Snigdha Nandipati considers herself a jack of many trades, seeking to always learn more about different disciplines, beliefs, cultures, and fields. Snigdha is a first-generation Telugu-American who has grown up with both a strong curiosity for the sciences and a deep appreciation for the traditions of her Hindu culture. She has devoted much of her time to exploring the intersections of these two sides of herself. As a former Scripps National Spelling Bee champion and recent Yale graduate with a degree in Neuroscience, Snigdha has used her study of science, language, spirituality, and culture to guide her thought leadership. She has delivered a TED talk about the intersection of science and tradition, and she is now the author of "A Case of Culture," a nonfiction book about how people from different cultures navigate the challenges of Western medicine. Here, she answers 12 questions from the Yale Alumni Association, explains why she chose Yale, and shares how her time in New Haven shaped who she is today.
As someone who is very close to my family, I struggled to decide whether to stay in my hometown of San Diego, CA for college or to move across the country to attend Yale. I ultimately decided on Yale because I knew that the opportunities Yale offered to learn from my peers, professors, and mentors through my classes and extracurriculars were unparalleled. I went to Yale for a true liberal arts education, one that would teach me to be a freethinker, to not follow the crowd, and to pave my own path in life. I got exactly what I hoped to.
If you could relive your time at Yale, what would you do differently?
I would have taken better care of myself by getting more sleep and eating healthier (many a night were filled with Top Ramen and frozen pizza rolls) – although it's so hard to prioritize sleep when so many other activities and responsibilities are battling for your attention!
What would you do exactly the same?
Spending the time I did with my suitemates and friends and extracurricular groups. My college experience would be nothing without those spontaneous dance parties with my suitemates in our common room, debates with my Federalist Party friends about normative ethics in the buttery, and flash mobs with my a cappella group at the mall. I wouldn't trade these experiences and memories for anything.