My World

PROMPT #1: Describe the world you come from—for example, your family, community or school—and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

One night, my dad taught me about the Indian celestial sphere. Pointing out my "Orion" he showed me his "Kalpurush." The Greek and Indian constellations both use the same stars, represent humanoids, and have a weapon in the right hand. I was stunned that, though Ancient Greeks and Ancient Indians never met, many of their constellations are remarkably similar. The idea that imagination is so alike in all humans was novel, but I realized that that is what science and engineering are--methods of looking at the same things in new ways.

When we walked back inside, mouth-watering smells wafting through the house signaled a change. It was time to give thanks before Thanksgiving dinner, but this scene had subtle differences from the typical. There was roasted turkey, veg korma, gulab jamun, and pecan pie for dinner. The music was a fusion of Indian and American Pop. Half of us wore Panjabis, the other half suits. Every adult there was an immigrant and every kid's identity a jumble of Indian and American. Really, there was only one family there, my Indian-American family.

My personal family has long inclined to value STEM fields: my grandfather worked on integrating power and telephone lines for India's power grid and a great-aunt was a...

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