For every graduating senior Commencement day is a nostalgic time, a day to reflect on all of the accomplishments and sacrifices that have paid off to bring them to this moment. For 23 year-old Dipan Naik, it's that and much more. After five years of setbacks, surgeries and challenges, he has finally reached the culmination of his journey at Stevens due to his determination and dedication.
"I try not to think about the negatives. I have a lot of support from my family so it's natural for me to think positive," said Dipan, now a technology analyst for financial firm JPMorgan Chase.
Dipan was born with a rare disability called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. The disease causes his bones to become more brittle which brings a higher chance for them to fracture. He has been in a wheelchair for most of his life.
"I have to be cautious at all times. One wrong movement or not having my seatbelt on can put too much pressure on my bones. The bones fracture easily and there might be a minor crack. Doctors then need to insert metal rods to fixate the bone and support it," explained Dipan.
Since he began at Stevens in 2006, Dipan has had his share of this painful process. Several surgeries did not go as planned and in 2008 he was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Additional injuries, along with this one, caused him to drop out of Stevens for a semester, taking a forced medical leave.
"It's been a constant road to getting back on track," he said.
But through it all, he has done just that.
"I've been motivated through the support of all my friends and family. What propelled me to move back on campus was to be with my roommates again for our last year."
Along with the typical coursework for any computer engineering major, came physical therapy sessions and most of all mental preparation. Dipan's hard work paid off and he was able to catch up on his school work within the last two semesters. On Thursday, he'll be graduating with high honors and a Bachelor's in Engineering.
Dipan served in a summer research position at M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts and also previously served an internship with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before landing his current position with JPMorgan Chase.
Eventually, he said, he may work toward a Master's at Stevens in software engineering or economics.