“For your dedication and leadership in SCS4All and your exceptional work as a teaching assistant in 15-151 and 15-251, along with your leadership as a tour guide, I have nominated you for the Senior Leadership Recognition. Thank you for all you have done to help our students in computer science and address issues of diversity and inclusion on our campus. You are a role model for many students and have had a lasting impact on all of us!”Tom Cortina
“Hi Parmita. I nominated you for the Senior Leadership Recognition because you have emerged as an amazing leader and role model during your time at CMU. I am extremely proud of you! You are a star and I can’t wait to see what comes next.”Anil Ada
- What do you feel has been your most meaningful contribution as a leader during your time at Carnegie Mellon University?
- How has your involvement and leadership within your communities facilitated your growth and learning as part of your overall CMU education?
Leadership is about enabling others to do their best and achieve a shared goal: listening to them to learn what they need and then doing whatever you can to make sure those needs are met.
Through my leadership experiences as a TA, then Head TA, and an organizer at SCS4All+Women@SCS, I believe I have had a meaningful contribution to the CMU SCS community.
As a TA, the people I enabled were the students. I listened to their questions and concerns and then gave them support and guidance so that they could become better problem solvers and thinkers. I also listened to what parts of the course were particularly challenging and confusing for students as a whole. This inspired me to go outside of my regular duties as a TA and create new content and guides. Over the course of my years TAing, I ended up creating quite a lot of extra content:
- A collection of color-coded visuals for 151 that help explain some of the hardest concepts from the notes
- An all-encompassing 20-page guide to success in 151 with advice for every aspect of the course
- A set of interactive visuals to guide students through difficult proofs in 251
- A series of videos explaining the recitation problems in 251
This is one of my most meaningful contributions because I know this content will continue to help students long after I’ve graduated.
Additionally, teaching requires you to learn the material at a whole new level, and I’m glad I had that learning opportunity and got to apply my skills in a way that helped my fellow students.
As a Head TA, while still helping students, I also had to focus my attention on enabling the cohort of TAs to perform their best. I listened to their unique set of concerns and did my best to ensure they were supported. This involved settling disagreements, making tracking spreadsheets, and communicating our course objectives well. This really facilitated my growth as a person. Sometimes I had to play the “bad guy” and reprimand someone who wasn’t pulling their weight or argue with people I respected to come to an agreement–roles I was previously too scared to perform.
And lastly, as an organizer at SCS4All+Women@SCS, I helped lead our weekly meetings. Listening to the students there and making sure every idea had a place at the table so we could organize the events that most students wanted. Through this, I believe I became a better presenter, public speaker, and person.