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Alumni Spotlight: Deep Vira

Alumni Credits Success to Tenacity

Deep Vira is a Stony Brook graduate, who earned his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering in August 2020, having finished his degree during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Here is a little Q&A with Deep. 

How did you discover Stony Brook? What led you to studies in engineering? 

Deep ViraI grew up in Mumbai, India. I came across Stony Brook while going through the list of top 100 colleges in the US for engineering. What attracted me to Stony Brook was the research done by Prof. Anurag Purwar. I have always been curious about understanding how the universe works. Before I decided to pursue engineering, my father took me to a local manufacturing company. I was amazed by the intense collaboration of heavy machinery working together in unison to create something as simple as a spring. That’s when I decided to take up engineering, specifically mechanical engineering because virtually every aspect of life is touched by this field.

Tell me about your job - where do you work, in what industry, what is your specific role?

I work as a Process Improvement Engineer at Dixie Iron Work, Ltd/MSI in Alice, Texas. We make valves, fittings, well service pumps and other high pressure precision flow control equipment for the Oil and Gas industry. Currently, my role is reducing human interaction, increasing reliability of the process and implementing a 6 DOF Robotic Arm to completely automate our CNC manufacturing.

How did your time at Stony Brook prepare you for your current role?

From my first day at Stony Brook till my last, I was working in Prof. Anurag Purwar’s lab. My research was on the design and development of the SnappyXO robotics kit. I learned to implement Fail Fast Fail Often or Iterative Design Process which is a form of Agile Manufacturing methodology during my time at Stony Brook. Additionally, I also took courses in robotics and designing. My attitude to fail fast, coupled with my knowledge and experience in designing and automation led me to where I am today. 

What challenges have you faced on your path to establishing your career?

It took me some time to get used to engineering. It’s certainly a lot when you’re starting out and I was lucky enough to have a good source of encouragement from other engineers in my family.

I have failed many times. I’ve worked days and nights on projects for months and still failed miserably. When Stony Brook was shut down because of the pandemic, I thought I wouldn’t be able to graduate because I had to be physically present in the lab to finish my MS thesis. I somehow still managed to finish my research and graduate on time! It took a lot of sleepless nights but it was worth it. For my current job, I moved to a place where I do not know anyone and the culture is very different. That’s a sacrifice I was ready to make for my career.

What is your proudest accomplishment? 

I was the TA for MEC 101, the Freshman Design Innovation class, in Fall 2019. During the final class, while Prof. Purwar was giving credit to everyone who helped with the class, all the students started clapping and screaming as soon as he said my name. I felt immensely proud of the work I had done for MEC 101 as a TA.

What did you like most about being a Stony Brook student? What is your best memory of SBU?

Apart from the proximity to NYC, Stony Brook is close to so many beautiful hiking spots and beaches. I loved the fall colors on campus as well as the snow fall. I absolutely love the mechanical engineering department and ease of access to all the high quality equipment in labs for use in research. I like that Stony Brook University has a lot of active on campus organizations. I was an active member in a few of them, such as Students Helping Honduras, and they really helped a lot in making college a fun experience.

What advice do you have for current engineering students?

Take one step at a time. Try new things, fail and then repeat. Let’s make this world a better place!

How do you spend your time when you’re not working? 

I love going to concerts, learning music theory, piano and guitar. I also enjoy long drives and reading books.