Integrating Diligence For Success: Gauree Wathodkar
Jan 08, 2018 | Yash Shah
Gauree Wathodkar, a final year student of the integrated MSc course in the Department of Mathematics recently bagged an opportunity to participate in the prestigious training camp organized by the National Board of Higher Mathematics (NBHM)- “Nurture 2017” at Central University of Tamil Nadu, Thiruvarur. She, being highly passionate about mathematics has also attended Summer Research Fellowship Programs and the Mini Mathematics Training and Talent Search (MTTS) camp totalling to seven internships. Team MM got a chance to interact with her and to get to know the details of her selection and experiences in the camps.
Monday Morning: How was your childhood? What inclined you towards Mathematics?
Gauree Wathodkar: I was always a math and science enthusiast, I always wanted to get into the research arena as by the time I was in my class 8th I was awarded the NTSE scholarship and I had decided to become a scientist. I had always been a curious child, my doubts related to science studies were always solved by my father, which in a way made my concepts clearer and made me interested in basic sciences.
MM: How did you choose NITR? What made you select maths as your career out of the three available basic sciences courses?
GW: At the time when I was seeking admissions, in 2013, after class 12, only two of the NITs were offering an integrated course in mathematics, one being NITR and the other was NIT Agartala. The rankings of NITR, as well as the repute of faculty members, was quite impressive which attracted me to take admission here.
Mathematicians are artists, according to me. When one has to research in mathematics, he/she has to think out-of-the-box. The beauty lies in the fact that just the change of one parameter in any theorem changes everything else, that is why it is very much challenging as well as interesting to construct a new theorem in maths, but once done it gives immense satisfaction. Also, before coming to NIT, I had published a research paper.
MM: What are your particular interests in the field of mathematics?
GW: I love the topics of analysis and algebra. Mostly, I like everything concerning maths and any new developments in the subject makes a huge difference in sciences, like currently “Module Theory” is a higher level topic which I studied in the NBHM- Nurture Camp. This theory generalizes theory of vector spaces and the related linear algebraic concepts.
MM: What is NBHM and how did you come to know about it?
GW: NBHM, the National Board of Higher Mathematics is an organization intended to foster developments in higher mathematics. It is a board of members consisting of experienced mathematicians. NBHM provides funding to carry out research work, awards scholarships to meritorious MSc and PhD students and round the year it conducts various workshops and training programs like Nurture Camp, Maths Training and Talent Search (MTTS) and Training Program in Mathematics (TPM) across the country in which students pursuing maths can participate and gain much.
Prof Suvendu Ranjan Pattnaik motivated us to attend such camps at a very early stage. He also made us understand that such internships and camps are required for our growth as a research student.
MM: What is the selection procedure for Nurture Camp?
GW: The camp is organized twice every year, in summer as well as in December. For December, the Google forms are out on the website:http://nurture1729.esy.es/ in the month of October. For summer, the forms are out by February. The form has to be filled with all the essential details and submitted with a signature. A recommendation letter from any of the department’s faculty member is also a requirement, but it is to be submitted by the concerned professor by his email id to the NBHM selection committee. The results are declared by the end of November month.
Students with a decent CGPA are given priority, but those with a previous work experience and not a high CGPA also get selected as was in my case. A five percent selection quota is kept for other branch students who are interested in mathematics and have relevant work experience.
MM: Can a second-year student apply for the camps?
GW: Yes, a second-year student of the mathematics department can apply and I also recommend them to apply for this as fresh minds are more preferred for such camps. There are three levels of MTTS and TPM: Level 0, Level 1, Level 2, and in this level 0 is especially for the second year students. Nurture also has two levels: UG and PG levels.
MM: How did you apply for this internship? Was it a paid internship?
GW: Prof KC Pati, HoD, Dept of Maths provided me with the recommendation letter to apply for the UG level camp. Then for PG level, I was selected on the basis of my performance at the UG level. My project guide Prof. Jugal Mohapatra encouraged me to do an internship in the final year, as it would contribute to my studies in some way or the other.
No stipend was provided for the 3-week internship tenure but the travel fare and the food and accommodation expenses were reimbursed by NBHM.
MM: What is the speciality of these camps?
GW: At Nurture, every day we used to have four lectures by eminent mathematicians from various top mathematical institutes of India like IITs, IISc, IIST, TIFR, HRI, IMSc, CUTN, NISER and IISERs. The first three lectures were focused towards making the students understand the concepts of the maths that they have studied so far, in a more convincing manner. No laptops, smartphones or books are allowed in the camp, just a pen and a paper are allowed because the aim of the camp is to make the participants think and learn in a way that they produce every theorem or proof by their own. The fourth lecture was a discussion session in which all the students discussed their doubts, and their thoughts related to what was studied on that particular day. These discussion sessions are the best as you get to interact with like-minded students and know about their ideas and approaches to problem-solving.
MM: What was the contribution of the department to your success?
GW: The professors of the department are highly helpful and cooperative. Their teachings are very meticulous. In the discussion rounds of Nurture Camp, when I was able to answer questions of other students correctly and precisely, I felt proud about my basic concepts being so clear and the credit for this goes to the department.
Also, learning under well-known mathematicians of the country like Prof KB Sinha (JNCASR, Bengaluru), Prof IBS Passi (IISER Mohali) and Prof B. Ramakrishnan (HRI, Allahabad) as a summer intern would never be possible if I would not have enough confidence in basic concepts.
MM: What are your hobbies and interests other than mathematics?
GW: I like poetry and photography. I was a part of the Third Eye club, until my third year.
MM: What are your future plans?
GW: I want to pursue PhD in Mathematics, mostly in the field of Abstract Algebra or Analysis.