From Classrooms to Boardrooms: A Naga’s Incredible Journey in the USA

For those who have viewed Tiajungla Dominica Jamir’s viral clip of her inspiring, globally-streamed commencement speech, spotlighting Nagaland, on YouTube, she needs no introduction. Jamir was selected as the only Indian graduate orator by the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) for the 2021 Commencement Ceremony in May.  
She was humbled to introduce her homeland, Nagaland, to over 3,000 fellow graduating and international students and the global audience, since according to NYIT, students represent 94 countries and 40 (US) states.

“I am gratified to learn that Indians, especially those in the Northeast were inspired and can take pride in the global spotlight,” she said.

In her address, Jamir said, “Far from New York City, my journey began in Nagaland, India, where I grew up among the gorgeous green hills and mountains.”

In a country with nearly 1.4 billion people, it was easy to get lost among its population – but not for her, she said. She stuck out like a bump on a log and was labeled ‘different’. After moving to New York, Jamir has since embraced the moniker she once mistook for something negative.

When speaking, Jamir revealed she traveled 27 hours from (Dimapur, Nagaland) India to New York City’s JFK airport in 2019 for her master’s. She later realized she might have enlightened some viewers to the lengths Indian students go for an education.

Upon landing, Jamir found, the cultural shock took a few weeks of getting used to. “I was quite surprised by the warmth and welcome from people meeting me for the first time,” Jamir explained. “The unconditional encouragement, inspiration, and nurturing from people in this exciting melting pot of cultures helped me assimilate quickly,” she admitted.

Jamir’s desire to learn, absorb information, understand, and grow as an individual and computer engineer was rewarding. “The trust of my parents in Dimapur was not misplaced,” she said, adding, “they beamed with pride when I graduated on May 23, with the highest distinction; an M.A. summa cum laude in UX/UI Design and Development.”

‘The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement,’ a famous quote, is now her life motto.

Jamir believes that globally, the options for improved user experiences (UX) and user interfaces (UI) in the arena of Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) development, are vast.

Also read: Listen to Dominica Jamir’s commencement speech at New York Institute of Technology

Wasting no time, with just eight days since graduating, Jamir launched her New York firm, AR-VR & UX-UI Enterprises LLC.  As co-founder and Creative Director, she intends to use her solid UX/UI and AR/VR education and training to laser focus on client needs to deliver extraordinary solutions that make their businesses and products user-friendly, accessible, and unique.

Responding to a question on what advice she might offer Indian and Northeastern youth contemplating a career in emerging technologies, Jamir said, “It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario as individuals are unique and have their own paths in life. For those who discover that they have an openness and curiosity for emerging technologies, such as VR/AR, it is critical to first have some basic traits to help them succeed:  strive for excellence, exceed expectations, be flexible, passionate, persist; be open to guidance, focus, collaborate and most importantly be empathic and, remember to diligently research online on where to start for any educational stream.”

The internet was the conduit for the spread of technology. PCs, emails, and e-publications, etc., all became a reality with instant communication.  Access to information and data, e.g., almost from anywhere at any time saved resources and increased productivity. Similarly, VR/AR too, Jamir predicts, will inevitably grow with time, providing access to immersive experiences from the comfort of users’ own chairs – be it from home or office.

VR technology is a platform that cannot be easily explained. To truly grasp its capabilities and potential, users need to literally experience and interact with a ‘topic’ through a VR headset at least once. One can immerse themselves underwater surrounded by ocean life without a snorkel or, experience skiing down a mountain slope without skis or, as a medical student, experience a surgery lesson without cutting into a cadaver – the list goes on! Examples of close-to-immersive, 3D VR experiences can be viewed on YouTube.

During India’s pandemic lockdowns, learning via mobile phone messaging apps could be limiting and restrictive.

Jamir has established through her immersive VR web-based platform, that enhanced learning was possible by developing and bringing a prototype of an actual lesson’s subject matter to life during an interactive experience – which can be accessed remotely via the internet.

Jamir believes educational institutions could benefit from considering the use of a web-based VR platform to upgrade their traditional teaching by adding 3D visualizations to lessons – and making them accessible from practically almost anywhere at any time.

“In a matter of a few years, when VR becomes affordable – then goes mainstream, it could become as common as using mobile phones. It would serve visionaries well to embrace future technological possibilities,” she said.

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