Hi! My name is Ashwin Soorya Prakash. I’m a final-year graduate student pursuing my Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at U-M Ann Arbor. While I’m not busy working on my projects, you’d be likely to find me reading books, listening to/singing songs, running or taking cool photos in my free time.
Tell us about how you got involved in the “Talking Hearts” project.
I was looking to join a regular part-time job on campus, but wanted to do something different, something outside my technical domain and sphere of expertise. I remember reading the job description for this role and feeling an instant connection with the project and the Arts Initiative on the whole, and knew at that that moment that I wanted to be a part of this. Catherine and Alison took my interview, and after speaking with them, I felt like this was a perfect opportunity to get to work on something I’m truly passionate about, with people from vastly different backgrounds than myself, and most importantly, the chance to work on a project that has a huge social impact, especially given the pandemic circumstances.
How has your experience working in this project been so far? What are your key takeaways?
My experience working on this project has been simply amazing! What has been great to witness is that we started out with this broad high-level goal of increasing the arts engagement in the UMich student community, without having any further details or specifics, but over just a short span of time, with consistent efforts and collaboration, have developed something beautiful and impactful together. My key takeaway has been that however unlikely it may seem that we can accomplish a task when we set out to start, if we have a positive and open mindset, a never-say-die attitude, an effective, growth-minded leadership, and a set of committed, determined people, nothing is too difficult to achieve. I owe it to my fellow student coordinators, the steering committee staff members and the artists who worked with us for ensuring the project became a huge hit.
What do “Heart Maps” mean to you?
Heart maps to me are a way to put our emotions, desires, likes and thoughts into paper. Often times, I feel I listen to my mind and not my heart when I take decisions, owing to many different factors and the nature of my profession. But drawing my own heart map gives me an opportunity to pause a bit, reflect, take a long breath, and listen to my heart for once. It is a beautiful concept which is an apt way to express everything that one is going through in a certain phase of life.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I love learning and exploring new things and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. As of today, I can speak five languages!
Favorite color, song, book or movie?
Favorite color: Blue; Song: Daylight (Maroon 5); Book: Origin (Dan Brown); Movie: The Pursuit of Happiness
One thing you can’t live without?
Two things – My family, and music.
If you could swap lives with someone for a day, who would it be?
What are your long term goals?
To be in a position where I can effect positive change in society and make people lives better.
Any social media handles/personal websites where our viewers can follow you?
Featured Image Credit: Ashwin Soorya Prakash