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Aashish Yadav portrait

IEW Student Profile: Aashish Yadav ’21MS

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"Turning Lockdown into an Opportunity for Service"

When the COVID-19 pandemic began gripping the U.S. in March, Aashish Yadav ’21MS found himself in a similar position to everyone else: wondering what was next. UMass Amherst had suspended in-person classes, and Yadav saw several summer internship opportunities vanish due to COVID-related closures. Adding to his anxiety, his family in India was under strict lockdown. This meant that his father, an engineer in the shipping industry, was forced to stay out to sea indefinitely instead of coming home.  

It was during this time of duress that Yadav came across an internship at Boston-area startup the Ventilator Project (TVP).  Founded by robotics entrepreneurs, TVP seeks to offer immediate help in the global ventilator shortage caused by the pandemic. Staffed entirely by volunteers, the nonprofit is working vigorously to prototype a globally distributed, low-cost ventilator specifically designed for COVID-19 patients. 

Yadav was so excited when he saw the position listing that he used Linkedin to get in touch with everyone associated with TVP that he could find. “I needed to make sure they noticed me,” he says. “My whole family is affected by this pandemic—if I’m able to help and contribute in a positive way, that’s amazing.” 

TVP saw a fit, and Yadav began interning in May 2020. An engineering management major, he is able to put his diverse skill set honed at the university to use. A typical day for Yadav might involve everything from sales calls to supply chain management to engineering design review.  

He says he finds the work—and the people—inspiring. “There are people volunteering from every field,” he says. “They’re from reputable schools, and they have many years of experience. They’re here, working on this without getting paid—they just want to help.”