10 questions with… Arun Neelakandan


It’s not often we meet people with an alias, but Learning Innovation Hub software engineer Arun Neelakandan, is not your average guy.

Outside his 9 to 5 job, Arun is better known as rapper and music producer Rotaris.

Recently featured on a 2SER podcast series Get Gig Ready, Rotaris’ music is influenced by his cross-cultural experiences from being born in India, and now being based in Sydney.

A man of many talents, Arun also represented Australia at the Red Bull Paper Wings World Finals in Salzburg, Austria in 2015. Yes, a paper plane flying world championship. Find out about this and more.

1. In a nutshell, my job is to…
Maintain and improve iTeach and Unit Guides, plus any other software development for the Learning Innovation Hub (LIH).

2. My definition of success is…
Accomplishing goals along with the wisdom of knowing what goals to accomplish.

3. A person at Macquarie that inspires me is…
Damian Jurd from the Department of Computing. His work ethic is astounding, and he is just a supremely clever person. He’s also very nice!

4. This year I want to…
Survive 😷. Professionally, I’d like to see the iTeach-MQCMS integration to maturity. Personally, I’d like to release a few more songs this year.

5. As a kid, I was…
A shy, quiet, but playful kid. I was often outside flying paper planes (editor’s note: he has actually represented Australia in the world finals for flying paper planes!), riding a bike, or playing with the neighbouring kids. I slowly fell into more indoor activities like reading (J.R.R. Tolkien was a favourite), drawing (I loved car design!), and watching films.

6. My guilty pleasure is…
Sweet stuff! Chocolate cake, laddus, bubble tea — all of it!

7. I’m scared of…
Lizards, despite the fact I spent the first nine years of my life in India surrounded by them. Or maybe it’s because of this.

8. The most important thing I’ve learned in the last five years is…
How accountability drives action, and the importance of resilience.

9. If I had the day off today, you would find me…
Spending quality time with my partner or doing something related to music. I love learning about and making music — I’ve been rapping and producing for a few years now under the moniker ‘Rotaris’.

10. To me, the best thing about the Macquarie community is…
The general sense of geniality. Macquarie is quite inclusive and friendly 🙂





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