She’s glad she did. Datta will graduate from URI on May 20 with degrees in biomedical engineering and electrical engineering after having spent a semester studying abroad.
The IEP, one of URI’s most distinguished academic programs, leads students simultaneously to degrees in both engineering and a language. The program also allows students like Datta to enter the program later in their college career by participating in an intensive summer study program, followed by German and engineering course work for two semesters at URI, and then six months of study in Germany. This opportunity was the perfect fit for Datta.
“Joining IEP is the best thing I have done in engineering,” said Datta, who also minored in leadership studies. “IEP provides you with this awesome full package deal where you get to study and gain professional experience in your field while in another country.”
A native of India, Datta moved to Kingston with her family when she was 17.
“Learning European culture was the icing on my cake in terms of everything else in my life,” she said. “The traveling and research I did was fantastic. Moving from India to the United States really prepared me for not only my time in Germany, but for life in general.”
As a pre-med student interested in becoming a neurologist, Datta said it was the excellent pre-med program that brought her to URI. She is currently applying to medical schools.
“If it doesn’t happen in the fall, I plan to take a year off to let my mind vegetate,” Datta said. “I will then reapply next year. In the interim I want to take some time to pursue and fulfill some of my non-academic passions, such as photography and dance.”
Datta certainly deserves a break after all that she has accomplished during her five years at URI. She said she is going to miss the homey feeling that she experienced at URI.
“I’m going to miss being somewhere that is big enough where I can do so many different things, but at the same time being in a place that is small enough where people know you.”
In addition to being involved in IEP and the Honors program, Datta has been a member of the Multicultural Center, a tutor with the Academic Enhancement Center, and a research assistant for URI’s Chemistry Department. In the summers of 2003 and 2005, Datta was a biomedical engineering intern at URI. While in Germany, she worked as a research assistant and an editor for the Institute of High Frequency Technology.
Datta, who will graduate summa cum laude, has maintained a 3.7 grade point average while making the dean’s list every semester. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2007, the oldest liberal arts honor society, and Tau Beta Pi in 2005, the engineering honors society.
She was also nominated for the A. Robert Rainville Student Leadership Award in 2003, the Americorps National Service Award in 2004, and the URI Diversity Award for Academic Excellence and Leadership in 2005. Datta also received the URI Centennial Scholarship from 2002 to 2006, the Ronald and Lillie Bowden Scholarship in Engineering from 2003 to 2006, the Toray Plastics Scholarship from 2005 to 2007, and the Rhoades Scholarship in the 2005-2006 academic year.
Datta said her parents have been her main source of inspiration.
“My father moved to Rhode Island at an older age to take on this new adventure in hopes that I would have opportunities that he never had,” she said. “He always told me that the sky is the limit. My parents have been so supportive and I owe everything to them. They are traditional Indians and for them to let go of some of their traditions to such an extent where they let me go off on my own, has really been amazing.”