Living the US Dream: Anubhab Ghosh
Stepping beyond the aim of scoring a high CGPA and strongly believing in the concept of inter-disciplinary research; Anubhab Ghosh, a final year student from the Department of Electrical Engineering has carved a niche for himself. Team MM caught up with this prodigious student on a rainy evening to get a glimpse of his internship experience at the University of Southern California, USA. Read on to find more:
MM: Tell us something about your life before you joined NITR.
AG: I grew up at Serampore, West Bengal, which is a very small town. I completed my matriculation from Gospel Home School and intermediate from Bholananda National Vidyalaya. Basically I was a typical Bengali child during my childhood. I am from a very humble background. My father works in the railways and my mother is a housewife. I am the only child. I completed my class 12th in Science and then sat for a couple of entrance exams including JEE Mains. I was primarily interested in Computer Science and Electrical engineering so I chose engineering as my career option.
MM: Most of the students find their first year too hard and hectic. Was the case same with you?
AG: Yes, first year was definitely hectic because there was jogging, NSS, PE and a tremendous load due to extra credits. In the first semester, I did not join any club but in the second semester, I joined Clarion and I am still a part of Clarion as a senior member. Then I started to realize that there is much more to NITR other than academics but frankly speaking if you are in electrical engineering, all the four years are going to be hectic.
MM: Tell us about your internship experience at the end of your sophomore year at IISc Bangalore.
AG: I applied for this internship in 2015 through the Indian academy of sciences. I was applying for the first time so I was clueless about what I am going to apply for. I had learnt image processing and a bit of machine learning so I applied in this field. I wrote a decent statement of purpose and got a letter of recommendation from the institute. The internship at IISc Bangalore was a turning point because it exposed me to those fields of research that I recently worked upon in the U.S. The internship period was of 8 weeks and it was a great experience working there.
MM: You bagged a prestigious internship in the U.S through the Viterbi-India program. Tell us more about the program.
AG: My internship in the U.S was a part of the Viterbi-India program. This is a program which is very less known to people of NITR. This program is conducted by Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and it is under the Government of India. In this program, 20 students are selected from India belonging to electrical and computer science background and they are given an opportunity to be a part of research programs in the University of Southern California (USC). Since I was interested in both electrical and computer science, I chose this internship.
MM: What was the criteria for selection through Viterbi-India program?
AG: First of all, you have to be in the third year of engineering. In India, there is no given criteria on the CGPA but it is expected that you have a fair CGPA to be competitive in such research programs. You need two letters of recommendation, from any two professors of your institute or any other research institute where you have worked before. You need to write an appealing statement of purpose because that is a very crucial part. You have to present yourself in such a way that people who are selecting can clearly understand what your research interest is, why you want to apply for the research program and what makes you more deserving than the others.
MM: Was it a paid internship? What was your area of research?
AG: Yes, it was a paid internship. I got $3000 for two months. The exact internship period is of eight weeks and they also sponsor the two-way travel fair. Some money was deducted for medical insurance and the rest was given to me at the beginning of the internship. My area of work was very diverse. It was a confluence of three fields i.e., Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Psychology.My topic of research was to investigate whether there is any mathematical correlation and psychological significance between the empathy produced by therapists in therapy patient due to vocal arousal.
MM: What is the process through which you applied for this internship?
AG: It is basically the same as you apply for any foreign internship. You need to have your basic background details. You need to have letters of recommendation and a good statement of purpose. You need to select three teachers under whom you want to work.You need a no objection certificate which can be provided by the institute. You need to select three teachers under whom you want to work. I had to do my background research in checking the faculty profiles from the university’s website and based upon that I selected three professors under whom I wanted to work based on their publications and research interests.
MM: What clubs are you a part of and how have they helped you evolve as a person?
AG:I am a part of only one club and that is Clarion.It has helped me a great deal by making me a more confident person pertaining to my speaking abilities in particular and presenting myself to a larger audience.I have met so many great people and Clarion is not only about debating,during the process of organizing and debating I got to explore a whole different side within myself which I thought never existed. I would like to emphasize that people at NITR should join clubs because it is very essential in shaping one’s personality.
MM: What do you think about the facilities of your department and what changes would you like to see in the near future?
AG: My branch is improvising and is trying to inculcate changes.It is a whole land of opportunities’, the best part being the interdisciplinary prospects that the branch offers apart from the tough and intimidating subjects.The lab facilities need a certain overhaul and modernization of some equipments is an absolute necessity. Background work is required and it will take time.A revised curriculum and revised lab processes will assist in discovering younger prodigies who shall be given the freedom to explore newer prospects rather than just maintaining long record books.
MM: What do you think are your notable achievements except for the ones you talked about?
AG: Good question!(grins).I don’t have many notable achievements, I have only won one prize in my entire life and that was in class 10th for an national level essay competition organized by Tata Birla group. I was crowned as the city level winner and I secured the first position in the eastern region.
MM: What are your hobbies? How do you have you share of fun staying at NITR?
AG:I read a couple of books and spend my time binging on YouTube .Participating in club activities, taking part in meetings, always offer solace. I don’t play a lot of sports because I assume I am not good at it. I spend a lot of time with my friends, go out for debate competitions and attend parties.
MM: What are your future plans?
AG: I intend to do masters, if not in India then maybe abroad. For the time being, I’m not very concerned about placements, I want to learn a bit more regarding what I am doing; so masters seems to be the right choice. After masters, I may take up a job for funding my PhD aspirations but my ultimate aim is to go back to the US, as the research opportunities are tremendously high and I want to contribute to the society by doing quality research.
MM: What message would you like to leave for our readers?
AG: I would suggest people not to follow the herd; it is completely okay if you wish to do something different. The only thing which you need is a passion and some amount of mental support, maybe from parents or friends or like-minded people, people who will support you in what you are doing, even though it is a bit off the track.You should continue to work for what you are passionate about and at the end of the day whether you get a job or do any research; it is the satisfaction that matters, you do not want to go home at night regretting your choices despite the fact that you are earning a lot of money and leading a good lifestyle. Think differently, learn to accept people for who they are and be open hearted in the process of doing; so you will end up making a lot of new connections.