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Reflections from a Leader: SAE Arnold W. Siegel Humanitarian Award Winner Subir Chowdhury Shares his Perspective on Giving Back

Posted: April 12, 2022

Guest Post from Subir Chowdhury, Ph.D.

Improvement is a value I have strived for ever since I was young. Not just for myself, but for the betterment of my community. It is my belief that if you bring enough good people together who are not afraid to communicate and exchange ideas openly, you can solve every problem you can imagine; you just have to have a willingness to open your mind to new ways of thinking.

Throughout my career, I have prioritized these types of conversations and have continuously sought opportunities to solve problems that I have encountered as a leader in mobility. I have been fortunate enough to get involved with smart and talented collaborators in the world of higher education, where I can use my resources to pay forward opportunities for the engineers and mobility professionals of tomorrow to hone their own problem-solving skills.

With the good folks at SAE International, I’ve established a STEM innovation contest that gives elementary and middle school students the opportunity to develop these same skills as they work individually or in groups to pose a STEM solution to a real-world problem or issue that they identify.

I do not bring up these activities to boast of my accomplishments, but to demonstrate how integral it is to our future to invest in our youth. Very soon, they will be the ones exchanging ideas and tackling challenges that we may not have yet experienced nor can we possibly imagine. It is crucial that we invest our time and resources into developing their critical thinking skills today to best prepare them for these challenges.

So what does that mean for the would-be mobility industry humanitarian? Ultimately, it is a question you will have to answer for yourself, but I can tell you this: a caring mindset does not have to be individualistic. Collaboration can help—and even amplify—your efforts to better this world. We do not live on this planet alone, and so we should not try to do everything by ourselves. In everything I do, I celebrate the work of others, without which I would not be where I am today.

To those who are looking to make an impact, I thank you for your efforts in wish you luck in your pursuits. After all, a better world starts with me and you.