Inspiring Alumnus

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    I read the following piece in yesterday’s TOI. I think the student it talks about really fits to be an inspiring alumnus

    SURBHI BHATIA wrote:
    YAMA Dixit, a student of chemistry (honours) from Delhi University�s Hansraj College, could serve as an inspiration for all those studying or planning to study science. After completing class XII from Lucknow, Dixit decided to pursue chemistry from Delhi University. It was during her graduation days that she enjoyed studying chemistry reactions and their effect on the environment.
    Dixit decided to pursue a Master�s in environmental science from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). �I became aware about applications of chemistry while doing my Master�s. Then I decided to appear for the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) exam in earth science. There are many scholarships for science students. The government offers Shyama Prasad Mukherjee fellowships to JRF toppers in subjects like chemistry, mathematics, life sciences and earth sciences. Those selected after two rounds of interview, get a monthly stipend of Rs 25,000,� she says. Dixit cleared the first round but did not get the scholarship. She started looking for opportunities in foreign countries and got through both Oxford and Cambridge. Finally, she decided to pursue a PhD in earth sciences from Cambridge.
    �I was looking for funding options when I got to know about Nehru Trust that offers scholarships to Indian students for studying at the Cambridge University. This year, the trust collaborated with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and I got the Gates scholarship to study in Cambridge,� she says. This is a fully funded scholarship which will cover her tuition, food, lodging and travel cost.
    As to what helped her get the scholarship, she says, �The Gates foundation is looking for people who along with academics have participated in a social cause. I was active during my college days in organising climate awareness camps and teaching underprivileged students. This gave me an extra edge over others,� she adds.
    Dixit�s PhD will focus on reconstructing a model for climate change in the Indus Valley. Using drill cores from a dried up lake in NW India, she will seek to reconstruct the local palaeoclimate history and rainfall patterns of the region occupied by the Harappan civilisation of 2500-1600 BC. The sediment which is unearthed will be checked for elemental and isotopic composition and dated by radiocarbon. Yama claims her study will provide the first record of palaeoclimate data in NW India for the Holocene period.
    She adds: �Our society is increasingly interested in the consequences of climate and environmental change, as well as the role humans have played in these changes. Human civilisations throughout history have affected the environment through deforestation, agriculture, urbanisation and industrialisation. My research will help us draft management plans to avoid a similar catastrophic climax that befell the Harappan civilisation.

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