5 questions with…Engineers Without Borders leader Anjali Verma

She’s lived on both coasts—in California and New York—and calls Cleveland home while studying at Case Western Reserve, but that’s not nearly enough world experiences for Anjali Verma, a third-year biomedical engineering major. As the leader of Engineers Without Borders, Verma is helping deliver clean water to communities in Latin America, Asia and Western Africa.

Verma is rallying and organizing members of EWB at Case Western Reserve to travel to places such as the Dominican Republic, Thailand and Cameroon. She hopes they will be able to meet the water needs of about 15,000 people this year—roughly the size of the Case Western Reserve University community.

This desire to help people stems from her high school internship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, which sparked her interested in oncology and led her to Case Western Reserve University, where she now leads EWB and conducts research in molecular imaging and drug delivery with research assistant professor Ann-Marie Broome.

But what’s life like for Verma outside the engineering world? Find out now.

1. What superpower would you most like to have?
My favorite superpower has always been the power to fly. I love climbing trees because of the view from top. However, if I could have any superpower right now, it would be the power to turn back time—I like the idea of being in two places at once.

2. What’s your favorite place to dine in Cleveland?
The West Side Market is my favorite—I love spending time with my friends and exploring different kinds of food. And I’m a pretty adventurous cook, so it’s a fun place to find new ingredients.

3. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid, I changed my mind about what I wanted to be every other week. I thought about being an English scholar, a mathematician or a journalist. But after my experience at Roswell Park, I realized I really wanted to do something that would challenge me and help other people. As such, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in cancer research.

4. What accomplishments are you most proud of—personally and professionally?
I’m proud of:

  • The work Engineers Without Borders does. We set a goal to meet the needs of a group the same size as the CWRU community a year and a half ago, and now that goal has become a reality. I’m can’t wait to see what this group will accomplish in the next five to 10 years.
  • My research and the potential it has to influence the lives of millions of people who suffer from cancer.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve University?
Case Western Reserve University is a place where you could meet somebody who loves music and has performed at Carnegie Hall one day, and somebody who’s planning on running for congress or joining the Peace Corps another day. I love the diversity of our undergraduate classes’ interests, and I love having the opportunity to meet so many professors of note in their fields. And I love our campus—it reminds me of a remote island in an area that’s otherwise very developed and historic.