"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

--Frank H.T. Rhodes, Cornell University Commencement, May 28, 1995

Monday, March 24, 2014

62. Aneesh and Anna Dalvi

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Engineering

Names at Cornell

Aneesh Dalvi and Anna Rosen

anna@knitandknag.com and aneeshd@rogers.com

Twitter: @knitandknag
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annadalvi

Tell us about what you're doing with your life.

Aneesh is the V.P. of Applied Research at iDirect. He's been working in the satellite communications industry since we moved up to Ottawa in 1998.

Anna designs knitting patterns and has published two books (the third one is due out 2014), teaches classes on knitwear design, and publishes patterns (www.knitandknag.com). And as you think it's quite a shift from engineering to knitting—do consider that everything is math.

We have three children (grades 8, 5, and 3) who keep us busy. Between hockey, jiujitsu, piano, and school there's hardly a quiet moment.

What was your favorite class at Cornell, or the one you found the most useful?
It's hard to pick one favourite... the thing I liked best about Cornell was being able to take different classes from different departments even if they weren't directly related to my degree. Freshman Writing Seminars and Wines were fun. Playing with superconductors in intro. chemistry was really cool, although not particularly useful. Signals and Systems in EE was probably the most useful for my career.

What advice would you give to a student starting at Cornell this year?

Go out and get involved in the special projects Cornell offers outside the required courses. I learned the basic tools in the regular courses, but I had a chance to apply them and expand on them in settings like the Hybrid Electric Vehicle team, or in the Robotics Lab.

What extracurricular activity or hobby from your time at Cornell was the most meaningful?
We both worked on the Hybrid Electric Vehicle project, at a time when no one knew what an HEV was. It was a great experience to design and build a car from scratch, and we had a lot of fun while doing it. I suppose it was technically a class, but it really ended up becoming part of your social life as well. Many of us from those teams still keep in touch.

How has your time at Cornell influenced you since you graduated?

At the Cornell Engineering School, we were encouraged to question WHY things worked, not just memorize a formula. It leads to a deeper understanding of things, and encourages further experimentation. My first book (Shaping Shawls) is an exploration of shapes in knitwear, and uses applied math to explain why knit lace shawls are constructed the way they are. It aims to give the reader the tools required to design their own and play with construction, not just blindly follow the steps—similar to what we learned at Cornell.

If you could change anything about your Cornell experience, what would it be?
I often wish I had been able to take more advantage of the all things that were going on at Cornell. See more visiting speakers, go to more concerts, try more activities, play more sports, things like that. But I think that no matter how many things you did, there were probably a hundred other things that looked interesting that you would have wanted to do as well.

What extracurricular activity or hobby from your time at Cornell was the most meaningful?

The HEV team - we built a hybrid electric vehicle and took it to CA to compete in the Clean Air Road rally. While it was nominally a class (3 credits), it really consumed most of our waking hours. We made some wonderful friends, and learned to apply the engineering skills learned in class. It taught us to be curious and never leave well enough alone.