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Arijit Patra, a fifth year dual degree student of Mechanical Engineering specialising in Thermal Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) has bagged this year's Rhodes Scholarship. Arijit is among the 4 people from India who have been selected for Rhodes Scholars-Elect class of 2016.
The Rhodes scholarship was established through the will of Cecil Rhodes in 1902 and is now awarded to 88 individuals from 16 constituencies (countries or aggregates) across the world. Presently 5 Indians are awarded every year. The scholarships are tenable for studies in Oxford for a duration of 2-3 years. The scholarships are awarded based on the criteria laid down in the will.
Following are the objectives of the Scholarship:
* Literary and scholastic attainments
* Energy to use one's talents to the full
*Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship
* The moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.
Few words about Arijit’s academic & research experience.
“I am a fifth-year dual degree student of Mechanical Engineering specialising in Thermal Science and Engineering. As for research, I have some experience with problems in sludge gasification in fluidised beds, particle dynamics in microscale fluid flows, droplet evaporation dynamics, designing efficient thermophotovoltaics, neural network based drivability estimation and so on. The Mechanical Engineering curriculum has been instrumental in introducing a very broad portfolio to me, both in academic and industrial settings. I should add that the extra-academic scene at IIT KGP has been quite enriching for me too! I am an avid quizzer, debater, volunteer, an editor for The Scholars’ Avenue and have been associated with the SWG, apart from pursuing other niche interests.”
Arijit Shares Tips for Rhodes Scholarship
“It is difficult to lay down a preparation strategy since most programmes of this nature tend to take a holistic view of an individual's overall character, ability, achievements and aspirations. In a nutshell, the selection committees look for individuals of outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service. All of these criteria might be realised differently by different individuals and it is important to appreciate one’s unique positioning with respect to these. As such, there is no standard formula.Hence, a 'preparation' is not really possible. Although, individuals planning to apply should keep abreast of possible opportunities from their pre-final year at least and keep track of the deadlines.
He talks about his future plans
The Rhodes scholarship would enable graduate studies in Oxford, where I aspire to take the next steps to strive for the academic expression to my interest in energy and environmental change by pursuing graduate studies and research in Environmental change. Also, this is the oldest international scholarship in existence and has a rather illustrious alumni base. This translates into a brilliant professional and academic inspiration to excel, among other opportunities.
Information on other scholarships
On top of my mind, I recall the Schwarzman, Inlaks, Felix, Commonwealth, Gates Cambridge scholarships etc. There are also several scholarship/grant/fellowship options in US, Canada, Japan etc. Then there are industry sponsored graduate study programmes (Shell CSPhD etc). There are also awards available in other years of study (Honda YES in 5th sem, OPJEMS). And then there are specific demographically segmented awards, like the Schlumberger Foundation's awards for Women researchers**. The list goes on. Each of these may have different protocols involved and should be researched online or from relevant sources.
Arijit talks of IIT KGP ambience
IIT KGP allows for cultivating a broad range of interests, academic and otherwise. This allows for a fair bit of flexibility about exploring different avenues and instils a quiet confidence about the ability to handle the most unwieldy of circumstances. Combine this with a large and diverse alumni base with a rich repository of experiences to learn from, and you have a potent combination. Of course, I would love to see a lot of changes in a lot of areas but the KGP experience is a brilliant one, always and everytime!