May 22, 2014

Promising Science Students from India Study at Georgetown through Scholarship

With a scholarship from the Indian government in hand, in the summer of 2012 Anahita Bharadwaj of SASTRA University in India left her home country for the first time to spend a summer at Georgetown’s campus. Her goal was to work with Makarand Paranjape, associate professor of physics at Georgetown, on a project involving the potential of nanofibers as drug delivery systems.

The trip was a great success. According to Bharadwaj, "My summer in the United States taught me lot more than just research. It taught me about adjusting in a new environment, meeting new people, living outside my comfort zone and looking at the bigger picture in life. ... Under Dr. Paranjape’s...guidance, I witnessed the blending of two 'classical' research areas while working on nanofibers. Staying in Georgetown was an amazing experience."

Partnership with India

Beginning with Bharadwaj’s visit in 2012, promising science students from top Indian universities have been performing research in Georgetown laboratories with funding from the Indian government. Students are funded through two science scholarship programs, the Khorana and Bose programs operated by the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and a consortium of U.S. universities led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Khorana and Bose Scholars receive funding for travel, housing, and living expenses in the United States for one summer at Georgetown. They stay in Georgetown campus housing and conduct faculty-supervised research in Georgetown labs alongside Georgetown students, becoming a part of the campus community.

Faculty Benefits

Georgetown faculty have found the program beneficial, as well. “The Khorana Program is clearly a win-win scenario for both student participant and the U.S. mentor,” said Paranjape, associate professor of physics. “The program attracts the very best and brightest of young Indian minds who are all eager and highly motivated to learn, engage, and contribute to meaningful research. As such, the Khorana Scholar gains invaluable research and mentorship experiences, while the mentor gets a talented summer researcher who can often be seamlessly integrated into a new or existing project.”

To date Georgetown has hosted eight students in the program and will host a ninth in summer 2014.