Mayuri Porwal Summer 2017 Blog

It was during the first few weeks of January when I received an email from the S.N.Bose Fellowship
Program that I had been shortlisted among the candidates chosen this year (2017). I was extremely
overwhelmed and happy to have this honour bestowed upon me and to have been provided this golden
opportunity to participate in an international research program that is supported by the Government of
India. Once the realisation of what laid ahead of me set in, I embarked upon the most memorable
journey of my life- I didn’t know it at that time…. but if you ask me now what this internship meant
to me, I would say it was a very enriching experience and it helped me learn in many ways…. It was
“My Rendezvous with the United States” as I would gladly call it.

After having received the fellowship I began my search for a suitable mentor and that is how I found
Prof. Ryan C. Hayward from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I was extremely happy when
he agreed to host me for the summer as UMass Amherst was my dream university. After completing
the exhausting Visa Process, hunting down a suitable accommodation and completing the necessary
paperwork, I landed on the shores of Boston in the mid of May and made my way to a beautiful little
town called Amherst!!

During the tenure of my internship I really felt at home in Amherst- I know it might come as a bit of
an over statement given that I was there just for a few months- but it’s really how it is. This amazing
town has so much of warmth and such nice people that it makes you feel instantly at home! When I
had settled in after my first week, I was briefed by Prof. Hayward regarding my Project and was
introduced to my mentor- Dr. Hyeongjun Kim. As I began working on the project, I realised that I was
a part of a very interesting endeavour and was alarmed at the plethora of knowledge around me. I tried
to assimilate as much as I can and I learned a lot of techniques not just scientific but also in terms of
how to present your work. My mentor Dr. Kim as well as my advisor Prof. Hayward really motivated
and taught me a lot. At the end of my internship tenure I gave a presentation in front of the entire
Hayward Group which was applauded by all.

However, the most important thing that this internship gave me was – FRIENDS! When I came to
Amherst I had this unique opportunity to interact with people from various countries and ethnic
backgrounds. It was such a stimulating experience to talk to them, know about their cultures and also
learn a thing or two. The people in my lab were very friendly and always helped me out in everything
they could- from lab experiments to even groceries. I developed a very good rapport with them. One
of the Grad Students in my lab also baked a cake on my last day and we celebrated the end of my
tenure with a sumptuous lunch! I even explored a lot of places in the US during the weekends with the
help of my friends in Amherst- I explored Boston, Rhode Island, Washington DC and New York City
to name a few and also attended a concert in Madison Square Garden.

I would like to say that this internship has helped me a lot in many ways. It helped me hone my skills
as a researcher as well as understand the different things a Grad Student has to do. But most
importantly this internship helped me to make connections- both professional and otherwise- that I
will cherish forever. Thank you S.N.Bose and Winstep Forward for this opportunity!

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