“UTP has brought our family so much closer together.”
Parents: Vijaya Kumar (father), Vijialetchemy (mother)
1st daughter: Suria Devi - Currently pursuing her Master’s in Mechanical Engineering. Has a degree in Petroleum Engineering from UTP
2nd daughter: Sathia Devi - final year, Degree in Mechanical Engineering
3rd daughter: Sangetha Devi - third year, Degree in Mechanical Engineering
4th daughter: Subhashini Devi - Degree in Business Management, starting in September 2021.
A retired Master Mariner from Ipoh, Mr Vijaya Kumar previously worked with PETRONAS and the experience motivated him to send his children to pursue their tertiary studies in UTP. “I wanted my children to have a world-standard education,” he said.
But despite their personal preferences, he and his wife Vijialetchemy have always given their daughters the freedom to choose what they loved. “My wife and I have never restricted our children to only UTP or even when it comes to any other courses, we always believed in giving the freedom to our daughters to choose what they loved.
By sheer coincidence, all four of their children chose to enroll in UTP, a decision that has brought the family closer in unexpected ways.
Since young, the three elder daughters Suria, Sathia, and Sangetha were all very much drawn to STEM subjects. For Suria and Sathia, choosing engineering was a no-brainer. While Suria feels that engineering reflected her personality and interests, Sathia was always “fond of gears and machines” and made no secret of the fact that she aspired to be a well-known engineer someday.
Third daughter Sangetha was fascinated by the elements of problem solving, critical thinking and good communication involved in engineering. Even then, choosing mechanical engineering was not a straightforward decision. “I was torn between doing a course related to mass communications and engineering. Then I looked up UTP’s website and saw the detailed list of the courses I would be studying. There were non-engineering courses like entrepreneurship and professional communication skills in addition to the hardcore non-engineering courses.”
Knowing that a mechanical engineering degree would not limit her from learning about other subjects she was also passionate about, her heart was at peace. Happily, she did fall in love with Mechanical Engineering, and the rest is history!
Youngest daughter Subhashini grew up seeing her sisters embark on their respective journeys in UTP one by one, and how they each experienced dynamic and active undergraduate lives. Other than their studies, they took part in exchange programmes, SEDEX, Technopreneurship, etc. Eldest sister Suria was given the chance to join the JST Sakura Science Programme which allowed her to travel outside of Malaysia and experience the culture and lifestyle of a different country. She remembers fondly, “We got to take part in an engineering symposium in Japan and managed to secure a bronze medal!”
Seeing how her sisters blossomed in UTP, it was no surprise that Subashini was highly motivated to follow their footsteps. As she had been interested in entrepreneurship since she was a child, she naturally gravitated towards a course in business management. Starting her course this September, she says excitedly, “I am looking forward to making beautiful memories just as my siblings have.”
UTP is one of the most prominent universities in offering educational grants to reduce the financial burden of families who are struggling, and the family is a beneficiary. Both Sathia and Sangetha were recipients of the Yayasan UTP education grant, which went a long way in assisting the family in terms of finance. “Many scholarships and grants are available for students who excel in their studies. I am a YUTP education grant student and I am proud to say that out loud,” says Sathia.
As for their father, Mr Vijaya couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out. “All three of my daughters have matured well. They clearly demonstrate leadership qualities, are highly motivated to excel in all aspects of university life and they continue to strive to give their best in everything they do.”
“I have witnessed my eldest daughter’s success and looking at her pursue her MSc makes me feel so confident about her future career especially when she is getting her MSc in Mechanical Engineering done in UTP. Others have yet to complete their degree programme, but I'm very confident that with the internship programme offered by UTP they will be able to have great careers after their respective graduations.”
When asked if he would recommend UTP to other parents, Mr Vijaya says without hesitation, “Definitely. It brings me so much joy that UTP provided the foundation that my daughters needed to achieve their dreams.”
Not many families can say that their daughters went to the same school since primary, secondary and now university. This has been unexpectedly enriching. “Because of these shared experiences, the bond between my girls is so much stronger now,” says Mr Vijaya.
Published: 28 October 2021