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#IAmNYAS: Devika Varma

The Academy community represents one of the most dynamic and diverse groups of STEM professionals and science enthusiasts and supporters around the world, with more than 16,000 Members across 100 countries.

Academy Members are building STEM careers, overcoming the challenges associated with cutting-edge research, putting science into practice, influencing policy, and supporting future generations of science leaders.

We invite you to get to know your fellow Academy Members and learn about new opportunities to interact and get involved!

Devika Varma

Devika Varma is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering at The City College of New York. Her thesis focuses on developing novel, plant-based materials for intervertebral disc repair and regeneration. In short, she is working to figure out a non-invasive treatment for back pain. In her spare time, Devika mentors students by participating in the Academy’s mentoring programs.

Who has been your biggest science inspiration?

My grandfather, K.K.R Varma, has been my biggest science inspiration. He would always encourage me to read science fiction authors and push his collection of Popular Mechanics my way. Even at the age of 90 he is learning new languages like Urdu and Arabic and brushing up on his Calculus. This constant thirst for knowledge is what continues to inspire me. I am very lucky to have him in my life.

What’s a fun fact about you that might surprise your friends or colleagues?

I strongly believe in the power of human “poop.” Human excreta is packed with nutrients and has tons of untapped energy which I believe can be manipulated to power our future and increase our agricultural productivity, organically. Resourceful sanitation can create biofuel and compost from dry toilets. Sounds like a pipe dream, but organizations such as SOIL in Haiti are setting great examples.

What is the most important benefit you feel the Academy’s Global STEM Alliance provides?

The programming at the Global STEM Alliance has been very impressive in terms of how impactful they are for young professionals in STEM and how genuine their outreach efforts have been. Their mentoring programs such as the Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program and its “Food Connection” project have really helped me tap into the inner mentor in me.

Expand Your Network!

Inspired by the passion, expertise, and unique perspectives of your fellow Members? Tap in to the incredible network the Academy offers through our mentoring programs.

We’re thrilled to offer you access to a new opportunity to get involved and interact: Member-to-Member Mentoring. The program matches you with a mentor—or a mentee—who is a fellow STEM professional and Academy Member. Depending upon your experience level and needs, you can request a mentor, become a mentor, or both.

Interested in mentoring students? We also offer incredible mentorship opportunities through the Academy’s Global STEM Alliance, which delivers education programs that can help you develop your teaching and communication skills, while paying it forward to the next generation of scientific innovators. The Junior Academy and 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures are recruiting new mentors this June.

Peruse our mentorship opportunities, and sign up today!


Academy Staff
This article was written by a member of the Academy staff.