Ayushi Tandel graduated this year with a major in computer science and a minor in global studies, with a specialization in South Asian studies. “I wanted to choose fields that I loved and that challenged me to think more deeply about myself and the world around me,” she said.
While taking a Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) class her freshman year, she wrote a paper on the meanings and perceptions of tattoos in both Indian and American cultures. “By the end of the quarter, I was inspired to get a tattoo of my own,” she shared. “The tattoo I chose has meanings in both Indian and American cultures and is a reminder of my own identity. The experience taught me that I can make classes my own at Stanford and that the academic work I do can enrich my everyday life.”
During her time at Stanford, Ayushi had the opportunity to explore her Indian identity in and out of the classroom. “Before Stanford, I struggled to share my Indian identity with people outside of my family. I grew up in predominantly white spaces and often felt like I had to assimilate to the mainstream culture,” she said. “During my time at Stanford, I have actively worked to engage with my Indian identity in both academic and non-academic spaces.”
Through pursuing a minor in Global Studies and joining Basmati Raas, Stanford’s Indian dance team, she has had the opportunity to connect with her heritage and “learn more about the histories that make me who I am,” she said. “Leaving Stanford, I have a deeper understanding and appreciation for my Indian identity. I am proud of who I am and have the confidence to be my whole and true self.”
She believes her minor program has broadened her worldview and understanding of other cultures. “Though I specialized in South Asian studies, I learned that people around the world are more alike than different and that we can find strength in empathy and support for one another,” she said. “As I graduate with a global studies minor, I leave with a desire to keep up with global issues, engage with communities other than my own, and do what I can to have a positive impact.”
Please join us in congratulating the class of 2021! As the academic year draws to a close, we are highlighting students graduating from across our 14 programs. Click here to view more student spotlights.