May 2017 - April 2018
Shaastra is IIT Madras' four day annual technical festival. Almost entirely student run, it encompasses a number of educational events and competitions for the technically inclined, lectures on a myriad of topics ranging from neuroscience and AI to policy and art for those seeking knowledge and four evening shows that are simply superb spectacles. Evolve is a team within Shaastra that traditionally has three departments- Spotlight which organizes lectures, Summit which generally focuses on one or two themes and puts together conference style events and related competitions and a third department that does something unique every year.
Spotlight organizes lectures- both live and virtual- starting in August and right until the end of Shaastra. Speakers are invited from across the world to deliver a lecture at IIT Madras via emails, calls and using a number of other networking strategies. Spotlight often collaborates with other organizations and conferences such as Center for Computational Brain Research and the Indian Science Congress. Over the course of the four days of Shaastra, Spotlight sees an audience of about four thousand at IIT Madras and even more online. Speakers at Shaastra 2018 are featured below.
Apart from the above speakers, Spotlight 2018 also hosted the Table Tennis icon Sharath Kamal, the terrific inventor Ron Klein and screened the AlphaGo movie. We also organized the first ShaastraX (a TEDx style event) which saw entrepreneurs, social activists and scientists speak to over 400 schoolchildren. As a coordinator in Spotlight 2018, I worked in a team of 10 to determine who to invite to Shaastra 2018, reached out to potential speakers, organized their visit and lecture, designed and prepared the necessary props to enhance audience and speaker experience and managed a team of 8 volunteers who assisted with logistics. Personally, I was responsible for the lectures of Prof. Karlheinz Brandenburg, Prof. Geoffrey Hinton and Prof. Vilayanur Ramachandran.
Spotlight 2018 was my first serious foray into event organization and helped me learn a great deal. Even more importantly, it allowed me to understand IIT Madras better and meet some really extraordinary people!