commencement speech 2017

So here is where I’m supposed to tell you something deep and share wisdom, to inspire you and make you remember this commencement, be funny, maybe a bit sentimental. And maybe I will say some of these things; but I want to start with something that is bigger than all of us; a sense of responsibility to something outside ourselves and to those less fortunate than us.

You are graduating in challenging times. This past academic year, we have lived through the end of an election and the beginning of a presidency that have been like no others; and I don’t mean this in a good way. Regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, where you come from and what you believe in, there are lessons we can learn and actions we can take.

Continue reading “commencement speech 2017”

in the wake of election results

[letter to Carnegie Mellon ECE community, November 9, 2016]

Last night, Americans have spoken and have chosen the new president. Regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, I know that many of you are feeling sad, anxious, angry, disappointed, or all of the above; I feel the same. In the words of our president, “We try very hard to persuade people that we are right; and then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection, we lick our wounds, we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena. … We try even harder the next time.”  Continue reading “in the wake of election results”

let’s talk about tough issues

[letter to Carnegie Mellon ECE community, September 22, 2016]

Dear all,

the shootings in Charlotte, the latest in the string of terrible and disheartening events across the country seem to be pushing our country backwards. The intensely divisive US presidential election, full of demagoguery, contempt for minorities and disdain for science and facts, puts even more stress on all of us to do something. This is not about my personal political beliefs but about basic human decency; everyone deserves respect and, more importantly, a chance to be heard and understood.  Continue reading “let’s talk about tough issues”