Bountifully Brightening Careers: Fulbright Fellowship Program

Bountifully Brightening Careers: Fulbright Fellowship Program

Mar 06, 2017 | Dibya Sharmishtha

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USIEF (United States-India Educational Foundation) is an international foundation that is committed to educational swap-over of outstanding students, scholars, and professionals. The interest here lies in the fact that its primary crucial points include administering the Fulbright Program to Indian and American students, faculty and professionals.

What is Fulbright Programme and how does it relate to NITR Contemporary Scenario?

Fulbright Program is an American scholarship program of competitive, merit-based conceding for International exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists, and artists, founded in 1946. The main philosophy behind it is to use proceeds from the sales of surplus war property to fund the "promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science."
The Fulbright Program is now the largest educational scholarship program in the world and operates between the U.S. and more than 150 countries.
India has one of the largest Fulbright Programs worldwide, with over 19,000 fellowships and grants awarded to Indians and Americans to date. In India, the Fulbright Headquarters’ is situated in New Delhi and the team of the same commission visited NITR on 20th of January to increase the awareness and opportunity of the scholarship.
 

The program was scheduled from 11:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. and was presided by Dr. Jaya Bharti who is the Indian Program Coordinator of USIEF. A few of the key points to be noted during the event were:
 

  • The USIEF provides Fulbright fellowship in a wide range of subjects like Agricultural Sciences; Bioengineering; Computer Science (with emphasis on cyber security and digital economy); Economics; Education Policy and Planning; Energy Studies; International Law; International Security and Strategic Studies; Materials Science (with emphasis on environmental applications); Neurosciences; Public Policy; Public Health; Study of India(limited to anthropology, history, sociology, and visual and performing arts);Study of the U.S. (limited to anthropology, history, sociology, and visual and performing arts); Urban and Regional Planning (with emphasis on smart cities and waste management); Women’s and Gender Studies.
     
  • There are different types of a fellowship awarded to B.Tech, Doctoral and Post-Doctoral students, Researchers, and Faculties as under-mentioned: 
  1. Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships
  2. Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships
  3. Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
  4. Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowships
  5. Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship
  6. Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program (application material is likely to be available in April/May 2017)
  7. Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program (application material is likely to be available in July or August 2017)
  • The selection process is quite exhaustive and has a wide range of requirements. Only Indians residing in India, and not those living outside India are eligible to apply for this scholarship. The interested applicants need to fill an online form after which the experts will review all the eligible applications and shortlist the final candidates for an interview session which will be in person with the USIEF National Selection Committee in New Delhi. The shortlisted candidates would be notified 3 weeks prior to the interview date.

    To be eligible for the Fulbright-Nehru fellowship, the following criteria are used as a tool to evaluate the applications and skim out the potential applicants.
    • The applicants should be at their final stage of studies and should be doing a project.
    • Academic credentials and professional ability
    • Merit of the proposed Fulbright project
    • Communication skills
    • Commitment to community or national service
    • Need to conduct research in the U.S.
    • Outcomes, Potential Impact, and Benefits
    • Motivation, Seriousness of Purpose, Maturity, Leadership, Cultural Adaptability
    • Ability to contribute as a cultural ambassador beyond his/her specific field of study

The main motive of the program was to create wakefulness about the fellowship and to increase the percentage of applications from the eastern region since it is very less even though it is the second most prestigious fellowship in the world. 

Talking about the event in here, it was attended by Prof. B. Majhi, Dean Academics, Prof. Animesh Biswas, Director and other faculties including two of our professors who have been Fulbright Scholars namely Bismita Nayak from the Department of Life Science and Prof. Archana Mallick from the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. They went to Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively during their respective tenures. Prof. Bismita Nayak completed her post-doctoral fellowship in the year 2013-2014 from Stanford University.

Last Ph.D. scholar from NITR who had been selected for the fellowship was Sabnam Parbin from the Epigenetic Laboratory, Department of Life Science, in the year 2014. She had got her doctoral fellowship from George Washington University. In the end, Prof Archana Mallick and Prof Bismita Nayak shared their experiences about their one-year long journey in American Universities.Quoting her experience, Prof Archana Mallick says:

This fellowship has given me the opportunity to explore the American culture along with the American research. I got the fellowship in the year 2013 and completed my post-doctoral research in a period of one year. My university, University of California, Berkeley used to take all the scholars to different places which helped us visualize things in a better way and experiment with it. Once, it took all the scholars to a farm house to show how technological advancements have been implemented in cultivation. If I had to scale the research scenario and the kind of work people do there, I would rate it as 9.5 out of 10. Apart from research, we celebrated all the festivals starting from Indian festivals to American festivals to Mexican festivals.

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