Changing gear to Europe, our next Edulixian to be honored in Edulix Most Influential 20 list is our own Rogue who is currently doing her PhD in Germany (TU Berlin). Along the way, she picked up MS degree in ChemE at Delft.
Rogue talks about some of her research that has already won her accolades and what she misses about India ("to dress up in a variety of colours and in a variety of ways')
Here is Rogue, in her own words.
BITS-Pilani (Goa campus), India
Grad School & Degree Program:
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands || MSc Chemical Engineering (Track Process Engineering)
Most prominent accomplishment so far, that you are proud of:
I think my biggest achievement so far is being selected for this particular PhD project I am working on. What is special about this project and I consider myself fortunate to have it is that, this is a project funded under the European Union's H2020
scheme of Future Emerging Technologies
. Our project is also a big contributor to European Union's Climate Change concerns.
In addition to that, what I am especially proud of is that I won a Poster Prize out of 110 posters at an International Diamond Conference (Hasselt Diamond Workshop 2017) for presenting my research results from this immensely important EU project.
Moreover this has resulted in me being featured in the news of my research institute and project consortium and the Conference website because of this achievement. HZB NEWSHasselt Diamond Workshop 2017. I think this is the second time I was featured on the news for some achievement, and I guess it feels good to have your hardwork recognized in such ways.
Most memorable moment during apping and Grad School:
I think I was more or less very stressed during the whole application season but the most memorable moment was certainly my first admit from TU Delft. Assuming I can still count my PhD days in Berlin as a part of graduate school, I think being able to present my results from my PhD research in front of the entire European Commission during a review meeting felt extremely good. It was certainly a memorable moment for me to be able to convincingly and comprehensively present my results to the review committee and thereby contributing along with other colleagues from the project towards earning a renewal of our project funding. It was a Herculean task, as a PhD student to contribute in that fashion.
Most exciting/intriguing/rewarding class or research project in Grad School:
For me, since I have always liked to work at the interface of several disciplines, Solid State Physics seemed to be the perfect coursework that I had followed in my days in TU Delft. The course was officially called Chemistry and Physics of Solar cells
but it was all Solid State Physics as they tend to form the foundation of Materials Science and Nanotechnology research in the present days. I also unexpectedly happened to score the highest grade in that course without attending a single lecture, so much so that I even surprised my instructor in the process. But he was so glad about my performance that he had agreed to offer me a PhD position which I later declined.
The most interesting research project has to be this one project which I did in a group of 5 people for this Dutch dairy company called Friesland Campina
. As an engineer, we believe a lot in real time designing and evaluating the feasibility of a project. So, this project felt like some sort of technical consulting work that a group of graduate students were assigned to do as a part of our coursework. We were a group of 3 Dutch students and 2 Indians and during this whole project, we really felt the essence of teamwork which I believe serves as a very essential soft skill for one's future career.
Most fun thing about you that people do not know about:
I have travelled practically once every month in the last year and I love collecting post cards from all places that I visit. So I have a travel wall comprised of postcards from all cities that I have visited so far. And at present I am also compiling a scrap book of all the cities in the world that I would like to visit, making note of especially the most unusual things to find in those cities (things that are not-so-touristy, could be food, artifacts, activities to do etc.).
Most time-wasting habit of yours:
I think I talk a lot, be it in-person or over the phone. And by a lot I really mean it. There are times when I have gone to my colleague's office to discuss something important but we started talking and went on for hours about so many random things that in the end I forgot what I had actually wanted to discuss. Earlier, during school days I was yelled at by my mother several times for talking to my friends on the phone for hours altogether instead of discussing just important stuff. So I would say being chatty with people is the most time-wasting habit of mine. Even small talks end up leading to big long chats at times!
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years:
As someone who has always been very inclined towards research, I think I have certainly taken a significant amount of time during my PhD days to think and rethink my options. I am not saying that do not like research anymore. That would be incorrect. I absolutely love it. However, I feel that academia is certainly always a few years ahead of reality. What you research now will be locked in journals for ages altogether because of its fundamental nature and see the light of the day only in say next couple of decades or so. This is especially the case in natural science and other areas that are still at a very rudimentary level. Nanotechnology is one such. Now, I realized that while I do my research, my tiniest of decisions don't make an impact in the outer world as yet. And that is essentially what I want to see. That the decisions I make based on the results of my problem solving, have a visible and tangible impace in the world. This is very much possible in the industry where you can experience not just a role in research but also in several other business functions, thus giving you a feel of real time decision making and a feeling of accountability.
Therefore, in the next 5 years I certainly want to see myself working as an experienced consultant for one of the industrial sectors and really making decisions regarding operations and strategies for companies.
What do you most miss about India?
Actually there is not just one but there are three things I terribly miss about India. One is certainly, home cooked meals straight out of mum's kitchen. Although I can cook everything now myself, I can never really beat the taste of the food that mum cooks.
The other is definitely street food. It's quite a pity that my stomach has adapted itself to European standards too fast but I miss the spicy Indian street food.
The other thing I miss is the opportunity to dress up in a variety of colours and in a variety of ways. Now one may say that as a woman I can do that even without being in India, but I would say, in India you can wear a wide range of clothes right from the traditional sarees (which also btw come in different varieties) to the western gowns and you can wear them in different colours. People here in Europe are somehow not too aware of too many other colours apart from black white and blue probably. They are hardly as colourful and don't accessorize their attires too much.