Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2022
Kamakshi Rajan returned to college to earn a degree in information technology after raising her children.
“I came to ASU to avail myself of a top-notch university and a beautiful campus,” Rajan says. “I was also impressed by the available facilities and the program itself. I have always wanted to learn about the technology area and the IT program fit my needs perfectly.”
Rajan’s time in the program showed her that IT has uses far beyond those she’d anticipated when starting her degree.
“What surprised me most as I went through this educational journey was how much I have learned about all the technology that underpins our day-to-day life in today’s world,” says Rajan. “I have learned about networking, databases, cloud computing and big data, and I can carry on an intelligent conversation about any of these fields.”
Getting to that point was not without some hiccups. During her first semester, Rajan was struggling in a Python programming class taught by Lecturer Robert Rucker. The challenges left her uncertain about continuing her studies in the IT program, but the help she received from Rucker gave her the encouragement she needed to persist. His support made a lasting impact on Rajan as she pursued her dream to learn about computer programming.
“[Dr. Rucker] was patient with my struggles and helped me through the process,” Rajan says. “He is able to communicate the concepts clearly and makes sure that everyone in class understands the concepts. I admire his knowledge and tenacity.”
Rajan’s capstone design project was a great experience, enabling her to take on a leadership role for her team as she helped guide them through setbacks. The team learned to adapt and found new solutions to their problems thanks to Rajan’s leadership.
“It sounded intimidating when we started the project last semester,” Rajan says. “My team and I felt lost and did not even know how to get started. However, we have learned new concepts and each member has brought his or her own strengths and knowledge, and we are incredibly proud of the project.”
After her graduation, Rajan is looking to enter the workforce and seeking a job locally, with aspirations to eventually continue her education. She wants to work in the information technology industry for a few years, then plans to pursue a master’s degree in the field at ASU.
“Since I have always enjoyed teaching, I would love to come back to teach at ASU in the IT department after I get my master’s,” she says.
Educating others would be a natural choice for Rajan, who spent nearly 15 years volunteering at Chandler Public Library, where she tutored GED aspirants and provided homework help for elementary school students.
“One day I hope to go into teaching and inspire students to realize that it is never too late to become a woman engineer,” Rajan says. “We need more women in engineering to bring a different perspective to this male-dominated field.”