Alumni Spotlight: Smriti Gupta EE’02

POSTED ON: April 23, 2021

Image
Image of Smriti Gupta EE'02

Image of Smriti Gupta EE'02

We interviewed Smriti Gupta EE’02, a Child Rights Campaigner and a Partnerships & Marketing professional. She is working to drive awareness and find lasting solutions for India’s most vulnerable children. You can read more about her work here.

Smriti is an adoptive mother of two daughters and a champion for adoption of children with special needs, older children, and siblings. Smriti has previously worked with technology companies such as Wikimedia Foundation, PayPal (eBay), and Synopsys. Flip through below and learn more about how Cooper has positively impacted her career journey.

Why did you decide to attend Cooper?
My family had moved to the U.S. just a year before I started college. So, I was looking for competitive engineering programs that also did not place a financial burden on my family. Cooper Union at the time met these requirements, but it turned out to be so much more. 

How did your experiences and your education at Cooper shape your life after college and your career path thus far?
It is hard to draw a straight line through my life and career path because I have taken so many turns along the way. However, I believe my time at Cooper has continued to be a big part of my life and career. At Cooper, I learned that I have the capacity to work extremely hard when I want to achieve a goal. I grew up personally, thanks to the many friendships. I understood what it means when someone in a higher role (such as a professor or administrator) helps you, mentors you, and has your back. Cooper Union gave me confidence, support, and a sense of belonging. These are some of the things that play a big role in one's life.

Did you have a favorite Cooper Professor, mentor, class that impacted your life?
I hold many of the Cooper professors in high regard since directly or indirectly they played a huge role during my time at Cooper and shaping my life afterwards. Prof. Toby Cumberbatch stands out because he always challenged me to keep thinking about my purpose in life and has stayed in touch to this day. Prof. Kondopirakis, Prof. Fontaine, the international student office, and many others whom I may forget to mention, made me feel consistently supported. 

What did you learn at Cooper that has served you well throughout your life?
I think exposure to a good Humanities curriculum while going through an Engineering education, helped create a balanced worldview. That broad set of ideas and thought processes have served me in not limiting my life to a narrow scope.

Tell us about your career and current job? 
I jumped from engineering to business, and then eventually moved into the social impact sector. Currently, I run a non-profit where we focus on creating scalable and sustainable technology solutions to ensure that abandoned, orphaned, and other vulnerable children in India can reach a permanent safe family. You can check out our work here.

What piece of advice do you have for current Cooper students or for students who will be graduating, and entering the “real world” soon?
First, the real world is easier than Cooper (at least in terms of amount of work), so you are going to be fine. Second, going through Cooper means that you can do hard things. If you can, use that ability to do the hard things needed in the real world to hopefully make a positive difference in the world.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.