Srikar, from the Chemical Engineering department of AC Tech., is an offbeat learner who is doing his research intern under Prof. Abhijit Deshpande and Prof. Susy Varghese at IIT Madras, on Fractal Analysis of the spectroscopic study of natural adhesives.
Interviewer: Sribooshan (GT)
GT: When according to you, is the best time to start applying for internships?
Srikar: It depends on the person. Some people would have already figured out what they are going to do after UG. But some haven’t. Personally, I wish to study M.S., PhD in the US. The universities there look into the research experience of the candidate. Eventually, for people like me, research internships are very much essential in helping build their career.
GT: Which type of internship would you prefer (generally) and why?
Srikar: The colleges here insist on just doing industrial internships but I feel it’s our devoir to make them understand the need and value of research interns which will benefit us much more than the former. And to make it clear, I wouldn’t disapprove doing industry-based internships; rather I’d say that our learning curve gets enhanced better by research works. Also, many industries nowadays don’t really give considerable attention to the students which certainly will affect the learning experience during the period.
GT: Is NTAT helpful in getting internships?
Srikar: I don’t know much about NTAT. Yet, I’m certain that applying for research internships is as simple as ABC. All you need to do is to find a really good professor undertaking research activities in an appreciable field and write to him/her that you are interested to do research work in their field. Obviously, they will show some interest in you. Irrespective of grades and GPAs, anyone can apply for a research intern, provided he/she is interested.
GT: Tell us something about your research experience.
Srikar: Research is something that’s completely new. We’ll be given a lot of research papers and only a little its content can be comprehended easily. We have to refer to as many sources as possible. Sometimes we may not get the required help. During times like those, we must learn to be independent.
GT: Did you ever feel that if you had perhaps studied a few concepts earlier, the research would have been easier?
Srikar: No. Whatever that I confronted were completely new. Expect the unexpected is what I say.
GT: Have you ever lost interest or hope during the research process? If yes, then how did you tackle it?
Srikar: Many, many times. A good connection with your professor will help you a long way. Approach him and express yourself that you are having a hard time understanding the topics. He could show you a path to trace. Even then if you don’t get a solution, sit and think of ways and steps through which you arrived at that point. Introspection is the best key at the moment.
GT: Would you recommend the institute where you are doing your research intern to others?
Srikar: It depends on the field. And, IIT Madras is a prestigious institution. It has highly equipped laboratories and a wide scope for research. I would recommend it for sure. Still, IISc in Bangalore is also a very good option.
GT: What difference(s) do you find between the campuses of ACT and IITM?
Srikar: Firstly, the labs are a way much research-oriented in IITM. People there say that ACT is apparently very good. I would like to add this point too; ACT and CEG are treated as two different entities. They have a gap between them. In IITM, it’s easy to get permission to work in an electrical while belonging to the Chemical Department. But here, it’s not as easy.
GT: What do you think about the series “Intern Diaries” by The Guindy Times?
Srikar: It’s certainly a good way of letting the juniors know about the imminent years, as they will have to do a lot of internships. Talking to your seniors is the most important in college life. This is a good initiative by the Guindy Times for the juniors to plan the future.
GT: Thank you so much for the interview. It was a great pleasure for us.
Srikar: Thanks. I had a great time.
The Guindy Times thanks Srikar for spending his time for the interview. We wish him all the best for his future endeavours and career.