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Inspiring Girls, Improving Society

After 10 years of experience in automotive infotainment with multiple OEMs, I joined Magna’s engineering and technology center in Pune, India last December.

I’m the technical lead for a team working on advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS)—technological features designed to increase the safety and security of driving a vehicle.

At this point in my career, I wanted to be part of a company and a culture dedicated to launching new products and improving the world. Magna’s CEO Swamy Kotagiri is an inspiration. He’s not only a leader, he’s a technical expert who knows the technology building blocks of the future and explains them so well.

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As someone with a master’s degree in computer science from one of the top schools in India, the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, I can relate to Swamy and his leadership style. It is not about a nationality or a gender with me. I choose my role models based on their work and what they are doing for society. That’s why I joined Magna.

The seven members of my team, including three women, are software engineers working on testing and integrating ADAS features for a global automaker. The Magna culture appeals to many, especially women in India. In this company, we can influence decisions and freely share our ideas. In fact, 30 percent of the staff in this engineering and technology center is female, something that makes me proud.

In my spare time, I volunteer for Happy Birthday Bharat, an organization dedicated to sharing moments of happiness with children. I’ve also been a fundraiser for CRY – Child Rights and You – a non-government organization that works toward creating happier childhoods for underprivileged kids in India.

In India, young girls in rural areas do not know about engineers or STEM careers. I like to tell them my story to spread awareness about the importance of education.

I grew up in an extended Bengali family, where 25 of us lived in the same house. All of my cousins in that house were boys, so I’ve always felt comfortable in a male world. Instead of playing with toys, I used to break them down. I wanted to understand how they worked. I wanted to see what was behind the doll’s smile. My parents knew my dream was to become an engineer and they encouraged me. Later, I became the first one in my generation to earn a technical master’s degree.

When girls in Indian villages hear this story, they tell me “I want to be like you.” I tell them education is important and they should study and learn. Then we join the other volunteers, share a birthday cake, sing and dance. I like to think that everything I do, from working on safety and security features for vehicles to helping children, helps to create a better world.

Jim Quesenberry

Srijani Mitra

Software engineers at Magna’s engineering and technology center in Pune, India work on testing and integrating ADAS features for a global automaker.

Magna is one of the few technology companies in the world able to provide a full suite of industry leading ADAS technologies with the expertise to seamlessly integrate into full systems with features that delight and protect consumers.

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