Where are you from?
I am from Chandigarh, one of the few early planned cities in India.
Why did you choose UB?
University at Buffalo is known for its research and is a highly ranked public university. I also really liked the master’s curriculum.
Tell us about your unique program and why you chose it.
I am currently pursuing my Masters of Science in Sustainable Transportation and Logistics, a dual program offered by the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Management.
STL program's interdisciplinary nature drew me to it. It allowed me to be not only be associated with engineering as a whole but also gave me business sense. The program had a core curriculum, along with the freedom to choose from the mix of electives in both transportation and logistics domain, that led me to an overall holistic view.
What is your favorite place on campus?
My workspace in Hayes Hall is my personal favorite. It has some really great views of the campus and nature perfectly set in the landscape.
What do you do on campus and in the community?
In the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, I took part in the NAVIGATE Project, which is an incredible program that supports women in STEM at UB.
I am involved in sponsored research at the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA Center), part of the School of Architecture and Planning, in regard to accessible public transportation for specially-abled individuals with a focus on the Western New York region. Additionally, I have been an active member, and have recently been selected the future head, of the Committee for Accessibility and Inclusion. The aim of this committee is to improve accessibility for wheelchair users and visually impaired people at UB.
How does working at the IDEA Center relate to your studies?
There is a lot happening at the IDEA Center in regard to transportation. I’ve had lots of opportunities for experiential learning around this subject, from indoor navigation to wayfinding to street evaluation. Additionally, understanding the unique needs of individuals has also taught me a lot about the built environment.
Is there an engineering faculty or staff member that has been particularly influential or formative during your time at UB?
I was really inspired by former SEAS Dean Liesl Folks, now Provost at University of Arizona. She is deeply invested in the best of all around her, be it her staff or students. I reinforced my can-do attitude on NAVIGATE program through my conversations with her.
What are your future plans?
It fills me with pride to put myself in the footsteps of a future UB alumnus, among such well-accomplished colleagues. Currently, I have been working in the accessibility space in the transportation domain. I look forward to leveraging my education and research work at the IDEA Center to create a real difference in the community of specially-abled users.
What is your advice for prospective students?
Learn and unlearn every day, be an opportunist, and work hard! UB has great faculty and resources to make the best of oneself.
Gurkiran Gurkiran received a 2020 Leaders in Excellence Scholarship from the UB Engineering and Applied Science Alumni Association (UBEAA).