Becoming a student of leadership

A picture of Anjali Vasisht.

During the summer of 2020, Anjali Vasisht worked as a software engineering intern at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Along with a team of software engineers, a product manager and a technical program manager, she worked on a feature for the OCI console. While Vasisht enjoyed the process of addressing customer and user concerns to develop the feature, she was equally focused on how managers and engineers interacted and collaborated.

“I’m really interested in leadership,” she said. “Seeing how the different teams and managers worked together was great for me, and helped inform the sort of career path I wanted to explore in the future.”

In her first year at Oregon State University, Vasisht joined the Association of Computing Machinery, Women’s Chapter, drawn to its mission of supporting women in technology and creating opportunities for professional development. She took on the role of treasurer and began thinking more seriously about leadership. 

Now a fourth-year computer science major, Vasisht eventually worked her way up to serving as ACM-W’s president and grew the club’s ability to help women and minorities in technology with her team of officers. In addition to inviting industry representatives to network and provide opportunities for members, Vasisht and her team developed a new mentoring program, pairing older students with incoming first-years to assist them on their tech journey.  

“Being a leader for ACM-W has been one of my most impactful experiences at Oregon State,” she said. “It’s where I’ve been able to exercise project management skills and people management skills as well, and come together as a team with the other officers and strive toward one goal.”

As a second-degree black belt in taekwondo, Vasisht knows what it takes to stay committed to a goal. Her tech journey at Oregon State began as a research assistant in the Human Machine Teaming Lab, working with Julie A. Adams, professor of computer science, to develop a Myo Armband wearable device that detects muscle functions. The idea behind the project, facilitated through URSA Engage, is to help paramedics quickly communicate important information with ER doctors in order to bridge the communication gap when a patient is transferred. 

During a summer internship at Intel in 2019, Vasisht had the chance to combine her engineering expertise with her people skills. Working on demos for a new deep learning-assisted computer vision technology called OpenVINO, designed to address business and customer needs, she created her own demo to track a person’s walking path based on their heat map.  

“I was able to present in front of dozens of customers about Intel’s computer vision technology when I flew to California with my team,” Vasisht said. “It was a big achievement, because it was where I was really able to interact with customers.”

The experience with customers at Intel, along with what she learned at Oracle and her time as a leader in ACM-W, convinced Vasisht to set her sights on becoming a leader in tech. This spring she landed a product management internship with Jam City, a mobile gaming company; she’s been busy analyzing data and pitching innovative features to improve customer engagement. 

“A product manager translates customer needs into innovative product-, business- and software engineering-solutions,” she said. “I’m very user focused. I really want to help people and customers solve their problems while making an impact as a leader in the tech industry.”

April 14, 2021