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‘Those with health conditions must overcome technological barriers’

Anmol Mago, freshman at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, strives to better the lives of people through technology. An alumni of Apeejay Pitampura, he discusses how his school supported his dream to study abroad

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While completing his schooling in 2021, Anmol Mago started a project to create a software that can monitor a patient’s Emotional Quotient (EQ). Why so? Because more often than not, we tend to focus on the physical health of individuals. It is, however, imperative that we begin to have a more holistic approach towards health and dive deep into a person’s overall well-being. Following this desire to ease the lives of people with health conditions and to help them bridge this technological gap, Mago wishes to research and aid them with his know-how of Computers, he says in an interview. Edited excerpts: 

Please tell us about your interests.  

I have always been passionate about creating accessible technology. Be it people who are differently-abled or those dealing with mental health issues, I aspire to better their lives by knowing more about their wellbeing. Apart from this, whenever I find time, I volunteer at a nearby local suicide prevention centre.

As you moved to the United States to study in one of its most prestigious universities, what was your study abroad plan?

Studying abroad was perhaps one of the toughest decisions of my life thus far. I am glad that I had my teachers at school supporting me all along. I started preparing for the SAT examinations during the lockdown. My English teacher Mrs. Savita Panhotra guided me to it. The key to clearing the paper was just being consistent and practicing for an hour or so every day. I cleared my Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) papers and was luckily shortlisted. My decision to pick a university was based on the rankings, research opportunities, location and scholarships offered. Apeejay helped me through this daunting process and finally, I found UMass to be the most conducive space for my growth.

How has been your experience of moving to a different country?

The experience has really transformed my worldview. The opportunity to know more about many different cultures, have friends from across the world while pursuing my degree is fulfilling. But, the change was also extremely challenging for me on a personal level. It took me many weeks before I could even begin to settle into campus life. I had to re-learn and adapt to my surroundings as well as battle with a sense of alienation. This is the first time I am living away from my family for so long. Yet, these battles taught me a lot about myself and allowed me to rediscover myself. Moving to a different country has given me a deeper appreciation of my own country and in many I have known newer perspectives about my own culture.

What did school years at Apeejay, Pitampura look like?

Apeejay truly groomed me to be the person I am today. The school atmosphere was geared towards creating future leaders. From the get-go, the focus was on cultivating empathy and compassion amongst students and enhancing their problem-solving skills, so that they may create a positive impact in the society. My best memories of school are associated with the instrumental room and my mentor Mr. Sumit Verma. He used to train me for the school orchestra. I had been a part of the orchestra since grade 7 and each year, I witnessed sheer magic being woven in that room. We all used to come together to practice for hours at stretch. I also enjoyed writing scripts for the class and house assemblies as well as performing in them.

These activities became a central component of my experience as they provided me with a platform to showcase my talent. I also learnt several life skills at school. Of the countless assemblies I participated in, the Hindi Day really stood out for me, wherein we discussed how Hindi literature has been fading out of the public conscience. Due to this, Hindi writers struggle to this day, and do not get the deserved recognition.

What would be some of the life lessons learnt at school?

My school has been at the forefront at integrating the differently-abled people into the fabric of our society. This vision of Apeejay inspired me deeply. There I learnt to pursue excellence in all walks of life, not just for my personal benefit but to enrich the lives of those around me. Mr. DK Bedi, our Principal taught us to serve those in need and his words and actions have left an indelible mark on me. They continue to help me in my research, even now.

Since my early days at school, there has been an emphasis to work together as a team and this virtue has helped me immensely in my college as I collaborate with my peers from other departments. They hail from different corners of the world and have enriching opinions to offer. The spirit to remain inquisitive and to be open to different viewpoints while remaining firm on my own has helped me navigate through my college better. Most importantly, my school taught me to value creativity and be on the lookout for newer and better methods to approach a problem.  This lifelong commitment to thinking freely is indeed the bedrock of my education.

For students wanting to study abroad, your advice?

For those preparing for this transition, I would say that it really helps if you could read up about the place’s local cultures and immerse yourself in the history of that country. If you do so, you will be able to approach people in a much more informed manner. Making a lot of new friends and staying in touch with your pals back home is also necessary. 

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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