Swami (’23) is in his final year of the program after completing a Senior Product Management Internship with IBM Cloud over the summer of 2022.
As a Student Mentor for the DSAN program, Co-Director of Events for GradGov, and a writer/artist focused on community and connection, Swami personifies his commitment to giving back.
Journey to DSAN
The spark that would guide Swami on his journey was ignited in an undergraduate interdisciplinary class in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the Vellore Institute of Technology in Tamil Nadu, India. It was fanned into flame in further classes: An AI class on how code became smart, Machine Learning, and Soft Computing. The latter was one of the most interesting courses he took, teaching how discrete math and computer science can combine to quantify approximate values, providing imprecise but usable solutions to complex computational problems. For example, you can describe red or blue…but how do you describe something that is “kind of ” blue?
As he began to look forward in his journey, Swami wanted to find a career and learning path that was future-focused and could expand upon the classes he was passionate about as an undergraduate. This search led him to data science and analytics!
The DSAN program was an ideal fit for him in several ways. Swami appreciated the balance between applied data science and math, and was familiar with Georgetown’s excellent reputation and its campus with so much to offer. The school’s location in the vibrant and diverse city of DC was the “cherry on top!”
Finding A Community
Swami found himself feeling incredibly lucky in the experiences he had during his first year in the program. He met phenomenal people and made such wonderful connections that he wanted to give back to a community that had given him so much. He looked at his first-year experience as a student and as an individual and felt that it’s important to grow as both. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect by looking back.”
This realization, along with his excellent academic record and social experience here in the program, led him to GradGov, Georgetown’s Graduate Student Government that focuses on promoting academic, professional, and social growth. After looking at the available opportunities, he applied to be the co-director of events. Georgetown has a huge graduate student population and he was keen to meet people outside the program. Ideally he wanted to give back without expectation, work with like-minded people and a diverse leadership team, and have the space to execute his vision! His event motto is to “create experiences not just events.” This was borne out in the response to his first big event of the 22/23 academic year, GradGov’s Halloween Party. International students from our program, and others, were especially excited to be there as many were celebrating the spookiest of holidays for the first time!
” I remember the first time that Swami presented his Final Project in my class. I was in awe because he started the presentation with an utmost interesting twist in it. He and his team took a pretty boring topic and made it into something very interesting. I was deeply impressed by his data storytelling skills. He is a great, kind and a very polite student who is actively participating in the program and always willing to provide his support. “Dr. Purna Gamage, DSAN Program Director
Art, Storytelling, and Data
During the Covid crisis, Swami sought to understand himself better and how he could use his passion and experience for the service and benefit of others. Coming from a very musically inclined family, he had always been interested in the arts. As he explored different forms of expression, a friend suggested he begin by blogging. Thus @theartloupe was born, an Instagram account highlighting his thoughts and experiences during his final year of undergrad. It kicked off with movie reviews but has since evolved to focus on working through different perspectives and ideas through an artistic lens. His overarching goal is to uncover the essence of the everyday and why it’s beautiful, allowing the reader to join him in looking at the world in a new light.
Swami’s penchant for approaching things from a new angle has become an asset in his work and his studies. When he began his internship at IBM last summer, he found himself in a position to effect real change within the company. During his work as a Product Management Intern, he found malicious accounts that were going against cloud policies. By effectively visuzalizing the problem to his superiors, he was able to demonstrate the need to focus on banning malicious accounts. Making an impact as an intern, opening others’ eyes to a previously unseen issue, was incredibly gratifying.
As a student, his artistic background and internship experience have given him new certainty about the importance of storytelling in data science and analytics. Going forward he will seek to use his art and tech background to create compelling visuals that foster understanding and change. “If stakeholders can understand the data and visualizations, your job as a data analyst is fulfilled.”