Komal Sharma is a BTech Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering student of NMIMS University, Mumbai who has been continuously involved in beyond the classroom activities.
Here, Komal is sharing her experience being a Marketing Head and Sub-Head Social Outreach at Team Screwdrivers. Her hard work has the potential to propel her ahead of the curve.
Go ahead and know what her story has to offer so that you can easily find a path of self-growth.
What was your role? Briefly list the responsibilities associated with it.
I was the Marketing Head and Sub-Head Social Outreach for Team Screwdrivers – one of the most respected and toughest-to-get-in committee. Team Screwdrivers is known for participating in the international NASA Rover competition, where my senior team was appreciated by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam himself.
My job was to strategize the marketing operations for the team, track the work progress, ideate technical innovation for the ROV to be unique and exceptional, plan technical outreach activities to teach students more about advanced technology with the agenda of promoting STEM domain. I was leading a team of 6 people consisting of digital creative enthusiasts and sponsorship executives.
Out of 200 applications or more that were poured for Team Screwdrivers, only 6 of us got selected to be a part of the core team and represent India at the International MATE ROV competition held in the United States.
MATE International ROV Competition is a NASA Affiliated competition, funded by NSF (National Science Foundation), where the mission is to use marine technology to inspire and challenge students to learn and creatively apply science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to solving real-world problems in a way that strengthens critical thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
What’s it like to juggle between leadership roles and academics? Pen down the challenges you faced.
I have always been that person who is massively active in extra-curricular along with managing to be good at academics. Honestly, juggling was not really tough at the beginning but towards the end, it really got strenuous as my semester exams and the date of the competition was just at a difference of a month. Lack of time became the hurdle as I had a team to look after, conduct long meetings to understand the timeline and catalyze the work accordingly, note down each member’s views and concerns, and address them to keep the team intact, collectively getting a solution out, conduct ROV trials, plan out outreach activities and a lot more.
On the other hand, I had numerous assignments, projects, vivas, presentations, journals to prepare and submit for internal examination. It was really gruelling. But what made me stronger and positive towards the whole chaos is the belief that this hustle was worth it. I was able to manage everything pretty well and this opportunity made me realize that nothing comes easy, so just be flexible and get out of that comfort zone to feel the success. It’s a beautiful feeling.
Did you also get a chance to connect with any other activity while working on this post?
Got an opportunity to represent India at an international platform and travel to Los Angeles, United States. I actually got lucky to have spent time with the students of the Smt Kamla Mehta School For The Blind. I was surprised by the kind of response we got from those kids when we made them feel the 3-D printed NASA symbol and had conversations with them about space and galaxy.
I discovered my affection towards the kids and the enthusiasm in me to teach them Science & Technology. I got a chance to visit Nehru Science Center, work with them on their National Science Day Exhibition, demonstrate the functioning of a drone to the kids who had visited NSC for the exhibition.
What are the top learnings, skills and values that you acquired here?
I’ve grown a lot as a person. My sense of understanding, handling complex situations calmly, being punctual, self-motivated. The most important skill I have learned is being a people person. You cannot be a good leader if your people don’t trust you. That trust should let them take that leap of faith without having a second thought.
I have started valuing time as it waits for none. A positive attitude can make you cross oceans without any danger. Never say no to any opportunity. Warren Buffet once said, ‘Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble’.
Do you feel your current role fills you with pride and gratitude? Illustrate how the experience gained will help you going forward?
Yes, it definitely does. I always wanted to be a part of something of this stature. We managed to win an award for the country which was presented to us by the lead system engineer at NASA – Mr Bobak Ferdowsi – the Mohawk Guy himself. We got appreciated by the authorities for the uniqueness in the design and were 2nd highest for the Marketing display. I enjoyed my time with the team and made great friends out of them.
This is the greatest achievement I have to date. I am grateful to my college and my mentor Mr Sawant Kumar Naik Sir to actually give me this opportunity and to trust my ability to lead the team. This was the best thing that happened to me and an experience I can never forget and get enough of.
As when we talk about leadership we have a whole team with us. How do you persuade others to accept your ideas/ways?
You really don’t need to persuade anyone to accept your ideas if actually, you make them believe in the idea. Working with a team is an art that we all need to ace. Make your team see the successful end result vision virtually and ask them to brainstorm the pathway towards that end result and I bet you they would never go against your vision.
Listening to your team member’s POV will guide you towards an extraordinary result. This will help you have a finger on the pulse of the team and lead effectively.
What is your message to students, aspiring to the same or a similar role to do?
Do not get demotivated as there will be instances where you might feel like giving up. But remember, there is no gain without pain. Keep doing what you are supposed to.
Be on the same page with your team. Internal politics will not help at all and instead make it uglier for you to survive.
Don’t outsmart your leader. It will be a bad move. Rest, research a lot before committing to a particular task. Identify if you can really do it and invest the amount of time it demands. Stay positive. Keep smiling.
How can we (Friends, Family, YI Fraternity) encourage young students such as yourself to engage with co-curricular or extra-curricular activities?
‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ – truly said.
It means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring. Extra-curricular activities are like recreation. It gives you a chance to explore yourself, network with people, discover new interests, become active, develop your skillset.
It makes you a perfect package and ready to face the world. It is a lot more fun than you can imagine. Just go for it and you’ll have no regrets.
Anything else would you like to say to the YI learners who’ll be reading your experience?
Be yourself. Take inspiration from world leaders. Keep Hustling.
We at Young Influx would take this opportunity to thank Komal for taking a leap of faith and sharing his impeccable story. We are humbled and grateful, your efforts mean a lot for the youth seeking growth and development.
And hello, dear readers, we welcome you to explore the platform with an open mind. Help yourself gain most out of the experiences and opportunities listed here.
And before you bid us adieu, we would like you to know that you can read more such student stories here.