Internship Experience | Tejeswar Dash | Indian Academy of Sciences | IAS-SRFP |

In this interview we have Tejeshwar Dash, with his internship experience at National Institute of Oceanography, Goa via IAS – SRFP program. Let’s learn more.

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

Tejeswar Dash: I am Tejeswar Dash currently doing Masters in science [Marine Geology] in Mangalore University. previously I did my bachelors in Ravenshaw University, Odisha itself. I have a great interest in Earth science, especially in Marine Geoscience.

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

TD: I tried a lot to get an internship experience during my 2nd year bachelors time basically; so I came across IAS SRFP-2015 in my browser. Previously I came to know three of my seniors got selected in 2014. So I applied online..then sent it to academy address along with recommendation letter of one of our professors who recommended good also.

Around February 1st week I got selected & it was National Institute of Oceanography, Goa. It was very exciting as I was going to work with a great scientist from India. I did my work for 2 months as 56 days is minimum duration as per rule. I got a stipend of Rs 8000 for 8 weeks.

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?

TD: That year 90% students of my course applied for it & everyone’s PUC marks including me were above 80%… so u can guess how tough the competition was. It took me 6 days to choose a topic& I came to know that 5 to 10 students were applying for the same topic & others were just insane…all of them chose different topics and their write up was quite good as well.

Most of them were not pretty sure about their topic in particular and some of them even specified the geographical sites where they wanted to do the observation which is not at all acceptable as per selection rule.

So I put my effort to write pointwise at least about the methodology I wanted to follow in brief & to express properly about what I wanted to learn from that specific skill irrespective of any geographical location. cut off for the selection is 65%. So it is easy to say that they look for a research mentalist who must know at least how to express his/her topic qualitatively & demand politely to give a chance to do that.

If you copy from someone you may get selected but your guide may insult you some day during work as almost all IAS shortlisted guides are in contact with each other & they might know who has done that project before & may not even pay their interest on your project. So I suggest the applicants reflect their own ideas in the write-up.

Sometimes Basics & methodology could be similar to any other applicants’ write up but the interpretation of an idea & predictability concerning with that idea should not be same…simply telling….not a copy paste job.

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

TD: I did my internship on this topic -Study of Texture & clay mineralogy of Estuarine sediments…

As the analysis of textural parameter & clay, mineral percentage provides us intensive information of the provenance and paleoclimate of a sedimentary environment so I collected samples from different places in Tiracol & Chapora river estuary of Goa itself & analyzed different parameters.

Then I identified the clay minerals, calculated their %age abundance through X-Ray diffraction of different sized particles, gathered data, plotted various graphs in specific software, completed my project report & submitted in NIO Digital library for future information.

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 that line.)

TD: First of all, Goa was a very surprising location for me as it is a dream paradise for everyone. I stayed in the NIO hostel. Friends were from all over India & very helpful. During holidays I used to hang out with my co-hostilities in beaches like Karanjalem, Miramar, Baga & Calangute. No one was bad & they were quite serious about their work as most of them were from masters.

We had to be punctual as institute rule was strict. I used to attend seminars & cultural performance in Cardium hall(auditorium) in holidays, Two of us had DSLR camera & captured every single enjoyable moment.

The night out at the jetty in Dona Paula, Goan food, hiring car & bike for a trip to Dudhsagar waterfall, Bada pauv, seafood, chicken feast, San Andreas movie at INOX, roaming in old goa church n monuments, Chapora Fort, North Goa, collecting seashells, attending car festival in Miramar…Oh my God!!! I can’t express briefly how amazing those days and those friends & seniors were.

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

TD: India is the only nation where certificates cost little. experience costs much. In general, we have no access to those famous & dedicated scientists unless we go for a Ph.D. But through IAS SRFP program; It was an incredible platform to innovate myself as I was doing interaction with a top-level scientist(scientist-G) every day & experiencing a strict research laboratory & going for costly instruments for data analysis. Project assistants and Ph.D. scholars were assisting me with apparatus requirements and report writing, paper presentation etc. All were so cooperative that I felt as if it were my family. I was lazy, not punctual before ..but there I was bound to reach the lab in time.so laziness is just a word for me now. Taking photos with costly instruments by my side, going for sample collection to the river, watching the panoramic bluish Arabian sea from a ship was really an amazing experience for me.

 

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?

TD: Most students don’t go for a Ph.D. Why? Because adding to a field is hard. Anyone can consume something and then repackage it. Anyone can regurgitate information. That’s easy. But It’s so much harder to create information, to bring knowledge into existence for the very first time.

Surely I have decided to get into the research line, so I am paying almost half of my time in all those branches leading to Ph.D. The internship is like a little Ph.D. environment where we gain a lot and prepare us for the doctoral course. It is important to come in contact with great scientists who know how to accomplish a project patience fully. I have no other strong option except Ph.D .so I am preparing myself to get into it from now.

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

TD: Of course…As this specific internship is getting much more competitive than before; so all applicants should follow some very important steps to apply for it. All you have to do is…

Find out your area of interest and narrow it down to very specific criteria.

Visit the website of the mentors mentioned in the list. Find what they are currently working on which will probably let u find an idea popping up in your mind.

Cultivate some preliminary knowledge of the topic. If you still find it interesting, pour in some more time and try to understand what the professor is doing exactly. Things would be a bit easier and less befuddling for you if you see their work on a specific area or methodology.

Make sure your SOP is strong & highly personal & professional. Talk research, Bifurcate your ideas or compare it with any previous work if any & Clearly propose an experiment that you would like to conduct.

You may personally contact the guides you have chosen..although it is quite confidential for selection but you can be very sure about whether the guide is busy in any project or not. Because sometimes they simply deny because of heavy workload or any personal issues. I rate this 2 out of 10 for the probability of their availability.

Try to get good recommendation letters. Follow the application procedure and send it before the deadline

I have seen many talented & deserving students than me not getting selected. The reason is only their negligence. Because It involves a bit of effort and more of a fluke. Your subject of interest and the mentor’s requirement must coincide. But this should not discourage you from applying.choose guides irrespective of accommodation availability. Because experience & certificate count much for your career if you get a chance but if you care about hostel you may lose a guide concerned with your area of interest in the SRFP guide list. This year 2 to 3 rules are changed where you have no access to choose a guide.so I am not putting stress upon it.

Keep in mind that if you get a chance then your internship is going to be a very exciting and memorable chapter of your life…then go for it with full confidence…

Remember ….your ideas and intellectual piece of research never die only if you hope for the best but never expect.

IF: Rate this internship on a scale of 0 to 10

TD: As it was my first and very exciting internship in Goa..so I rate this 9 out of 10. 1 point is less because a rattlesnake broke into our hostel one night & we all had to chase it for 3 hours. But yeah…..finally we killed it.

 

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