Churchill postgraduate student Nikita Hari (G13) becomes the first University of Cambridge student and Indian citizen to be featured on Telegraph’s ‘Top 50 Women in Engineering’ list.
Compiled by the Telegraph in collaboration with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), the list features UK’s top rising female stars of engineering. This year's list focused on women aged 35 and under — to highlight and encourage them to become future leaders in the industry.
Nikita is currently pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering at Churchill College. Her research focuses on making systems called ‘Power Electronic Converters’ with novel devices called ‘GaN’, which can efficiently convert and conserve power. 'Gallium Nitride' devices (2014 Nobel prize) have the potential to jump-start the next generation of smaller, faster, lighter, cheaper and more efficient power converters — helping to create a more sustainable energy future by meeting the world's ever increasing energy demands along with energy savings.
Nikita was also shortlisted as a ‘Forbes 30 under 30 UK Finalist’ and ‘Hult Prize Finalist’ earlier in the year.
In an interview by the University of Cambridge, Nikita explains how she overcame social pressures and self-doubt to persue a career in engineering:
"I was top of my class at school and university. But people kept telling me that I wasn’t good enough for somewhere like Cambridge. I was up against the conservative family values that prevail among the Indian middle class. Boys are encouraged to get the best education and build a great career. Girls get an education too, but they’re expected to sacrifice their careers and get married.
It was only when I got a sought-after place as a research assistant in the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi that I began to believe that I could go overseas to do a PhD. I applied to Oxford and Cambridge — and was accepted by both."
Nikita is now committed to encouraging others, especially young women and girls to persue their dreams. Her vision to uplift society through education and technology has seen her become Co-founder of two social tech start-ups: Wudi & Favalley.