How did you find out about the PhD program at WashU?

I found out about the aerosol program at WashU while I was an undergraduate at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB). There was an outreach program and face-to-face meetings with WashU faculty including Rajan Chakrabarty at IITB in December 2019. Interacting with the professors was very helpful and opened up this opportunity for me. I previously did not know about WashU and the close relationship between IITB and WashU. After meeting with Professor Chakrabarty, I initially thought I would pursue the joint master’s degree. But then I learned about WashU’s PhD program and learned that other IITB students went directly from undergraduate to a PhD at WashU. This seemed like a great fit for me.

What factors played a role in your decision to come to WashU?

When I consulted with the other IITB students who joined WashU, I came to also learn about the McDonnell International Scholars Academy and decided to apply. I was fortunate to receive offers from both the PhD program and the McDonnell Academy. The McDonnell Academy fellowship made the offer even more appealing as I know that research with leadership and collaboration is very important. The mission of the McDonnell Academy sealed the deal for me.

How did you transition from IITB to WashU?

Shortly after accepting the offer from WashU, COVID hit and I had to reorient. I took online classes last fall semester. While it was challenging, WashU has been very supportive and helped me adapt to the changes very well. WashU’s structure and decisions regarding online courses was good and helped me pull through. Once I finally arrived at WashU for spring semester my experience was really good. Even if my classes have been on Zoom, I visit campus frequently for research rotations. I have also been studying with students in person and meeting new friends and peers. I’m also really looking forward to working full-time in the labs once course work is completed.

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?

I really like living in St. Louis as it has many nice attractions. I particularly like the Delmar Loop, Forest Park, and Tower Grove Park.

What are your future plans?

I haven’t made a concrete decision yet whether to go into  academia, industry or otherwise, but I look forward to building my vision during the next years of my PhD program. I do believe that scientific leadership is necessary though when it comes to influencing public policies, climate change and other relevant concerns. I hope to expand my knowledge and leadership in these areas as well.