Ishani greatly appreciates the support and opportunities for growth the WPI community continues to give her. Academically, she is most proud of her achievements involving photocatalyst mediated synthesis research work under the mentorship of Professor Musacchio. “This was my introduction to an academic research lab, and it was the first time I was able to test my critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” she says. “Professor Musacchio has been an exemplary model of leadership to me. I see her as a great role model of someone who is passionate about her research, organized in her approach to communication with the rest of the team, and involved in the personal and academic development of each person. In working with her, I have not only gained high quality research experience, but I have been able to use what I learned to be a more effective leader on campus.”
In addition to her achievements as a biochemistry major, Ishani enjoys taking on a mentorship role as a Community Advisor. This role is part of a three-person Insight Team composed of an undergraduate student Resident Advisor, Community Advisor, and a staff or faculty Academic Insight Advisor. Each Insight Team supports a small group of undergraduate students during their first two terms at WPI, which Ishani has found fulfilling. “I have truly been able to embrace the feeling of empowerment through the empowerment of others,” she says. “There has been no other place where I have grown so much as a person, as a leader, and as a mentor. I have been able to rely on the Community Advisors for support and I have had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful, motivating, and uplifting people who have become my closest friends.”
WPI’s unique traditions and close-knit community are some of Ishani’s favorite parts of being a WPI student. “As a member of the Student Alumni Society," she says, "I have been able to participate in upholding WPI’s crazy traditions! Some of these include turning the campus’ Higgins House into a haunted house every year for Halloween and celebrating our mascot, Gompei’s, birthday, which includes bringing a live goat to campus. I also love our community; this school is small enough where I feel very close to everyone I have crossed paths with, yet large enough where I am always meeting new people. The students have always been so supportive and accepting. Whenever a friend has a theater production, music performance, or sports game, everyone makes an effort to show up and support them, which is a great reflection on the character of the students here.”
The project-based approach to WPI’s curriculum has allowed Ishani to expand her collaboration skills and connect more closely with her peers. She notes the influence of the Interactive Qualifying Project (that all WPI students partake in during their junior year) as something that sets apart WPI graduates. “This project is an essential part of the WPI curriculum, as it exposes people to new worldviews and perspectives, encourages more inclusive collaboration methods, and prioritizes open mindedness,” Ishani says.
For students considering WPI, she says, “The biggest piece of advice is that you should come in with an open mind and fully explore this campus and what it has to offer. I recommend being open to trying things you have never tried and be okay with stepping out of your comfort zone as much as you can. I have found so many great communities at this school, half of which I would never have imagined myself being a part of! Don’t worry about feeling out of place—everyone is very welcoming and always looking to share their interests with you!”
After graduation, Ishani plans to continue her education with a PhD program in Biochemistry. She looks back on her years at WPI fondly. “I feel so grateful for all the opportunities I have been given, and, especially, for all of the people I have met who have made everything about my experience here the most fulfilling and exciting as it could possibly be. I like to think that we are all mosaics of every interaction we have ever had, and it was at this school where I have started to become the strongest and most confident version of myself. I have grown so much as a person, and I would not have been able to do it if it wasn’t for my support system,” she says. “I feel so lucky to be part of the WPI community where I am inspired every single day by the kindness and compassion I see around me.”