Get to know: Akriti Sharma, GDI Fellow (Perth Branch)
1. Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up and what did you want to do when you grew up?
I grew up in a small town at the border of India and Pakistan called Suratgarh – since that part of the border is covered in desert you can see all sand dunes around and do camel riding. I grew up playing literally with sand and camels. When I was 10, I heard about the first Indian female who went to space Kalpana Chawla – I always wanted to be like her – a scientist and achieving something great.
2. Where do you currently work and what does your role involve on a day to day basis?
I am currently working with WHO and UN as part of Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Team at Telethon Kids Institute (TKI). Here at TKI, I am part of the Malaria Atlas Project which is principally funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This project assembles a global database on malaria risk which is used to prepare reports and global maps through geospatial disease modelling for GBD. We report on the number of malaria cases and produce a comprehensive range of maps and estimates. By evaluating burden, trends, and impact we support effective planning of malaria control at national and international scales. 3. How did you hear about the Good Data Institute and what made you interested in getting involved?
I heard about GDI through a friend at an orientation expo at the University of Melbourne. I have always believed in giving back to society and I liked the concept of GDI where I could use my knowledge and skills learned through my technical studies towards a good cause.
4. Tell us a little bit about your experiences at GDI so far! What types of projects have you worked on and what have you found most rewarding about them?
So far, I have worked with Inclusive Americas and Lung Care Foundation.
For Inclusive Americas, we performed demographic analysis in United States political history and provided our insights on lack of diversity in politics.
For the Lung Care Foundation, we helped them in improving their operational effectiveness through data dashboards and helped them realize their impact in the community.
5. What are you most excited about as you move into the Fellow role going forward? What types of NFPs and causes interest you most?
I am excited about meeting new volunteers and mentor them on projects. One cause I have supported all my life is mental health. I also support any NFP that works towards climate change and young kids.
6. Lastly, what are your favourite hobbies? What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?
I love cooking and doing creative DIY projects. On my days off I like to go for a good brunch and walk with my dog exploring local suburbs.