Intern Diary: SPARK IIT ROORKEE
Smruti Sucharita Nath | Jan 27, 2020
IIT Roorkee invites applications for Institute-funded and project-funded SPARK fellowships for summer internships. The SPARK program was introduced in 2018, to nurture the talented undergraduate students, and it has resulted in successful publications of the works of interns in reputed journals and international conferences.
Eligibility: Students who have completed at least two semesters of an undergraduate degree from any institute in India, with a CGPA above 8 can apply.
Paid/Unpaid: It is a paid internship, 2500 INR per week
Time of Application: The portal for application is live for the academic year 2020. The last date for applying is 29th February 2020.
Application procedure: One needs to create an online account in the official SPARK portal, http://spark.iitr.ac.in/ where the following documents need to be uploaded:
- Grade card with signature
- A brief 1-2 page resume
- Statement of purpose within 500
After uploading the documents, students should give their preferences of five projects and the corresponding professors whom they would be interested in working under.
The Statement of purpose is integral to the chances of selection. It should contain your precise area of interest, and the skill sets you to possess it that area, your motivation, ideas, and plans of higher studies in their institute (if any).
Duration: The period of internship is preferably 8 weeks but not less than 6 weeks.
Accommodation: All the interns are provided in campus accommodation in the institute hostels with a fee of around 6000 INR, including bedding and mess charges for the entire period.
SONALI SAHOO (3RD YEAR, DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DESIGN)
I got to know about the program through my seniors and also through sites like Internshala. I was primarily interested in product design, and hence my preferences were based on product-based projects related to my branch. My research project there was Design of an inclusive educational tool kit under Professor Gaurav Raheja from the Department of Planning & Architecture. The research comprised a review of the state of the art products promoting inclusivity and desk research. Besides, a field trip to Anushruti, a school for the hearing impaired inside the IIT Roorkee campus, was organized. We spent a couple of days interacting with them, trying to identify their prime difficulty in learning.
The next phase involved devising a conceptual educational game that regular students, as well as students with visual-, hearing- and speech-impairment, could play together. We tried out various ideations and support structures, and finally fabricated the components of the game. There was a SPARK poster session conducted, in which each intern had to present their work objective, motivation, ideation, and future scope of their project.
The environment was very conducive for research, working hours were quite flexible, and the people there were friendly and hospitable. I shared space with two Ph.D. scholars who made sure the short transition was seamless. We were given a temporary ID card for accessing all the library books and journals. My supervisor motivated and encouraged me to work independently and think passionately for the more significant cause of inclusivity. Thus, I believe taking independent decisions and defending them was a challenge for me.
The department of Architecture is one of the most beautifully constructed buildings in IIT Roorkee, so it was a treat to the eyes. Besides, the equipment and lab facilities for the fabrication of the product are excellent. One of my personal favorite experiences was my solo explorations around the campus and the city that felt empowering. Also, there were many students from different institutes, so the interactions were pretty diverse and exciting.
EKTA GAMBHIR (3RD YEAR, DEPARTMENT OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING)
I came across this program through faculties and friends. The projects in the SPARK portal were primarily shortlisted branch-wise. I had a keen interest in CRE (theory subject of my 4th sem), and I shortlisted projects related to CRE. I browsed those professors heading the projects I had shortlisted and observed the current progress in that project and a general rating of their research papers to know more. My area of interest was Catalysis and reaction kinetics. I worked on the project of MHRD titled Conversion of biomass to value-added products as an alternative to chemical synthesis by petroleum. Our project is to use the crop residues as a primary ingredient and process it to manufacture chemicals that are currently synthesized from petroleum. The industry seems pretty interested in our project due to its future prospects and cheaper cost of manufacturing than the current process.
My Ph.D. guide and I have been working for a long time now, and I am promised authorship in the research paper we will soon be publishing. The mess food is the best part of IIT Roorkee. The canteens and other food outlets also have a wide variety of options, and all those come at meager prices.
One serious drawback of the selection process via the SPARK platform is biased towards IIT Roorkee students irrespective of their portfolio and CV. Most students don't get a chance to pursue their project after the two months and are entitled to proper recognition of their research work.
The professors prefer their students and third-year students over the second year from other colleges. In my case, I wasn't selected right away from the SPARK portal. I applied through the portal and simultaneously mailed other professors. One of those professors liked my CV and got me enrolled in the SPARK program later so that I could get benefits of stipend and such.
SAFALYA KUMAR PARIDA (4TH YEAR, DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIAL DESIGN)
My interest is more towards problem-solving through creative design thinking by coming up with novel product designs by incorporating better HCIs( human-computer interactions). After going through the projects in the portal, I shortlisted and applied to 2 projects and was lucky enough to crack one.
The working environment was perfect and flexible. I got the opportunity to experience a new dimension of it. My project was an ideal combination of both lab-based and field-based. I had to visit different schools of special children, empathize with the situation to get a better insight into the problems faced by those children, their teachers, and parents. We had to study the existing products being used by them, literature reviews, and market surveys, etc. My project was to come up with an Inclusive Educational Kit that can help to ease the lives of children by giving them a playful learning experience. Our primary focus was to bring inclusivity, i.e., how a visually impaired, hearing impaired, and normal child learn things together.
Towards the end of our internship, IITR conducted a poster presentation seminar where all the SPARK interns got a chance to explain their projects to different faculties and students. In my deliverables, I had to submit a proper 3D printed working prototype of the kit. Deliverables vary to what kind of projects were done by students and what exactly the professor wanted. During this time, we interacted with other SPARK interns from various institutions and departments and tried to understand their projects as well. During this whole journey, I got to know the people, place, and culture a lot better and got an excellent platform to exchange ideas.
The campus is lovely, the central attraction being the James Thomason building that serves as the main academic office. The Ganga bridge near IITR is an excellent place to spend time after having an exhausting day. The whole atmosphere gives a mesmerizing experience, starting from vibrant lights of the bridge to the soothing touch of flowing Gangas gave a mesmerizing experience.
Team Monday Morning wishes all the aspirants and the former interns a stroke of good luck for their planned endeavors.