Sushmita Krishnan | Indian Academy of Sciences | IAS SRFP

InternFeel: Please tell us something about yourself. Where and what are you studying currently? 

Sushmita Krishnan: I am Sushmita Krishnan. I am pursuing the third year of my integrated masters in Life sciences.

IF: Give us details about your internship – process of application, stipend, duration, and place?

SK: I did my internship through the summer research fellowship by the Indian Academy of sciences. I worked under Dr. Sumanta Bagchi, in Indian institute of sciences, Bangalore. I worked in the Center for ecological sciences. The application process began during November and the results were published in the last week of February.

The selection was very competitive. The project proposal is very important for the selection. Scanned copies of all mark sheets were required to We were paid and stipend if 12500 per month. We were given a very comfortable accommodation in IAS fellows residency.

IF: How competitive was the selection process? According to you, which qualities have helped you have an edge in the selection process? Also, what were the key things that selectors were looking for?

SK: It was known from my seniors that there are lakhs of applications every year for premier institutions like IIISC, NCBS and IIT. I had written a very good research proposal and a prior experience helps. Selectors always look for a keen interest in research and a good profile.

IF: Could you please highlight the work/research you carried out during your internship period? 

SK: I worked on a project to answer the plant-herbivore interactions caused due to stress. My research in IISC is a very memorable one. I worked in the ecosystems laboratory of CES, which has a very good infrastructure. My lab has a very good working atmosphere. My guide is also a very supportive person. He provided me with independent lab space and enabled me to work on my ideas.

IF: Can you give us interesting details about your experience – good and bad? (It could be something like the amazing location of your internship, the friends you made for life, a bad senior, accommodation given in case of an outstation internship and something along those lines.)

SK: My internship was planned very well. The Academy took responsibility for all the aspects. My lab was another place that made my time memorable. The other research fellows were also amazing and they are friends made for life.

IF: How do you think this internship has helped you grow? In other words, what are your key takeaways from the internship?

SK: Indian Institute of science is a place where you find research happening on a different scale with a class apart facilities. I have learned how to work independently, learn from mistakes. There were many days I kept repeating my experiments, but the happiness that comes after the results is boundless.

IF: Has this internship had a decision altering impact on your career? Do you now think of a different future path as compared to before doing the internship?

SK: My primary interest for this internship was to get into research and this internship helped me gain confidence in building a good research career.

IF: Lastly, do you have any words of advice or caution for students aspiring for this internship and reading this piece?

SK: IAS SRFP is a very prestigious fellowship given to 10 percent of the total applications. Take the full effort to apply. A good and genuine interest can always help you achieve one. You must be lucky to get into premier institutions. And believe, life is full of opportunities, try to grab them.

IF: Please rate this internship from the scale of 0 to 10, 0 being really bad to 10 being awesome!

SK: I would rate it 10.

IF: Please feel free to give any kind of feedback or suggestion for us at InternFeel. We would love to hear from you –words of appreciation or suggestions are all equally welcome.

SK: This is a wonderful platform to know how different internships work. Experience is the best teacher.

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