WINStep Forward and the Consulate General of India, Chicago, co-hosted the 2015 Khorana Bose Scholars Orientation, held at the Consulate General of India in Chicago, on Friday May 22, 2015. Speaking to the Khorana and Bose Scholars at the Orientation were the heads of the major Indian scientific agencies: Dr. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary of The Department of Biotechnology, Dr. TK Chandrashekar, Secretary of the Science and Engineering Research Board, and Dr. Rajiv Sharma, Executive Director of the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum. All three of these agencies encouraged and supported the development of the Khorana and Bose Scientific Student Exchange under the Professor Aseem Ansari, who traveled from the U.S. to India and presented the agencies with.
Also speaking were Professor Bassam Shakhashiri, a professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and a world renowned educator who has promoted strong science education policies during his tenure as director and assistant director of the American Chemical Society and the National Science Foundation. He spoke to the Scholars about using their love of science to promote development of society as well as sparking a strong appreciation of science in the general non-scientist population.
Dr. Nevan Hanumara also had a similar message of using science to benefit society. Dr. Hanumara directs the MIT TATA Institute in Cambridge, MA. He and his students currently are trying to solve societal problems in India using their expertise in design improvement through mechanical engineering. He encouraged the young Scholars to place emphasis on utilizing their future research to solve tackle societal issues.,
Also present were representatives from the major Midwestern colleges. In attendance from the University of Wisconsin Madison were Assistant Dean Martin Rouse, Dr. Ken Shapiro, former Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Ms. Kim Santiago…., and Dr. Aseem Ansari, Founder of the Khorana and Bose programs. Dr. Stuart Ravnik, Dean of the Graduate School at University of Texas Southwestern and Ms. Caroline Ewing from The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign came for the event.
In addition, former Indian and U.S. Bose Khorana Scholars were at the Orientation. They were excited to share their experiences with the current group of Scholars, who not only included Indian Scholars coming to the U.S. to study, but also U.S. Scholars going to India for their summer research.
Concurrently, alongside the Orientation, WINStep Forward sponsored another event. The Sci-ROI, Science Research Opportunities in India, was created to answer questions for post-docs who were looking for future academic or industrial career opportunities in India. Having the leaders of the Science and Engineering Research Board and the Indo US Scientific Forum present, many of their questions were answered. Dr. Chandrashekar and Dr. Sharma talked about how India’s current climate for researchers is ripe with opportunity and presented details of many fellowships and grants the Government of India is making available to young scientists in order for them to start their careers in India.
The event was highly successful judging by the Scholar feedback. The Khorana and S.N. Bose Scholars programs were the brainchildren of Professor Aseem Ansari, who desired to create a scientific ideas exchange program between the U.S. and India. Dr. Ansari traveled to India and approached the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum and the Department of Science and Technology. Both agencies readily agreed to help fund a Scholar exchange, and the first Khorana Scholars began their summer research program at the University of WI Madison in 2007. Now, the program has not only expanded in the form of a more comprehensive scientific exchange program, the S.N. Bose program sponsored by the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Biotechnology, India, but also in the number of U.S. universities where scholars can perform their summer research. They include Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Caltech, UW Madison and many other major Midwestern universities, Johns Hopkins, Case Western Reserve, and many others.