"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

37. Mayank Thanawala

San Jose, California · Engineering

Twitter: www.twitter.com/mayankthanawala
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/mthanawala

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

If you could paint a picture of the American dream, you'd have my life.  I have a wonderful career in software engineering, a beautiful and talented wife, an adorable and rambunctious 10-month-old son, and a charming house around the corner from neighborhood shops and restaurants.

Some highlights:

I met my wife in a running group, and got her attention by inviting her to go flying with me!

I have sung in an a cappella group called Hookslide for the last 15 years.  We've opened for Kool and the Gang, Tower of Power, and, recently, Joan Rivers. Before Hookslide, I had several failed attempts to join groups, including one called Rolls Voyce.

I got my pilot's license in 2005, and am slowly working on becoming an instructor.

I was employee #2 with my current company, HealthLoop - we connect patients to their doctors between visits via a secure web-based app.

What was your favorite class at Cornell, or the one you found the most useful?

I don't remember the  name of the class, but part of it was programming computers to control lab instruments using Assembly language.  It gave me a foundation to understand the connection between programming and what's happening internally in a computer. As languages become more advanced, that link becomes harder to discern on one's own.

What advice would you give to a student starting at Cornell this year?
Enjoy the whole experience.  Cornell is not just about the education you receive in the classroom, though that is top-notch.  Cornell offers a chance to pursue just about anything you're interested.  So, join clubs, go hiking, take day trips, take chances.

Also, no matter what anyone tells you, your career is NOT more important than your personal connections.

If you could change anything about your Cornell experience, what would it be?

I wish I could have had a better idea of what my values, likes and dislikes were when I was in college.  Turns out, I love being outdoors, eating organic mostly vegetarian food, and doing the singer-songwriter thing with my guitar. I can't think of a better place to do all that than Ithaca! But I did way too little of it when I was at Cornell.