“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

USIEF Bootcamp - attendees

USIEF Boot camp participants at CEG- Image courtesy Indumathi Manivannan Nambi

How do you make an impact as an alum when you are physically very far away from the campus?  Here is a story that will convince you that no matter where you are, it is possible.

Towards the end of 2019, CEGAANA, the North American Alumni Association of College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), started a student mentoring program we call Ask a CEGian.

CEGAANA Student Mentoring Program-goals

When several CEG students enrolled in the program, it was quite clear that many of them needed help in pursuing higher studies outside of India.  We provided individual mentoring and also started a knowledge base on the topic.

In December of 2019, two days shy of the new year, I wrote to Maya Sundararajan, Regional Officer, United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), asking if they might be able to conduct a seminar for the CEG students who want to pursue higher studies in the USA. She immediately responded and offered some options, one of which was a day-long boot camp.

I shared this with the rest of the student mentoring committee members, which include not only the CEGAANA members but also two representatives, Indu and Khaleel from the parent alumni organization, Alumni Association of College of Engineering, Guindy, (AACEG).

I introduced Khaleel and Indu to Maya, and they got the ball rolling. CEGAANA provided support by spreading the news of the boot camp to the mentees registered in Ask a CEGian and getting an indication of interest.

Working with USIEF, Khaleel fixed the venue in CEG, the date for the program, and personally responded to all the students who showed interest! This was followed by a formal registration process by USIEF.

Ashfaq, CEGAANA’s resident graphics master, created a great flyer to announce the program.

USIEF Bootcamp - new location

On February 15th, 2020, Aparna Chandrashekaran, Adviser-EducationUSA conducted a successful boot camp at CEG. AACEG provided refreshments for the students, and lunch for the instructor. The Civil Engineering Department provided the venue to host the event.

Collaboration is key to making an impact on scale. It gives me immense satisfaction to see my initial question morph into an impactful event for the CEG students.  I am looking forward to more such collaborations in the future.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s