Anjali Gopal first stumbled on effective altruism in early 2014. She was talking to a friend about what she should do next, having just finished a degree in engineering. Her friend suggested she look into 80,000 Hours, an organisation that researches and advises on ethical careers. They helped her towards her decision of doing a PhD in bioengineering at UC Berkeley, where she is currently studying and exploring opportunities in science policy and biosecurity research.
Growing up in India when she was younger and continuing to visit family there today, Anjali realises how fortunate she is, and she has long been motivated to use her resources to help others. She became very involved in fundraising for overseas development charities as a high school student, but admits that she didn’t have much of a framework for evaluating how effective these organisations were. When she heard about the evidence-based approach of effective altruism a few years later, she was immediately interested.
Effective altruism has helped Anjali realize her own potential for high-impact work. Previously, she had thought that people who worked in areas like politics, economics, or government had some superior ability or skill set; now she’s confident that she can build the right skills herself. Besides this, she’s highly aware of how easy it would have been for her to have missed learning about the movement and the ideas behind it. This was a key motivation for moving to the San Francisco Area, where there is a growing effective altruism community. She has spent much of her spare time organising community meetups there and volunteered for the Effective Altruism Global conference this year.