Ohlone Student is Changing the Face of Engineering - Article, Office of College Advancement

Tuesday, August 25, 2015.

By Ohlone College.

Ruchi Upadhyay, an electrical engineering major at Ohlone College, has a taste for competition. …And she likes to win. She has participated in local engineering competitions ever since high school and has been highly successful. She has the same confident attitude in her goal to change the professional landscape of high tech fields such as engineering to make room for women.

Ruchi serves as the Vice President of the Society for Women in Engineering (SWE) club at Ohlone. She hopes this leadership role will help her inspire other women to pursue their goals to enter the field.

This summer, Ruchi participated in and won Intel’s Roadshow and Hackathon competition with fellow classmate Benjamin Klemme. The competition challenged the entrants to get creative with a circuit board and a 3D printer. Using the provided materials the pair created a robot lumberjack on the 3D printer. The robot rotates, swinging its axe, lighting a green LED when the axe makes contact with a "tree".

Receiving award.—Photo: BetMyApp.

During spring semester, Upadhyay participated in another competition at the Society for Women Engineers’ regional conference. At the conference she and three classmates presented a project that they developed in their engineering class at Ohlone. The class project required students to create solutions for problems that exist in developing countries. Ruchi’s team developed a water-powered rice incubator for use in countries like Vietnam where excessive rain makes drying rice difficult and labor intensive. “The hydroelectric generator uses water from the rice paddy. The water cycles through the process and goes back to the field, so nothing is wasted,” Upadhyay explained.

After winning a competition at Ohlone with the hydroelectric rice incubator, the group entered the competition for the SWE conference in Stockton. They were selected as one of twenty-five groups to move forward and presented their project at the next level of the competition in San Diego. They are still awaiting the results of the judging, hoping they will be selected as one of the top five groups to proceed into the next round of competition in Seattle.

Ruchi hopes to change the role of women in engineering. She was inspired to enter the field by her mother, who is also an engineer. She knows that women can prosper in the engineering field and have opportunities for higher level positions. Her efforts and determination are encouraging other female students who also seek to be successful in the engineering profession.

She chose to attend Ohlone College because of its strategic location in Silicon Valley and because of the high reputation of Ohlone College. “I felt that attending a community college better prepares me to go to a university,” said Upadhyay. She plans to transfer to study both electrical and computer engineering at San Jose State.

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