Srija Bandyopadayay

combines love of robotics, invention and global health to help others

Since she was young, Srija Bandyopadayay says she has enjoyed helping her classmates and friends understand concepts in school so they can do things for themselves rather than remaining dependent upon someone else. In college, she wants to combine this passion for helping people with her love for coding, design and global health to study biomedical engineering and pre-med. She says she would like to invent things like artificial organs to help people and “improve health care in the future.”

For now, Srija is a senior at Cape Central High School in Cape Girardeau honing these skills for her future through being a member of the National Honor Society, vice president of the Robotics Club and president of the Speech and Debate Team, where she participates in original oratory and duet acting. Last year, she researched and wrote a speech about how to develop an app that traces people in a secure way without invading people’s privacy, to give hospitals more data about COVID-19. This year, she is researching and speaking about privacy laws surrounding the theft of credit card information.

On her own time, Srija is learning the computer programming language C++ so she can program one of their school’s robots for the Robotics Club.

“I love robotics because I can have my freedom to make a robot and see if it works,” Srija says. “It’s different than any other clubs, because in other clubs, they give you what to do, but in robotics, you can just make your own thing. You can experiment different ways, and I really like hands-on stuff.”

Srija also likes to sing and has been taking lessons for classical singing since she was in the second grade. She says she likes “experimenting with sounds, music … making something new” and writes song lyrics and has also composed music for a song.  

Her father, who grew up in a small village in India and immigrated to the United States, is one of her role models.

“He was from a really poor family, and he … has built his position all the way up,” Srija says. “It really inspires me to be like him and to work hard and to help people and just be a good person, also.”

Srija says her mother is another one of her biggest influences.

“My mom is also a big inspiration, because whenever I need someone, she’s always there for me,” she says. “I don't have my driver’s license yet, so she just drops me off around places I need, and yeah, she’s just been a great supporter of me.”

The influence of technology on her generation is an issue Srija wants adults to be aware of.

“This generation … they are kind of sensitive, but they have also been going through a lot of things — for example, technology,” she says. “They have been exposed to a lot of technology … and there can be good and bad effects in technology. I want the older generation to know that … especially the young generation is influenced a lot by internet, and to maybe keep their child in check, what they are doing, because it can affect a person’s life — especially a young kid’s life — of how they’re exposed to internet and the online world.”

Srija says she has wanted to be a doctor since she was young. After completing her undergraduate education in biomedical engineering, she plans to take the MCAT and go to medical school to earn her medical degree, complete her residency and become a doctor.

These plans showcase the ambition, motivation and work ethic that guide Srija’s life.

“Go strong or go home,” Srija says. “If you are doing something, you have to push it, and you have to do your best, or you just stop. You have to keep trying also, but you have to put your best efforts in everything.”

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