“I was born and brought up in a family of engineers. That and my love for Mathematics initially influenced me to pursue a BE in Electrical Engineering. During my undergraduate studies, I developed an interest in Communications and felt the need to delve more into the topic. So, instead of following the conventional route of taking up a job after engineering, I opted for an MTech at IIT Kanpur. I met some of the best scholars in my field at IITK who transformed my perspective towards research.

Therefore, in the hope of doing fundamental communication research, I joined ISRO after…


“I loved flies, but they didn’t love me back. I had bad allergies to flies during my PhD and I needed medications to keep them under some control. I initially got interested in the field of developmental biology after attending a journal club for the same where I saw beautiful microscopic images of Drosophila during my summer internship at CCMB, Hyderabad. In this club, several graduate students and postdocs came together to discuss scientific papers. I barely understood anything but I found the entire process of using genetics to understand development fascinating. I envisioned myself doing the same.

Even as…


“The journeys of Kalpana Chawla and Kiran Majumdar, in my early childhood, helped me develop an interest in science. I was an average student by convention, but keener to learn practical things. Biotechnology interested me, because of Kiran, but I was convinced early in life that I did not want to work on the core subject, but probably venture more into the applied sciences, in biotechnology firms.

But when I got exposed to the computational training, around this same time, it piqued my interest. I loved how logical and reproducible it was. In order to learn more about it, I…


“After many failed attempts for MBBS, I eventually pursued a Bachelor’s in Biotechnology followed by a Master’s as per convention. Considering I lacked exposure to research, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a PhD, so in order to build my knowledge and get hands-on-training experience, I initially decided to apply for a dissertation at CCMB, Hyderabad. I wrote to a couple of professors, whose work I liked but didn’t receive any response. Nevertheless, I decided to go and meet them in person and ended up getting kicked out by the security guard. Just when I was about to…


“The inaccessibility of good libraries in my town never hindered me from cultivating my love for reading. Most probably, I inherited this passion for reading from my mother. As a kid, I used to see her holding a book on one hand and reading while cooking with the other. I initially became obsessed with reading newspapers and devoured all the stories from my textbooks even before the semester commenced.

Since I inherently loved reading, it helped me secure good marks in school and I was naturally among the top scorers. It is a general norm for good students to opt…


“In college, although I had a vague idea about research, I wasn’t exposed to good laboratories which would allow me to have hands-on-training on the various techniques that I was reading in the books. So I was quite skeptical about pursuing a PhD because I thought I wouldn’t fit in.

After my Master’s, I went for a six month internship at Biocon in their research and development wing. But I left it within two months because the work didn’t excite me or equipped me enough to enroll myself for a PhD program.

Earlier during my post-graduation, one of my college…


“I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was in Standard III. Of course, I had no idea what a PhD was or the difference between a teacher and a professor back then, but I was always fascinated with reading and learning new things.

Initially, my parents suggested that I take up Science in high school and as the idea of pursuing Humanities, particularly English, which was my favourite, had not fully crystallized in my mind, so I thought of abiding by their suggestion. Those two years made me realize that Science didn’t appeal to me. When I…


“I wouldn’t say I was particularly good at any specific subject in school unlike many of my peers who had that clarity for further studies. I was good in Computer Science and loved programming, but not in Mathematics, while on the other hand, I had an affinity towards English. I took my time in figuring out which way to go and since computer science is inexorably linked to the ‘Science’ discipline without any scope of an interdisciplinary interface, I chose English.

As a kid, I enjoyed teaching and wondered how to combine my love for English with my passion for…


“Although I didn’t know I wanted to do a PhD as a child, I figured out early on that being good in academics had certain advantages. I had short term goals like getting a good score in exams or going to a good college. I didn’t have any academic exposure while growing up and was the first generation from my family to be going to a school or a college. Therefore, I had to figure out my career path by myself.

To add to it, I didn’t have English as a mode of communication in school or during my Bachelor’s…


“My father always wanted both his daughters to have a doctorate degree but since he passed away before he could see it happen, I decided that I had to think of it as his last wish and fulfil it anyhow. My elder sister pursued a PhD in Literature and inspired by her, I also took up Literature during my under-graduation and discovered I was good at it. But soon after, linguistics caught my attention, something that I didn’t even know existed, in school. …

PhDs of India

Inspired from HONY and HOB; bringing you stories of unsung heroes of our society: PhD students. For sharing yours, email us at: phdsofindia@gmail.com!

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