I was born in the heart of New Delhi, India in December 1990. As a toddler I had always been taught about my heritage and our deep rooted culture. I have grown up in an atmosphere of a joint family and have therefore been blessed with the opportunity to receive great family values. My parents sent me to public school where I spoke with my friends and teachers in English and upon my return home I conversed in my native language, Hindi.

At the age of 9 my father was posted in the United States and thus on September 9, 2000 I moved to Queens, New York. Due to my elementary school discipline, I did not have a language barrier with my new schoolmates and teachers and was able to make a smooth transition into my new surroundings. I didn't have much time to settle into my new life as we moved to Lincoln, Nebraska two years later. It was at Lincoln Southeast High school that I found my love for science. My chemistry teacher showed me the wonderful world of chemistry and throughout high school I excelled in math and science.

After completing 10th grade my parents gave me a choice: I was to decide whether I wanted to move back to India and earn my high school diploma or continue to go to school in Nebraska. It was one of the toughest decisions I have been faced with in my life. I knew the curriculum in India was known to be extremely difficult but I knew that completing my schooling in my hometown would give me a feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment. I finally decided that I would return to my old school and I moved back to India with my parents in 2006. I faced numerous obstacles adjusting to the rigorous coursework in physics, chemistry, math and computer programming, but I enjoyed the challenges and learned from the strict syllabus. After enduring the competitive and grueling atmosphere of Indian education, I realized that pursuing a college degree in computer engineering was what I wanted to do for the next stage in my life.

Although I enjoy doing many things in my spare time, such as graphic designing, community service and spending time with my family and friends, one of my most influential hobby has been tennis. After playing for four years, I not only came away with a strong appreciation of the sport, but understood that with hard work and dedication, the possibilities in life are endless.

Although I loved my stay back home, my parents and I decided that Stony Brook University was the best choice for my major. At first, the adjustment to my new home was difficult, but after meeting so many good friends and getting comfortable with my classes, I realized that this was the right decision and am so happy to be learning in such a great and friendly university. I look forward to the next four years and the wonderful memories that have been and will continue to form.

Himadri Kakran
February 2009
Laser Teaching Center