The meaning of her middle name- Veera means valour and courage. This is the trait that exactly describes this 22-year old Veera Vani.

Vani is now pursuing her post-graduation in Computer Science Engineering in NIT (Nagpur), one of the prestigious institutes of Technology of India.  She successfully completed her Engineering graduation with excellent academic track record from renowned university- Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU)- Kakinada. Her perseverance and hard work reap dividends, as she was offered a good job in a prominent IT company. This was another decision point where she lived up to her name and decided not to settle down in the comfort zone of a job and decided instead to explore new horizons by pursuing an advanced degree.

Here is her story in her own words…

I am Veera Vani Divili, studying M Tech (Master’s in Technology) in NIT (National Institute of Technology), Nagpur.

When I was in my tenth grade, my mathematics teacher asked me one day: “When were you named, dear Veera Vani?”

In fact, I did not understand his question.  I was taken aback, when he repeated the same question. It is obvious that every baby is named in a ritual, performed on the 21st day after the baby is born. Placing the baby in a decorated cradle, elders of the family name the baby. So, I replied the same to the teacher.

“I thought you might have been named after you grew up. Veera Vani is a perfect name for you,” he said.  He meant that I was bold and call a spade a spade. I was in a dilemma whether to take my teacher’s comment as a compliment, or a word of caution. I understood that to be courageous in life sometimes costs one’s comfort. If you choose courage, you have to lose comfort; you cannot often choose both.

My father runs a small business in our hometown- Kirlampudi of East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh (India). My mother is a housewife. I have one sibling, a younger brother, who is now pursuing his Engineering degree.

Probably, I inherited my father’s conviction to break stereotypes. Though my father was born and brought up in a traditional lower middle class, he is modern in his outlook and very gender sensitive. He showed no bias in nurturing me and my brother and gave equal importance to our schooling. Unlike his counterparts, my father used to teach that knowledge has more meaning than grades. Nevertheless, my brother and I never neglected the latter, which is considered to be the yardstick to success.

My close relatives discouraged me from writing the EAMCET (a qualifying entrance test for Engineering); but I did not heed their warning about the cost of pursuing an Engineering degree.  My father was firmly on my side in presenting a brave front to adversity. I accepted the challenge.  I secured 1840 rank (among 130,000 aspirants) and joined Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU)- Kakinada.

I am very grateful to Next Step Foundation (NSF) for choosing me as a recipient of the Young Engineers Scholarship (YES). The actual contribution of NSF scholarship to my life is to make me stronger. YES made me think beyond my limitations, it further made me conquer the limitations to achieve success.

I secured first class with distinction in my Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and I was offered a job in a software firm. My duty was to support my family with my earnings. Meanwhile, my Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) result was out; I secured rank 1855. I was showered by congratulatory messages. I was in two minds about pursuing the advanced degree, since it was necessary to support my father. It was the time, when life set a challenge to test me. A week was more than enough time for me to decide whether or not to accept my destiny, forgoing a lucrative job.

If NSF had not been there in my life, I would not have dared to venture to pursue a Master’s degree and that’s the reason why I am grateful to NSF.  Beyond the financial support I received from NSF, the experience helped build my self-confidence.