Learning to ask questions
Deepika Kumawat ’24 has been finding opportunities to lead and build community, in and out of the classroom. A physics major with a Nexus in education policy and practice, Deepika is a teaching assistant for statistics and a Peer-Led Undergraduate Mentoring System (PLUMS) mentor for physics. She also serves on the 2024 class board, the Association of Women in Mathematics and Mount Holyoke Mock Trial, and will be the president of the First Generation and Low Income Partnership during the 2022–2023 academic year. Deepika’s best takeaway from her research experience is “whenever you go into a new field, you won’t know everything about it, and being open about what you know and don’t know is the best way to approach things.”
What cocurricular activities are you involved in?
I am a senator and an authorized signer for the 2024 class board, an outreach coordinator for the Association of Women in Mathematics and a treasurer for Mount Holyoke College Mock Trial. Additionally, I organize events for the Hindu community on campus as a member of Students of Hinduism Reaching Inwards. This past semester, I was a wing in the rugby club. I am also a teaching assistant for statistics and a peer-led undergraduate mentor for physics.
What is your favorite Mount Holyoke place or experience?
I live in the interfaith Living-Learning Community, and I love being there, especially in the common room. Whenever I decide to go in and quickly say hi, I end up speaking with people for over an hour. There are always people in the common room — smiling, bonding and sharing food. I could not imagine a more welcoming place on campus to be living in.
What is your proudest accomplishment so far at Mount Holyoke?
I will be the president of the First Generation and Low Income Partnership next year. I am so excited to organize events for people whose parents haven’t attended a four-year college and/or come from a low-income background.
What was one of your favorite Mount Holyoke courses?
I took a German studies class taught in English called Holocaust in Global Perspective. For this class, I wrote two papers that I am proud of and that helped me consolidate my thoughts well. When I was adding the class to my schedule, I was so nervous. Through discussions with Professor Karen Remmler and my other classmates, I learned so much, especially about memorialization and eugenics.
What is the best takeaway you’ve garnered from a research experience?
I am a part of professor Alexi Arango’s physics lab and have been for a year. My groupmates and I produce organic solar cells to increase the cells’ efficiency and advance the use of renewable energy. We use the thermal evaporator to make thin films and later test them using a photo spectrometer. The most important thing I have learned is to keep asking questions. Whenever you go into a new field, you won’t know everything about it, and being open about what you know and don’t know is the best way to approach things.
What are your summer plans?
I was accepted as a visiting undergraduate research intern at the NSF Center for Integrated Quantum Materials at Harvard University. I will be working in Professor Jenny Hoffman’s and Professor Jason Hoffman’s labs.