College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Vaidehee Bahirat: Outstanding senior in industrial engineering

Vaidehee Bahirat
Vaidehee Bahirat


Pune, Maharashtra, India 

Clubs and activities 

Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE), Undergraduate Research Assistant, Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, Papa John’s Entrepreneurship Center, Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion for Student Government, President of the Indian Students’ Association, Alpha Pi Mu (APM), Badminton Club, Women’s Basketball Club.  

Valuable hands-on learning in class 

Working as a teaching assistant for four semesters has been one of the most valuable experiences as I worked closely with students, motivated them, guided them, and inspired them throughout their time at Iowa State. Coming from another country, this experience has shaped me in a way where I learned about different cultures, their norms, and perspectives, which shaped me for my professional career as a working professional.  

Out-of-the-classroom engineering experience 

I enjoyed my internship at Texas Instruments as an industrial engineering intern, where I developed several new skills and a new industry that challenged my learning capacity in a short period, represented underrepresented communities by sharing my experiences, and networked with many professionals with diverse career paths who inspired me during my time there. 

Most influential mentor 

My most influential mentor at Iowa State is Leslie Potter. She was the first professor I interacted with, and she made Iowa State feel like a home away from home. She has been a professor who goes above and beyond for every student and has always ensured students succeed. She has inspired me to learn new skills, multi-task, step out of my comfort zone, and has been by my side throughout the journey. Her dedication and perseverance toward students are very motivating, and I cannot thank her enough for everything she has taught me, knowingly or unknowingly. 

Greatest accomplishment 

The most recent and greatest accomplishment when I look back at my time at Iowa State is the Pitch Competition hosted by the Pappajohn Entrepreneurship Center, where my team placed second and received an investment for the startup. In less than 48 hours, I got to work with equally motivated students, develop an idea for our startup, and pitch the idea. Even though we didn’t succeed at the first competition, our biggest success was our failure, where I learned more about our product market and pivoted the product to the customer’s requirements. This opportunity has opened a new avenue for me, and I look forward to working for my own company someday. 

Plans after graduation 

I am excited to return to Dallas, Texas, as a shift industrial engineer at Texas Instruments. I will be working on improving cycle time, tool utilization, material movement flow, and problem-solving daily using various software systems at the semiconductor manufacturing fabrication. 

Making my mark on the world 

As a woman of color, I would love to empower women from underrepresented communities to pursue opportunities in STEM, contribute to creating a diverse and inclusive space in the industry, and, above all, be a part of the positive change that allows anyone with a passion to follow their dreams. 

Engineering like a Cyclone Engineer 

At Iowa State, especially in the Industrial Engineering department, professors go beyond to deeply root these concepts through more practical and hands-on teaching methods, which ensure that students succeed at developing academically and professionally by learning through real-life examples. This education has prepared me to be an engineer in any part of the world. We get to learn a wide variety of concepts not just through the academic curriculum but also through opportunities like research assistant, senior design, and group projects. The network and quality of education are unique at Iowa State University.