A Conversation with Sneha Thakkar | See previous interviews

Sneha Thakkar
Assistant Clinical Professor

Sneha Thakkar

You have a lovely sense of style. Are you a fashionista?

I wouldn’t say that I am a fashionista but I definitely have my own sense of style. I like quirky things. I love shawls and got this one in Cambodia. I am not a sparkly person and don’t normally wear much jewelry but will on occasion. The Om around my neck was a gift from my future mother-in-law; it is a symbol of meditation intended to bring peace. I like understated style.

You are a recent transplant to the Bay Area from Pennsylvania. What has been the best thing about relocating?

The best thing has been being close to my fiancé and friends from college, and now my cousin is part of the division! It’s great to have a little more consistency in seeing people who are important to me in everyday life.

Where were you born?

I was born in Maryland and still love the DC area. When I went to college, I really appreciated how multicultural it was and thought that that really opened my mind. I miss having four distinct seasons and realize now how they helped me gauge my sense of time. The days here are very much the same and time just seems to go by with little demarcation.

What drew you to IT in addition to medicine? Do you feel that the field is changing its traditional culture?

I was actually in a combination of electrical engineering/computer science and biology, a double major. I was always interested in the intersection of medicine and IT and I worked as a software designer before I entered medical school. It was more of a process for me than an early decision. In college, I was only one of two people at the time but there are more people now interested in this area than before. The biggest joke in my family is, “What is Sneha today: an engineer, a biologist, or a doctor?” They have always been supportive even if they didn’t always understand my path.

What would you like to learn that is in no way related to medicine? If you had the time, what creative venture would you attempt?

For my birthday, my fiancé got a fundamentals drawing class that I loved. It was great to have dedicated time to do something creative and completely just for myself. Doing the drawing projects was a meditative process and something that I definitely want to do more of and explore. After the wedding and honeymoon I plan to make more time for drawing. My fiancé and I created our Save the Date poster together to look like a movie poster.

Are you a spontaneous person or a creature of habit? What is a personal ritual that you absolutely must do regularly that drives friends crazy?

I am more a creature of habit but want to be more spontaneous. I try to be open to new ideas and trying new things. I am more flexible than spontaneous. Within the constraints of work, I try to stay open to opportunities. As to my habits, I must have my Starbucks green tea latte every morning. Even on vacation, it’s my ritual and something that I have to do.

What is your alter ego like? What is on her iPod? What is her favorite type of social scene?

She is really cool and hip. She would have Nitin Sawhney on her iPod—he does a really cool fusion of multicultural music and world beat music. Her favorite scene might be a coffeehouse with good drinks, maybe some jazz or other music, good friends, and interesting conversation.

Tell me about your family, what makes them special and how they have helped create who you are.

I love my family and feel very fortunate that we are very close. I am the second to the youngest of four sisters. They are fun, smart, and full of energy, and we love each other. My parents are very supportive of each of us, encouraged us, and took care of us. One of my sisters was in a bad car accident and needed a lot of care for a long time, and still does, but my parents still made sure that we were cared for and loved. They made me realize what is important in a relationship.

What does your name mean? What names might you give your children that have significance or meanings that you like?

This is embarrassing but it means “love.” Not romantic love but more spiritual or caring love. I haven’t yet thought much about naming children but their names would definitely have to be linked to the kinds of people I would hope they could become. I think names are important and would like them to be tied to ideas like light or joy.

Does your family have any words of wisdom that you recall?

There is one thing that my dad always said that is funny but really bad! When you are finished eating and say, “I’m full,” he responds, “Yes, I know you’re a fool.” I think his lighthearted sense of humor is quirky. He is the biggest softie and the first one to cry. My mom is the one everyone goes to and she has tried to be open to what other people feel; she has instilled that sense in all of us.

Congratulations are in order for your impending wedding! Have you any de-stressing strategies after all the event planning and celebrations?

We haven’t decided where to go on our honeymoon yet. My fiancé is my ultimate de-stressor. We go out to dinner and try food that we are not familiar with. Sometimes we just watch movies; I like documentaries, foreign films, dramas, and superhero movies (my favorite is Superman). I’ve started to meditate and do breathing exercises and just be quiet, to clear my mind. In the past few months, I’ve just also tried to keep drawing; it is my favorite escape, the single thing I do all by myself.

Thank you, Sneha.

- by Oralia Schatzman

View Sneha's professional bio | See previous faculty interviews