IAS SRFP Internship! Today we have Kartikeya Tiwari, sharing his research experiences via one of the most prestigious internship programs in the country.
InternFeel: Please tell us something about yourself. Where and what are you studying currently?
Kartikeya Tiwari: Hey, I am Kartikeya Tiwari currently doing B. Tech- Mechanical Engineering from MNNIT Allahabad. Currently, I am in my final year of study.
IF: Give us details about your internship – process of application, stipend, duration and place?
KT: Well, I got to know about the Indian Academy of Sciences – Summer Research Fellowship Program – 2018 (IAS-SRFP 2018) through our college’s Training and Placement office. There is a portal, the link to which you can find on their website when the form opens. You need to sign up and then fill the form with required details. You need to get two recommendation letters from your mentors or professor. Most important part is the Statement of Purpose, in which you will be asked questions regarding your interest and skills. You need to write this properly and not copy because this is the one thing that professors study to select you for their projects.
When the procedure starts, they publish the list of selected students but the names keep on adding with subsequent days as per more confirmations from professors. You need to be patient as I got selected in Late March so it can take time sometimes. I got selected under Prof. Govind S Gupta from Materials Engineering Department, IISc Bengaluru. You need to complete the minimum of 56 days in the internship to get the full stipend. The stipend was Rs. 10,000 for 4 weeks. So basically in total, you get Rs. 20000 plus Travel reimbursement for Sleeper Class. For students who get the internship in Bengaluru area have the provision to stay in IAS Guest House with travel to and fro to the college. But they deduct Rs 5500 per month for the same. So in the end, you get a total of Rs. 9000 + Travel Reimbursements.
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?
KT: A very large no. of people apply for it from all over India to have an opportunity to work in IISc, IITs, CSIR, TIFR, etc. Selection rate is around 10% which warrants the competitiveness. A good CV which shows that you have what it takes to get a research opportunity. I had many projects under my belt and a decent CPI also helped. Basically, if your preferences match with that of the professor you will be selected kind of a chance process. But one should focus on getting a recommendation from good professors and a good SOP can really help, being specific about your interests and field you want to work in can really help. You can even provide the name of Guides you would prefer.
IF: Could you please highlight the work/research you carried out during your internship period?
KT: I was assigned a project on “Heat transfer in Acheson Process” which is used for the synthesis of Silicon Carbide. I got a hands-on experience in the laboratory which you rarely get in other colleges. I was also able to submit a research paper on ” An Analysis of Heat Distribution in the Production of SiC Process” which will be published soon.
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 line.)
KT: I had one of the best experience of my life there. It will be one of the highlights of my life always. I met the best people. I fell in love with Bengaluru. The weather. The people. The filter coffee. You get to meet such intellectual people from various walks of Science. Getting an opportunity to work with the notable people in their field who have done such phenomenal work in their field and in one of the premier institution of the country is an achievement in itself. Projects were interesting. There were no timing restrictions you could even work all night but you just have to report to your professor with the work timely. We also had many trips around Bengaluru and used to go and check out Bengaluru or places around every weekend or sometimes during weekdays. There were many activities even organized by the Academy and IISc for the interns, from talks from various professors to Get-togethers and Open-Mics. The Academy even took us on a trip to Mysuru and also invited us for their Mid-year meeting in Infosys, Mysore (Possibly the best workplace in India) and treating us like royalties. One of the best times ever.
But the best part will always be the people you meet and friends you will make there. It was a Utopia for me.
IF: How do you think this internship has helped you grow? In other words, what are your key takeaways from the internship?
KT: Through this internship, I got the chance to explore what I wanted from my life in various ways. I got to figure out where I want to take my career in the future. I developed as a human. My interests in various fields also grew manifolds and I got to experience the levels of the outside world right now. Key Takeaways will be the project, the experience, and the friends I got there.
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?
KT: Before this, I was kind of unsure whether I wanted to explore the research field. I used to think I didn’t have the patience and caliber to read papers and devise a theory but when I went there my whole perspective changed. I am more clear about my future plans for further studies. Earlier I used to involve myself in practical projects but now this internship developed my interests in the hidden parts of such projects too, the real crude thing. Now I have decided to get into this field and explore my career options with Masters from any good college first.
IF: Lastly, do you have any words of advice or caution for students aspiring for this internship and reading this piece?
KT: Word of advice for students, well I have been there too and have noticed that most of us don’t have knowledge of such opportunities as SRFP, MITACS, NTU-India Connect, CHARPAK France, etc. So we usually end up going for an industrial training which usually is a waste of time and money. One should try to search the web for such opportunities as there is an ample amount of them for interested students who have the caliber too. Focus on developing your CV through such internships if you have the plans for Masters later on. Get good recommendations from the notable professor and write a good and genuine SOP during the application and you will be good to go. Remember that if you get this opportunity, it could be one of the best things for your career and overall development. “Research is to see what everybody else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought.”
IF: Please rate this internship from the scale of 0 to 10, 0 being really bad to 10 being awesome!
KT: I will rate this internship, 9.5/10. 0.5 is deducted cos I believe there is always room for improvement and they could also speed up the process of sending stipend and increase it a bit too. But still, it was the BEST!
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