Malika Verma,23, has achieved an academic feat which students aspire for but may not be able to achieve easily. She has won a gold medal in Mechanical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College PEC, and became the second girl to do so after a gap of more than a quarter of a century. The last time, a girl won it at PEC was in 1996. Interestingly, in a class of 115, she was among the only three girl students doing mechanical engineering.
She recently received the medal from President of India , Droupadi Murmu. Now, she is not resting on her laurels or busy running after a job. She is undergoing practical training as a trainee under the tutelage of her mechanical engineer father who makes packing machines. She is learning how heavy machinery works especailly, floor app machines (machines which are used in packing soaps, biscuits, other Fast Moving Consumer Goods FMCGs).
In 2018, she cracked the IIT-JEE in the first attempt, and got admission in Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. Thereafter, she did internship with the BSNL and got a placement with the ITC (Indian Tobacco Company) which she refused and is now working with her father who manufactures packaging machines.
At present, she is trying to delve deeper into the functioning of a robotic arm, and is working on making a human leg with the help of ‘linkages’ alone.
Always a bright student, she scored 10/10 CGPA in Class X from Doon International School, Sector 69, Mohali. She did her Class XII from Shri Guru Gobind Singh School, Sector 35, Chandigarh.
Malika talks to citywoofer.com about her simple yet inspirational journey:
Why mechanical engineering, when the whole world is going towards computer science?
It was solely out of interest. My father is a mechanical engineer, he manufactures machines needed for packing products. I like mechanical designing, CAD and CNC.
Everybody talks of less jobs in Mechanical Engineering, does that bother you?
Initially, I too wanted to work in a company like Mercedes Benz, but I realised I need to learn more by practical application. In a job, you are required to do what you are asked to, nobody teaches you, here I learn and work under the guidance of my father, who else can teach me better.
The young generation in India wants to mostly go abroad for education or white-collar jobs, would you like to do the same?
I would like to go abroad for research or further studies if I get an opportunity, after a few years, not now.
Coaching institutes or hard work, what has an upper edge while preparing for IIT-JEE?
Both are important, a student understands the concepts at the coaching institute so it is important, but I believe, self-study should be more, coaching less. In my case, I used to go to the coaching class one day and self -study the next day learning what I studied the earlier day, which meant 16-18 hours a day.
What is the role of a mother in all the rigorous preparations that the student goes through?
My mother is a teacher and a gold medallist in Physics, she is the first and the biggest teacher. Apart from academics, a mother instills good values in us which are important in giving shape to our success.
Where do you draw the line between extra-curriculars and academics?
I always have a schedule in the back of the mind for each day. I never keep any task for tomorrow. As a student, I would always revise the class or college lecture that day only. Free time is also a part of the daily schedule.
How did you focus on academics?
The first thing is you have to be passionate about it, you have to set a goal for yourself and not flounder. For me, I took up the challenge to prove that a girl could do ME and that too well.
Any message for students pursuing engineering in colleges?
Do it only if you have the passion for it, stay in your chosen stream and think out-of-the box.