When Urba Mandrekar was in the 10th grade at Abu Dhabi Indian School in the United Arab Emirates, a family member developed a psychotic illness. Witnessing that experience—and the person's successful recovery—inspired Mandrekar to choose psychology as a career path.
For Mandrekar, IIT's diverse coursework selections, attentive faculty, and opportunities for research made a strong impression. She credits her two years of learning alongside her advisor and mentor as a high point of her IIT education.
"I didn’t expect to get the kind of exposure and hands-on participation that I did in the research group," she says. "Being there taught me valuable communication and organizational skills, how to think on my feet, and how to be resourceful. I gained immense insight into my abilities and interests."
Mandrekar is a Leadership Academy Scholar, one of a group of students who have exhibited exceptional leadership potential. Besides English, she is fluent in Arabic, French, and Hindi, and notes that her gift for languages has been extremely useful for communicating with IIT's diverse student and faculty populations.