HARTFORD, CT—At 16, Deepika Ravichandran has become the youngest ever to make to list of 20 Outstanding Women in 13 Years. In 2014, Ravichandran, a resident of East Hampton, CT, and a senior at University High School of Science and Engineering, became the fastest in the world to complete the “GWR Hasbro puzzle” and broke the world record and became Guinness World Record Holder by logging in at 13 minutes and 7 seconds which comes to an average of putting together 18-pieces per minute. This was her second attempt. During her first attempt, she had missed it by 30 seconds.
Part of Ravichandran’s world record attempt was to raise funds for her UNICEF High School club enough to feed at least full 3-square meals for a day to 250 (one each for each of the puzzle piece) needy children. Her ability to solve puzzles emerged as a young child, when she solved a 101 Dalmatians puzzle her mother gave her in 30 minutes, when she was just 3-years old. Her favorite puzzle is a 1,000-piece “pretty looking nature scene with dolphins on the horizon and a sunset called “God’s Creation.”
Her favorite school subject is social studies. When she is not solving puzzles, she fills her time reading, drawing and spending time with her family.
INDIA New England News: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it?
Deepika Ravichandran: I am just a 16-year old and there is not much to talk about my work yet but can talk more about my passion. My dream/goal/ambition since young is to venture into the field of medicine and offer unique services through research by inventing cure for ailments in one of these specialty area, stem cell research or cardiovascular specialty or in neuroscience-science area.
Having participated in many non-profits as volunteer and having attended national youth leadership forum in medicine including my travel to Dominican Republic to help with patients in a hospital and having worked as a student volunteer at Yale labs, with adequate level of research knowledge and extensive leadership and volunteer skills with a great eye for detail. Since my childhood days, I always want to be a topper.
INE: To which charitable, community and professional group do you belong and why?
DR: Apart from being an active member/volunteer at ASHA Hartford Chapter, MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Hartford Chapter, Support of Autism — Hartford Chapter, Junior Achievement Club, I have been the President of UNICEF High School Club for the past 3-years. I have helped raise funds for ASHA – Hartford and UNICEF as part of the Guinness World Record attempts.
I took the opportunity of solving a 250 pieces puzzle of breaking the Guinness world record attempt to raise funds through UNICEF High School club. My goal was to raise enough funds to feed at least a full 3 square meals a day to 250 needy children. To the question “Why”, I would not say it’s my way of giving back because I do not think I am giving up on any of the luxuries that I have become so much used to. But it’s my way of reminding myself and whoever is reading this — let’s not forget the responsibility we all have towards those who are not so fortunate as us – everyone who is reading this including me can do so much more if we want to help those in need, now and in my future helping the need would run in parallel while accomplishing my professional and personal goals. Thanks to my mom for tingling that passion in me, with my mom motivation, guidance and support we have been helping out at the local soup kitchen atleast once every month for few hours.
INE: What are you hobbies and interest?
DR: My hobbies or I would say more my passion is solving complicated jig-saw puzzles. Apart working on puzzles I love swimming; playing outside in the rain; reading books that nurture my general knowledge. My interest – with guidance from my mentors and science teachers – performing virtual surgeries. I also love watching Disney movies; drawing and artwork; as well as dancing and singing. I am a black belt champion in Taekwondo, I am also part of my high school cross-country and track team. I play Indian Carnatic flute and western classical violin. I am passionate about dance especially Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) which I have been learning since I was 4 years old. I am a great hula Hooper and skater. There is definitely a future goal to break/create another world record with hula-hooping and skating combined.
INE: In what way you feel you have most positively influenced or served the local community and your company/organization and professional field?
DR: I would say, with breaking of the Guinness world record — combining the effort of raising funds to the needy through UNICEF high school club, has definitely caught the attention of local communities especially fellow high schoolers. It has definitely created an awareness and I know and also heard about few high school girls have explored the opportunity about initiating UNICEF high school clubs to organize fund raising efforts since hearing about my involvement. This is definitely a win-win situation and I am glad to have tingled that thoughts and efforts in the local community. Even my little brother got motivated and raised around $350 on his birthday fore-going gifts and presents and donated it to needy children. It’s hard not to ask for gifts and presents on a birthday especially lil boys, but my brother is one big example on how my fund raising efforts to the needy has set a positive influence.
INE: Your rare talent?
DR: I have to acknowledge my talent to solve jigsaw puzzles rather quickly than ordinary kid my age. I can beat any challenge when comes to solving jigsaw puzzles. I nurtured my this skills since age 3 and work on at least one 500 piece puzzle per day. I do not exactly know what makes me successful but have to agree that solving puzzles is my thing and I have a talent for it.
INE: Your favorite books?
DR: The Great Gatsby written by John Fitzgerald and The Sherlock Homes series written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
INE: Your favorite quotes?
DR: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
“You can never be someone else, you can only be yourself, that’s what makes you different from the rest.”
“Trust is like a piece of paper, once you crumple it, it’s hard to fix again.”
“Stay true to yourself.”
INE: Who inspires you the most?
DR: My mom inspires me the most — she is a very hard-working woman, balancing career and home well and midst her busy schedule she never fails to offer something to the community especially those in real need. She is the number one role model in my life and is always there to fulfill my dreams and wishes.
My dad and my siblings are very supportive with any good thing I do which is another motivating factor. All teachers at school tap the right skills and strengths in me are the ones who gear me towards my goals and focus on my strengths. Individuals who inspire me the most are Dr. Steitz — the noble laureate that offered me the privilege to work with him and Mrs. Thayer — the explorer who was the first women to reach the magnetic north pole. In future I want to make history like them. Now that I am a world record holder as the fastest puzzler, I want to become that first person, the one holding both the world record and Nobel by making discoveries. Watch out for that Nobel Laureate in the making. 🙂
INE: Your core value you try to live by?
DR: For me core values are very essential in living a life full of purpose, fulfillment and influence. My slogan core value is GAFAFEH (God, authenticity, faith, authority, family, excellence, honor ) and following these help me in achieving that purpose in life and believing in myself and raise my head high no matter what happens.