Internship Experience of Kartik at Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai

Kartik (Right)

Tell us about your internship - process of application, stipend, duration and place?

I was selected as a research fellow under Summer Research Fellowship Program- 2017. It is a joint research program organized by Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy and National Academy of Sciences in collaboration with almost all the IITs, NITs, IISc and research labs in India. Under this, I was selected to undergo a research project in the field of nanotechnology at Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, the quintessence of all chemical engineering colleges in India.

The process of application starts around October and applicants are required to fill the application form stating their academic records, previous projects, field of interest, statement of purpose and attach an LOR with the application based on which the selectors evaluate the application. In terms of stipend, it is better than most of the colleges providing stipends. The candidate is provided a stipend of INR 10000 along with a 2-tier to and fro ticket. The internship has to be carried out for two months and place of accommodation has to be arranged by the candidate itself.

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?

In terms of getting selected for the internship is quite difficult. Every year thousands of students from various disciplines apply for it but only a handful gets selected. In my view, the candidate must showcase great academic qualifications, should have conducted projects and has maintained good extracurricular. For me, I had the advantage of securing rank 1 in my department along with previous research experience and good extracurricular activities, which helped me get this internship.

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

My project work mainly focused on biomedical applications of nanotechnology. More than half of the medicines that we use are poorly water soluble which means to have the necessary effect we have to take higher doses of that medicine. My project focused on producing the nanoparticles of such medicinal drug, Nimesulide, in order to increase the water solubility and bioavailability of the drug and further analyze the nanoparticles using different techniques. We mainly worked on the principles of liquid anti-solvent precipitation using Spinning Disc Reactor.

Can you give us interesting details about your experience – good and bad? 

Before joining the internship, I had my doubts regarding the career opportunities in research but this was a life changing experience for me. I had a very supportive guide and Ph.D. Scholar who mentored me during my project and helped me understand the intricacies of research and writing a research paper. Also, my work schedule was not very hectic, which gave me time to explore the city of dreams, Mumbai with my friends. The best thing was the accommodation, which was provided by my guide and it was a twin sharing room with a rent of INR 4000 per month. Overall, it was a golden experience for me and has definitely shaped my perspective towards research in a positive direction.

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

Like I mentioned before, it helped me understand the intricacies of research and the most important thing it taught me is to be patient and not to get disheartened if results don't come. My guide always motivated me to think harder and find a reason for what went wrong and why did that happen which made me realize the finesse needed to carry out research.

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?

I could say that this experience has altered my perception of my career. After completing this internship and getting to know about the amazing research avenues across the globe, I have decided to pursue Masters in Chemical Engineering and further Ph.D. instead of going for an industrial job just after completing my bachelors.

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

I would say that these internships are truly valuable so if you’re interested in pursuing research as your career, it is always best to start as early as possible. Look out for such opportunities, follow to get updates on the upcoming opportunities and get the best out of it.

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

Overall I would rate my intern experience to be 9/10. Thank you.

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