January 6, 2021
Encounters, exchange, interaction, shared experiences – these are also important components of a degree program. As Resident Associate at Jacobs University Bremen, Ishita Rakholia creates a sense of community and looks after the well-being of the Master's students. "I am there to help them," said the 26-year-old, who is doing a Master’s degree herself and is currently finalizing her thesis in the field of Data Engineering.
Jacobs University is a campus university. The vast majority of students lives in one of four accommodations on the campus in northern Bremen. But because more and more young people have come to study at the international university in recent years, these accommodations were quickly occupied. Therefore, the university has rented more student apartments off campus, which are mainly occupied by Master’s students. First in "THE FIZZ", then, since August, in the “Galileo Residence”, both located at the University of Bremen some miles away from the main campus.
Ishita also lives at the Galileo. "It's at least as nice here as it is on our campus," she said laughing. The rooms are modernly furnished, it's not far from the city center and students from other universities also live in the building. It's many little things she takes care of as a Resident Associate, as a contact person for students. Is the internet not working? Is the neighbor too loud? Does someone want to change rooms? "Students come to me with different kinds of problems, from personal to financial or academic. I try to guide students and direct them to the right person at Jacobs University."
Before she came to Bremen to study at Jacobs University in 2018, Ishita studied Electronics and Telecommunications in India. "I was convinced by the course structure of the Master's program in Data Engineering and I found the diversity at Jacobs University attractive," she explained her choice. Her first impression of Bremen? "The city seemed so quiet and peaceful to me." No wonder, since she grew up in the lively metropolis of Mumbai with its 18 million inhabitants.
Ishita is also committed to standing up for the interests of her fellow students on campus. In 2019, for one year, she was elected as President of the Graduate Student Association (GSA), the representation of Master's and PhD students at Jacobs University. "The aim is to involve the Master's students more closely in life on campus and to strengthen the sense of community of all students," she said. So, as GSA president, she and her team organized joint celebrations and events. "That worked out well, we still had a lot of plans". But then the coronavirus stopped the further plans.
Even now, as Resident Associate at the Galileo Residence, she tries to strengthen the exchange among the students and the sense of community as much as possible. For example, by being involved in the on-boarding process of new students, being in touch with them via group chat or sending small presents to all residents at Christmas.
She herself practices yoga, exercises kickboxing and just finalized her thesis in cooperation with the software giant SAP. Her thesis about developing a supply chain model using data visualization and machine learning methods focuses on safety stock management.
Ishita had already done data analysis for a company in India before coming to Jacobs University, a job she will continue after completing her Master's degree. She can do it remotely from anywhere in the world, all she needs is a fast internet connection and a powerful computer, nothing more. She wants to stay in Germany, probably in Hamburg, because she likes it here very much.
This text is part of the series "Faces of Jacobs", in which Jacobs University introduces students, alumni, professors and staff. Further episodes can be found at www.jacobs-university.de/faces.