Nxg

Miles to milestones

Deserving candidate: Arvind Pawan   | Photo Credit: Digital picture

Last year, Arvind Pawan spent many late nights at the Electronics lab in his college BITS-Pilani, working on a research paper based on Nanotechnology. He didn't know what started as a small dream project was going to take him half way across the world. When his research paper titled “Optimisation of optical properties of a multiple quantum well InGaN-GaN green LED using a novel high-low Indium composition in the active layergot” got selected for the prestigious 9th IEEE International Conference to be held in Italy, he didn't know that he was the only under-graduate student from across the world to have got the chance to present his paper there.

However, Arvind faced a major hurdle in achieving his dreams. He didn't have the money to arrange for the travel, besides the accommodation and food during his stay in Italy. Finding sponsorship is in fact a major issue that many well-deserved Indian students like Arvind face today.

Seniors' help

Arvind then approached his alumni to see if they could help him. The BITS Alumni Association, also known as BITSAA based in the Silicon Valley, California, then came up with a brilliant idea to turn Arvind's dreams to reality. What started as a one-time initiative has now become a full-fledged Travel Scholarship under the BITSAA Miles Program that can be provided to students for attending many reputed conferences and events across the world. A large number of the alumni from Indian colleges live in the US and being frequent flyers, they collect many points in the form of Miles, also known as ‘Frequent Flyer Miles'. These Miles can be transferred to other people as well. “The impetus to this program was another student selected for the ACM Conference who couldn't afford to go last year. Using this concept, we asked the alumni in our networks to donate their un-used miles to us, which may otherwise expire and be wasted,” says Dilip Adityan, BITSAA-SVC leader who carried out the entire process for Arvind.

Arvind who just returned from the conference says, “It was an amazing experience! I got to meet eminent academicians like Prof. Steven Goodnick, the Director of the Centre for Nanotech at the Arizona State University, and others. It was a rich experience, not just from an academic outlook but also from a cultural viewpoint. Now that I will become an alumnus myself this year, I hope to be able to help and guide other fellow students in realising their dreams and attending bigger conferences across the world.”

Divya, is a first year student of Masters in International Relations at Hult International Business School, London.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 4:39:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/Miles-to-milestones/article16816685.ece

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