Alumni in Action
The fundamental intention behind the week of the HLF is clear: Provide a selection of the brightest minds in mathematics and computer science the space and time to make connections and inspire each other. At times, those connections will create ripples that flow into collaborations and projects, with some of those efforts leading to concrete developments. In order to showcase these inspirational stories, the HLFF Spotlight series was created. Through interviews or brief video documentaries, find out how alumni have utilized the diverse programs available to develop their careers.
Digital Literacy and Empowerment
Pankaj Baranwal is an HLF alumnus, coder, and founder of the non-profit computer literacy start-up eVidya. In our interview, Pankaj sits down with us to talk about his life-changing experiences during the 6th Heidelberg Laureate Forum, and how it led to him founding several non-profits, including eVidya, which promotes computer literacy and education for poor and disadvantaged communities in his home country India. Pankaj discusses the amazing work eVidya does, how he became inspired to found it and his other projects, as well as what continues to drive his passion.
Makrina Agaoglou is an HLF alumna and a Juan de la Cierva Incorporación Researcher in the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at ICMAT – Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Her current project “Perceptions of Death in Collective Memory: Numbers | Spaces | Texts” is an interdisciplinary effort that utilizes poetry to make mathematical modeling more transparent and comprehensible to the non-mathematicians. Makrina discusses the inherent difficulties working with vastly different disciplines but also explains how rewarding the experience can be by providing new perspectives and improving communication skills.
Pooja Bharadwaj, an HLF alumna and a Security Consulting Engineer at Cisco in Bengaluru, India, opened up about her experience of feeling stuck by working from home. As a member of AlumNode, Pooja was able to take advantage of a timely offer from the network. “Life Sprint” is a virtual workshop and method-based coaching program designed to help young researchers reevaluate issues in their career and strategize lasting solutions. Pooja shared about the difficulties of working remotely, her experience with Life Sprint and how it provided her with tools to work through feeling stuck.
Intercultural Science Art Project
Demian Nahuel Goos, an HLF alumnus who teaches at the Universidad Nacional de Rosario in Argentina, introduced the “Intercultural Science Art Project” to participants of the 7th HLF in 2019. Motivated by finding an accessible medium to explain his research in mathematics, Goos realized that artistic interpretation often offers a clearer window into complex themes. The diverse disciplines and cultures brought together by the HLF platform provided an ideal environment put his theory into practice. Since then, Goos’ project has grown and developed with adaptations organized in other countries and institutions.
HLF alumni of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria developed a tracker that was tested on free range animals at the university farm. Their project, "Design, Deployment and Adoption of an Intelligent Animal Monitoring and Tracking System for Pasture and Range Management (NIMTrack)”, received essential funding from the HLF alumni platform AlumNode. Findings were presented to local farmers during a workshop in February 2020, where the tracker’s potential to inhibit animal rustling was made evident.