incredibly enjoyable. One of the highlights was seeing my mentors and colleagues, with whom I had worked closely for a substantial amount of time. It was a special feeling to be part of a community that not only encourages authenticity but also believes in your ability to succeed and empowers you to take on tasks you might not have believed you could do, all because of their trust in you.
Who inspires you the most?
Inspiration, for me, comes from various facets of life, as it's not always constant, and I find myself learning from different people and their experiences. I'm inspired by the generations of women who fought for freedom and the right to vote, LGBTQIA community members who've faced immense challenges, but continued to protect and uplift their communities despite losses, immigrants who've worked tirelessly to provide better lives for their children and parents who sacrifice their personal goals to nurture their families. It's their determination and ability to find strength in the face of adversity that truly inspires me as I navigate my personal challenges.
What do you like to do for fun?
Balancing graduate school and a social life is definitely a juggling act! When I do manage to snag some free time, I love getting creative in the kitchen. It's become a personal challenge to whip up vegetarian dishes from cuisines around the world. I'm also a fan of abstract painting; there's something liberating about putting brush to canvas without any preconceived notions. I've made it a tradition to host a "paint and sip" event for my birthday over the last four years. On a greener note, I find solace in gardening. My little garden patio is home to plenty of daisies and tiny wildflower pots. Watching those blooms thrive is oddly satisfying. Lastly, I'm passionate about meditation. I lead meditation sessions for my friends and even served as the president of the Sky Meditation Club on campus for three years. It's a great way to find some inner peace amid the grad school hustle!
What’s your favorite event at UNC Charlotte?
Without a doubt, one of my favorite events at UNC Charlotte has to be the international festival. It's an occasion that holds a special place in my heart. There's nothing quite like sampling foods from all around the world and the pure joy of bumping into friends amid the festivities. This year’s international festival is Saturday, Sept. 23.