Internship Experience of Nilesh Dama at Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar, Gujrat

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InternFeel ID: IF15027

IF: Please tell us something about yourself. What are your hobbies, interests. Where are you studying currently?
Nilesh: Hello everyone, I am Nilesh.M.Dama, 4th year Mechanical engineering student studying at K.J.Somaiya College of Engineering,Mumbai. My hobbies include playing table tennis and chess; reading answers on Quora on almost every topic, trying to gain knowledge of everything that comes across me. In mechanical engineering, I am basically inclined towards Thermal and Fluid sciences and also towards Renewable energy harnessing because I believe renewable energy is our only hope to meet the energy requirements in the future. Rather than making something big, I am basically interested in developing small gadgets/products for the betterment of the society.

IF: Which internship did you get the chance to take? What was it all about? Stipend, duration and place?
Nilesh: I was selected for a summer school program at Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar, Gujarat for a duration of 6 weeks from 1/6/15 to 10/7/15.
Nuclear fusion is one of the things which every country globally is trying to achieve to cater to the energy needs of the human beings. For nuclear fusion, it is necessary to fuse two lighter nuclei (most preferred are hydrogen isotopes- deuterium and tritium). To fuse these atoms, there is a need of very very high temperature( in order of millions of Kelvin). Here plasma comes into picture. We don’t tend to realize but everything around us is actually plasma, right from tubelight to thunder to SUN itself. So this institute is basically studying the characteristics of plasma by setting up various different experiments. The institute offered us a stipend of Rs 10,500 for a period of 6 weeks and also provided us with 3 AC to and fro fare. Hostel accommodation was also arranged by the institute. The hostel was nearly 20km away from the research institute. The institute arranged a bus service also, for everyday transport between the hostel and the institute.

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IF: How did you come to know about the internship? To what all sources you kept yourself connected?
Nilesh: The main problem nowadays is that the students are not aware of the numerous opportunities around them. State colleges and particularly students from private colleges are deprived of the direct opportunities available to students in IIT, NIT , BITS. I used Facebook in the best possible way to secure an internship. I am subscribed to Internshala, Eduinfo, Wemakescholars, Scholarships. I particularly prefer Eduinfo.asia over Internshala. I came to know about the IPR internship on Eduinfo website. Interested candidates can also look for advertisements in the leading dailies and should contact their professors in the college for knowing various opportunities available.

IF: Tell us about the procedure to apply for the internship. Who all are eligible to apply for this internship?
Nilesh: http://eduinfo.asia/2015/02/institute-for-plasma-research-internship/ – The page is still available on the eduinfo website. 3rd year B.E/B.Tech students of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering & 1st year students of M.Sc Physics can apply for this summer school program.

Procedure for filling up the application form online :-
STEP 1: Enrolment/Registration.
STEP 2: Login.
STEP 3: Profile Filling/Save/Edit.
STEP 4: Photo uploading.
STEP 5: Download and Print PDFs.
STEP 6: Mailing (by register/speed post only). Sending the hardcopy of the application form and the relevant documents is a must.

In proof of your academic performance, attach all the PHOTOCOPIES of marksheets and supporting documents relevant to your honors and medals along with the application form. No letters of recommendation are required. Only H.O.D’s signature is required on the application form.

IF: Any common mistakes which you feel students should avoid while searching and applying for internships?
Nilesh: A lot of time is wasted in searching for the internship matching our field of interest. This is the reason why internshala asks for resume and specific areas of interest. Also, students should not just apply and accept internship for the name’s sake unless they are really interested in that field; this would be unfair to another interesting and deserving candidate and would also not be beneficial to the student himself. Don’t be afraid of the paperwork to apply for different internships. I myself applied for about 11 places, but wasn’t unfortunately selected at remaining places. Research internships have an edge over the industrial internships and since they are more rewarding they are also difficult to get in to.

IF: Let’s talk about how competitive the selection process is. What qualities of yours, you believe helped you in having an edge in the selection process? What key things you feel were looked for by the selectors?
Nilesh: IPR had received 5000 applications for the summer school program 2015. Out of that they selected only 46 students. I consider myself to be lucky and privileged that I made into top 46(actually I was a waiting list candidate and because some selected students dropped out, I got this wonderful opportunity of working as a summer school student at IPR).
Many things depend on the institute you are applying to for internship. Research institutes would prefer kind of a research oriented student, engineering institute may even give preference to students working in various car making teams for events like Supra, Baja. I was working on 2 research projects with my 2 college professors. Also in my 1st and 2nd year of B.E, I was a member of Team Eta at our college and we made fuel-efficient car to compete in Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2013 and 2014 international events. I had industrial internship experience also and I was in top 3(with 90% + score) right through my school, college. Though I was not a topper in my engineering college, but working in the research projects certainly made my 8.3 aggregate CGPA more appreciable than college topper’s 9.5 aggregate. So my suggestion is that with a decent score in academics , work on the projects since projects make the selectors realize how much you really understand the studied concepts and whether or not you are able to apply them well.

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Also don’t fake your profile for getting selected. At IPR, during our internship I saw an absolutely stunning profile of a student from Kerala(she was actually the most deserving candidate for SSP ’15) who was rejected because she had submitted wrong information in the application form, about her H.S,C(10+2) marks than what she had actually secured. The selectors confirmed it by looking at the document hard copy which she had sent to the institute along with her application form. Maybe she wouldn’t have intentionally done that, but it costed her this big opportunity( and moreover which she deserved actually). So take care in properly submitting the correct information.

In other internships, your letters of recommendation and Statement of Purpose would play a very major role in your selection. Properly draft your SoP and make corrections in it regularly and try to make it more catchy(but not fake). Various resources are available on net for properly drafting Resume and SoP.

IF: What preparations you did after the results in view of the internship?
Nilesh: I had called the institute for prerequisite things required to be known before joining the program. They advised me to brush up my basics, that’s it! And there was a break of only 8 days between my sem 6 exams and date of thestart of my summer internship.

IF: Could you please highlight the work/research project you carried out during the internship period? Its application in near future and your work in it?
Nilesh: The program was very well planned.

  1. Lectures by scientists and engineers for first 2 weeks
  2. Lab visits during this period
  3. Individual Project from week 3-5
  4. Report making and poster presentation 6th last week
  5. I worked on a device called multi-cusp plasma device. I was asked to estimate the cooling requirement of the 6 electromagnets used in that device. This device is the first of its kind in India and is a special one even worldwide. The device had not started generating Plasma yet, i.e it was in its development stage. I had to properly suggest chiller and pump requirement for the cooling of magnets. As I explained earlier, the study of plasma will help in generating energy from nuclear fusion, so any of all these small experiments and projects will ultimately lead the way to successful nuclear fusion. ITER is the 1st project where we would generate energy using nuclear fusion and we Indians should be proud that we are one of the very few nations in the world working on such project.

    IF: What was the best thing about the work culture and the internship? What were the things you liked there?
    Nilesh: The summer school program was properly planned. We received our stipend on the exact dates mentioned. The campus was huge. The scientists and the engineers of IPR were very helpful. Though some of them were very busy with their own work, no one would refuse helping summer school students. We students were specially treated with utmost care!

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    IF: Were there any special events during the internships? (events can be academics related like field trips, conferences, hackathons, meets etc and also non-academic, relating to your hostel life or alike)
    Nilesh: Yes there were so many special events. We used to work hard from Monday to Friday and used to enjoy on Saturdays and Sundays by going to nearby places for chilling out and shopping. A field trip was organised by IPR to Zainabad which is also known as little Rann of Kutch. We took lots of photos there :p and enjoyed like hell. There was a lecture by Dr Cary Forest from University of Wisconsin Madison, who explained about the Dynamo project he was working on! We went to different places like Kakaria lake, Akshardham, Mahatma Mandir, Gandhi Ashram and other places on every weekend. IPR administration also helped us in arranging a visit at L&T Hazira(only 10 of interested students went there; it was not mandatory for all as others preferred to sleep at hostel on that weekend). Visits were also arranged to PRL(Physics Research Laboratory, Ahemdabad) and SAC(Space Application Centre, ISRO, Ahemdabad).

    We also had the opportunity to hear Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam live at the inauguration of Enterpreneurship Development Institute of India on 20/06/15 and we even got his autograph on our group photo.

    Autograph of Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
    Autograph of Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

    IF: Let’s now talk about some negatives. What were the glitches and problems that came your way, which you think your juniors would be able to avoid?
    Nilesh: During the start of the project, my guide couldn’t give me enough time as he was busy in some other important work. I was a bit nervous at that time, but then I geared up and started taking help from other scientists and Engineers who had knowledge about the project I was working on. Maybe next year, it wouldn’t happen this way. Also hostel was far away from IPR for the first time in SSP history of IPR, but they have planned for a better hostel facility for next SSP. So no problems for next SSP batch except for their selection for the program :p

    IF: Was this your first internship / training?
    Nilesh: Yes, it was my first technical internship/training. I had done a marketing internship before this with a toy manufacturing company for marketing their superb strategic game called Checolo.

    IF: How much difference did this internship period make in your intellectual capabilities and mindset. In broad terms what are your gains and takeaways?
    Nilesh: There was nothing to lose. When we met other high profile selected candidates, we realised there was so much to do in our respective fields. Also the realization that we do waste a lot of time in unwanted and unnecessary activities was the best thing that happened. This internship has charged me up for working harder and has increased my interest in research work.

    IF: Advice for juniors? Which can help them in getting internships in their future college life and also advice for making the best out of it.
    Nilesh: Stay subscribed to Internshala and Eduinfo and regularly check new internships featuring on their website. Always look at your college notice boards for any events, competitions and participate in them to add to your profile and experience. When you secure an internship, work harder(also enjoy on weekends:p) in that institute as you have a limited duration of internship/training. Make new friends, learn from them, contact people working in your area of interest and learn what they actually do in that field!

    IF: What are your future plans after this internship and how much impact this internship will have on it?
    Nilesh: I am preparing to go abroad for my masters. This internship experience at research institute will surely have a great impact on my mindset. I am planning to go to this institute again in winter break to work in the Cryogenics department of SST1( steady state tokamak).

    IF: Any views about this initiative of InternFeel, and how beneficial it would be? Any suggestions/feedback for improvement?
    Nilesh: Last year I used to read internship experiences of other students on Internfeel and I had decided that I will also secure an internship and inspire my juniors and guide them for the internship. Internfeel is doing a great job of connecting people who have done internships with people who want to do internships, as this helps the students to directly understand about the kind of program available at the institute. I would recommend every Mechanical, Electrical engineering student and particularly M.Sc physics student to apply to IPR’s summer school program.

    I am thankful that I wasn’t selected in other 10 internship programs and that I got a chance to work in this institute where everyone was so helpful. We,SSP 2015 candidates nearly formed a family kind of relationship in just 40 days!

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    ALL THE BEST!
    NEVER GIVE UP & NEVER LOSE HOPE!
    EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

    If anyone has any queries, you can contact me! I would be happy to help!

    Nilesh can be reached at nilesh.dama@somaiya.edu

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