Mayuri is a Software Engineering Intern at Google and rising fourth year at the University of Texas at Austin studying computer science and completing a certificate on Asian American antiracist activism. In her free time, Mayuri volunteers teaching computer science to middle school girls in underprivileged areas. Since grade school, she has thought about how to give a voice to those who are often forgotten. When she was in middle school, she attended a career day talk by a software engineer. Although her interest was piqued by the subject matter, she noticed that she was the only woman in the room. This made her decide that she wanted to be a software engineer so that the next generation of women do not feel alone in that setting.
“I was very involved in my high school's theater department, but I was one of five people of color in the whole department and the only person with dark skin. Living in a very white suburb in Texas meant that people weren't as open-minded as I would have liked, and one director routinely excluded me from being considered any role that wasn't specifically written for a person of color. I knew it wasn't a matter of my skills because other directors were casting me in lead roles, but I was too scared to speak out because I knew I'd be jeopardizing my chances of being cast in the future if I did. Finally, my senior year, the last thing I did for the theater department was a one man show. The assignment was to pick a deceased famous person and act in a ten minute show as the chosen person. I saw my chance, and I took it. Through the character of Fatima Meer, an Indian South African apartheid activist, I spent those ten minutes on stage taking a very public stance against racism in a community that wasn't ready to hear such a raw critique of their own behavior. I called out my theater department's casting methodology, and I called out my peers for seeing nothing wrong with it. It felt good to finally say what had been on my mind all those years, and it was also the moment that I stopped hiding my opinions for the sake of my own success.”
Source of Inspiration: The group Communities of Color United in Austin.
Book Recommendation: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.