Keerthana Dana Sekaran's story already resonates with the success stories of many Indian expatriates living in Dubai.
Originally from Kotapolur Village, Andhra Pradesh, she was raised by her grandparents who were farmers by profession. Recognising the importance of sustaining their livelihood and educating their daughters, her parents ventured to foreign lands and worked hard to improve their lives. Keerthana studied in a CBSE curriculum school till 10th grade and completed a 2-year Maths, Physics and Chemistry course after that.
Keerthana's mother began her career in Dubai when her little girl was eight years old; she flew Keerthana to Dubai in 2019. At that time Kerrthana had big dreams of being an astronaut, and getting a piloting and scuba diving license.
"When it was time to go to University, my family had insisted that I could finish my education locally. There were questions such as 'Why Dubai?' and 'How does it matter?'. I would not be an engineering student in Dubai without my mother. She worked hard and fought for my sister and me so that we can have better lives and opportunities," explained Keerthana.
Upon applying to Curtin Dubai, she was awarded a merit-based scholarship covering 45 per cent of her tuition fee. In addition, her commitment to her grades and extracurriculars qualified her for the Col. SP Wahi Award and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Awards, which funded her entire tuition for the following two years.
"During the pandemic, my parents had both lost their jobs, which was making it extremely difficult for us to survive as a family. My sister and I travelled back to India to continue our studies somehow. Having received the awards from my University made it even easier for me to continue my education through distance learning. I also spent a significant amount of time working, and the industry experiences I had through our Engineering programme helped me secure an internship with Isuzu India."
Keerthana and her sister were both able to return to Dubai last month and are back in the classroom to continue their education in person. She wishes to use her engineering degree from Curtin to pave her way into the aerospace industry and work with companies commercialising space travel.
Alongside her academic success, she has participated in several webinars as an authority on IoT-based power quality monitoring systems and India's global commercial footprint. She has conducted STEM workshops in high schools through the University's outreach program and has been a consistent voice for STEM education for girls.
As a student of a leading Australian University in Dubai, Keerthana won DEWA's Distinguished Conservation Projects Category Award and made it to the podiums for events held by ASHRAE and Emirates Environmental Group (EEG).
"Today, I am the Vice President of the Student Council and a proud woman in Engineering. This would not have been possible without my mother fighting for my education," explained Keerthana.
We continue to witness many such expatriates who strive to survive life's hurdles only to provide the best of what’s available to their families. Students like Keerthana are a testament to show the world what one can attain when they work towards excellence, honour their parents with their achievements, break the barriers and make a difference.
Curtin University is ranked in the top 200 globally. Its campus in Dubai offers a number of merit-based scholarships, industry-backed awards and financial aid across different programs. To learn more, email: email@example.com