The importance of attending subject-specific workshops or conferences

I have already mentioned the importance of national and international symposiums and seminars that bring people from a different background that share similar objectives and challenges in solving the common problems.

Importance of Workshops, Symposiums and networking events in Graduate Student Life?

Let us focus on the importance of subject-specific or small scale workshops which brings in a number of people working on a rising or new subject in an interdisciplinary approach.  At the beginning of something new, it always starts with a small scale workshop which a student can only identify if he is consistent and up to date in terms of information and activities happening both online and offline about the subject area.

Attending small workshops or subject-oriented programs defines your maturity level to understand the subject in detail. This is one of the major shift that can happen in your student life either academic or non-academic. I always bring a small note about the Internet which has created a huge change in every single individual life either in the commerce sector, fitness sector and it is already bringing a big change in the student or independent academic researcher life.

Through small scale workshops, a lot of conversations and ideas can happen around the meetings. The primary aim of the small workshops or subject-oriented workshop is to derive the maximum benefit from the debate and discussions on the subject to find the directed solutions and new insights. The workshop theme usually solves the same problem in different geographical communities.

My supervisor in Spain was quite an active and smooth operative person who helped me out in all the paperwork while I was completing my administrative work in Portugal to get the work permit of Spain. In the meantime, she also created a space for me in an International Workshop in Croatia even before I got officially enrolled in the program. This workshop was the part of the massive program related to European rivers and water-related issues which helped me a lot to prepare myself mentally.

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Pic- DNAqua-Net, EU Cost Action

I arrived in Croatia in the month of November, and it was freezing out there. I had the brief idea about workshop theme and I was incredibly happy and overwhelmed because of the countries and new experiences.

Well,

Most of us are aware that we are living in a world of supercomputers and artificial intelligence, but I was not conscious about it until I attended the workshop about metabarcoding and diatoms. It was the moment I realized that artificial intelligence and computers are indeed hitting all the subjects equally. Moreover, this workshop introduced me to questions like the use of algorithms and machine learning to study biological data and biodiversity of microbes. Supercomputers, biological barcodes, and algorithms are the biggest biological shift we will ever live in the society. It has become practical and efficient to change the fundamentals of everything in the ecosystem. The combined technology of barcoding and supercomputers can tag every single microbe and living life on the planet earth. But for the moment, this program was focused on just DIATOMS and RIVER ECOLOGY.

Many researchers and Ph.D. students came across all Europe who were presenting their progress in the use of powerful computers and algorithms to treat biological data. It was not new, but the speed of growth in this field was astonishing because of fast development in computer processing power.   It is not so simple, but various researchers have identified the problems and the plausible computerized solutions which are way cheaper and faster than traditional methods to study the ecology of rivers.

It is not that these computers will replace all the bioscience research but can speed up the specific process such as classification of species or genes using defined algorithms.

Now here is when I learned a valuable lesson, I noticed that there were nearly 10 Ph.D. students are trying to mimic the use of a microscope. Further, when I explored this subject genuinely made me realized it could make the freelance Research possible with an economic upside for Ph.D. researchers especially that who enjoy algorithms and tech-based work. It will be beneficial to the biology students to learn or expose themselves to algorithms and a coding language.

In the workshop, there were people from the laboratory in France where I had to visit for the training and understand the new technologies that they have been implementing in studying the ecology of rivers. So, my supervisor introduced me to all of them.

Within the span of 2 days of this workshop, there was a macro change in my perspective and strategy towards science and life. Taking a step, attending a small scale workshop can load with information which indeed takes some time to out the knowledge in use in real time will be a serious help. I think the small scale workshops have the power to fill up the missing information and understand the evolution of the subject from others perspective as well. And, I have never been so grateful after meeting incredible researchers and students around the world.

Workshops are the best annual meetings designed to facilitate the interaction between supervisors and students to enable future collaborations between different groups in the same sector. It will give the strong foundation that has huge upside at all levels.

 

 

How To Win Scholarships? Choosing, Documenting and Observing your Internship details.

Utilizing your time to observe the seniors students planning their experiments or workflow of the day will give you deep insights about real work life which is completely different from what you learn in your University.  This is the best strategy to learn and easily integrate into the laboratory or any new workplace. Different researchers have different abilities and attitude of working. I am sure that most of the people have read the books which share knowledge of achieving something in a short period and easily. The real fact is when you are trying to get something top-notch, you are trying to make things easy for others but not for yourself. And you will only enjoy this if you are passionate about the process of creating your project from scratch.

Another important thing that you can do to maximize the output from your internships is to document every detail of your internships in the form of pictures, words or videos. It can also be an initiation of your blog which is indeed an upside in today`s digital world. Having a professional and personal blog will increase your visibility in the market as compared to others who do not have a blog. It takes time for the people who are not sure about their likes to find the niche of their blogging.  As an intern, all this time that you have invested will take you to the right path and people.

Searching and choosing internships could be the hot topics among undergraduate. I was taking out the maximum amount of time to apply and search for the opportunities that will fall perfectly with my interests. Internships are the window where you can always count to get a different experience if you are willing to take a step in an unknown direction.

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I was asked a lot about how to choose or apply for internships. It is a situation where you must put a lot of time, thought and own strategy for your goals.  A perfect combination of different internships can increase chances of winning competitive scholarships and fellowships. Different internships and different places will always get you the new tasks and challenges that defines as a productive and diverse candidate for the position. This theme of choosing different internships can help you prepare a comprehensive motivation or cover letter which is the most critical part of your application.

Unfortunately, you might or might not have the luxury to choose for internships if you are studying in a country with fewer opportunities for student jobs. But where do you find and narrow down your research to the best option?

Referring to this situation, if you have a confusing picture about your goals or the organization that matches your career path, it will be better to segregate the choice of your internships in different sectors such as marketing, health, and fitness, communication or research. I also had a bit fuzzy picture of my goals, so I worked in different laboratories and volunteered in different Non-profit organizations.

So, it is essential to segregate and determine the percentage of your different interests so that you can plan your internships accordingly.

I will make things clearer by sharing my internship experiences.

During my second year, I had an official eight weeks summer internship in my course structure, which I think was the beginning of the most important phase in my undergraduate school. I was fortunate enough to strike the summer fellowship program by Indian Academy of Sciences to work in the top-notch laboratory of India. Ecstatic to be accepted in one of the best laboratories of India for which I moved to Mysore, Karnataka in May 2013. I did not have a detailed idea about my work responsibilities, but I knew that the team was working widely in lipid metabolism and the nutritional value of various food crops. The lab was working in different subprojects dealing with increasing the healthy oil content of seeds which are edible and can be used for multiple industrial and pharmaceutical purpose.

Again, I was assigned a Ph.D. student to teach me the work and lab rules. I invested quality time in my relationships with lab members or outside the lab. This way I was able to learn from different researchers and work on my communication and social behavior.

I learned a whole new set of things along with the working culture of Ph.D. and research students. Most students think that it is their scores that holds the most important in career either academics or non-academics. This could hold true for some students but not for all.

Your Research Experience section will generate more output and more questions that keep your moving and seeking. Remember that your time for internships is limited with the immense potential outcome; therefore, you should use this excellent chance with the right attention. You must be attentive to the things you don’t know either in the laboratory or administration.

Doing so, you will be able to eliminate the things or subjects that you don’t want to pursue further. Finally, try to go deeper and utilize digital tools to express your ideas in different ways. The easiest way to start is to create a blog of your interest which can be done at no cost.

 

 

How to Win Scholarships? Interact consistently at your Internship place. Go say Hello !!

This post is in continuation of —How To Win Scholarships? What do you think about Internships?

I am a big fan of learning from experiences and I never miss a chance to interact with the person who has smooth public skills and loves to share his knowledge. I got this chance of working under the supervision of a senior Ph.D. student who is presently working as a Researcher in Top-Notch Hospital in New York. He was always there to mentor me in that summer internship Thanks to his kind nature and calm attitude whose guidance was a big help in every step from the undergraduate school to become a calm and patient researcher until getting into the Ph.D. position. This first experience of internship taught me various things where an undergraduate student should focus and maximize their potential.

The internship is also the best time to explore a different culture and learn another set of values that will indeed help you to live better in a globalized economy. Having the patience to learn and adapt to the new place helps the person to develop integrity and become emotionally stable.  Familiarising to new cultures and places is something that you cannot learn in school or a book. It only comes through real-life experiences. Don`t be shy in speaking a new language or trying something new in culture.

Most of the scholarship programs or jobs in today’s global world consider a person who has some exposure to working in a multicultural team. It is regarded as a bonus point.

Unfortunately,

Most of the students take this internship period as vacation time to take their time off from their regular college routine to go into another non-productive method. In your graduate curriculum, you might have to do at least two internships and one major dissertation. Even if it’s not the part of your academics, you will have the time to conduct these internships by yourself.

But usually, summers knock in your life with lots of sleep, food, and dreaming of traveling. You might be tired of your university routine.

If you enjoy traveling and food figure out your internship plan long before you have lost the opportunities and deadlines. Internships are the most rewarding time even if you have a million dollar family business. Interns can use this open window to discover the potential of their ideas in the real world. It is the chance to flourish your life tools such as communication, marketing, research, and development.

Being a Biotechnologist, I was trying to work in different areas of biology and technology considering the rapid growth in the use of algorithms and big data in biology domain. I was consistently participating in online symposiums and courses. And I am still pursuing the online courses where I can enhance my new skill set. These online courses are likely to overlap with usable tools and resources to strengthen your comprehensive profile.

There could be two kinds of feelings in this situation, either you are completely ignorant about your internships, or you are up for the new challenge. Choosing later will help you explore your natural talents or passion which can go untouched due to lack of new experiences. Different experience and internships can help to classify your interests greatly. Although everyone has there unique ways to find there strengths and talent, the most effective way is to experience things in your undergraduate school is INTERNSHIP.  Based on your real and diverse internship experiences that can give the in-depth recognization of your likes and dislikes.

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The process of reaching a new spot in your career requires patience and consistent drive. If you are finding this at your University, then exams and assignments do not answer all your questions. But, you can find your answers in your experiences and internships.

It is better not to think of any monetary gains from your internships or if you are going to get any quick benefits that will advance your career path. Nothing happens in 6 or 8 weeks. This is the opportunity to use your intelligence and invest your time to know more people and new things. Internships are the free options where you can test and try different areas of work, interact with people that you have never met and you might never meet. So interact as if it’s your last time you are meeting them. Maximize your learning output through these interactions.

Take Away- Nothing physical can come in 6-8 weeks but mountain load of information and learnings can come just by interacting with people with complete attention. 

Cheers

😀

 

How to Win Scholarships? Attend Conferences 1

Conferences are one of the best platforms to represent and express your ideas to a diverse community. In my last post, I shared the importance of sharing your ideas within your small group, friends or community where you are regularly involved in certain activities as it builds your communication and networking skills significantly. Once you have learned to share your ideas, at a certain point during work or research in University, it is beneficial to present the data in a conference or seminar where you meet like-minded researchers and students with whom you can collaborate or learn different aspects of the project. And there are ample opportunities at national and international level for students to present their work either academic, industrial or non-academic. Participation in these multidisciplinary events improves your public speaking and networking skills. Today more than ever, industries and investors are attending these events mostly who are interested in young people vision with excellent communication skills. Communicating and expressing your ideas well will set you apart in every stage.

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I found one such International conference in Energy and Environment which was the next stepping stone towards in-depth research, improvising speaking and networking skills. In addition to that participating in events represents a good accomplishment and achievement in your CV.   My supervisor was enthusiastic about the conference and asked me to prepare the first draft of the paper.  I was keen to learn two new things; scientific writing and speaking in front of eminent scientists and researchers. Of course, more efforts will be required for this challenge, and at the end of the day, it ensures your satisfaction with research. But you will have to prepare your mind for all the reactions and recommendation that you will receive at the conference. Either positive or negative.

Many believe that undergraduate school is the end and expects everything to go smoothly within the constructed structure of the college. There is limited evidence stating that everything is happy to go lucky after undergraduate years. Only your response or reactions towards difficult situations define your career path.

It might be a little tricky to manage all these activities together which require routine and repetitive actions. It is your responsibility to take these repetitive actions consciously. When the actions are unconscious and uncreative, then the output of work downgrade slowly and ultimately die. It will become the same as the giving exams and completing assignments which is dull and boring after a small period. If you are considering a job or a review with a vision and finishing it with full conscious, it will yield into something productive. But if you are mugging or copying the assignment, then it won`t result in something meaningful.

Consider your project as a mission where every small act is a ritual. The project is productive and meaningful if one engages in the new learning consciously and wholeheartedly. It is wise to know that the failure rate of starting something independently is quite high and happen often. If you don`t believe this, then take any case study of successful people in any field.

I realized this when I had to prepare the manuscript for my conference presentation where I had no escape. The thought of escaping the project will take away the responsibility along with your progress. The student working in an independent project is not solely linked with personal development but also advanced social development.  This demonstrates a sense of responsibility and leadership that directs you towards a better path.

Later, while trying to accomplish the draft manuscript for the conference, I found myself struggling and losing patience. But after rewriting the draft many times and discussing it with my supervisor, an acceptable paper was prepared to be sent.

I was happy because it gave a sense of satisfaction as finally, my efforts were giving some results after one year. I was excited to present my experiments to the scientific community which could bring value to the science and enhances my personal experience of public speaking. The conference was being organized in Tiruvannamalai which have extreme cultural and religious significance in India.

Stay tuned for the next blog where I will share the detailed experience of my FIRST CONFERENCE 

 

How to Win Scholarships? Consistent Interaction with scientists, investors or leaders.

In my last blog, I shared the importance of networking in University and high school to build your diverse networks that have Huge impact in your profile to Win INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS.

Today, I am going to share one of the important networks that I made in my University time which has helped me in every step of the journey to winning International Scholarships.

Here is the link

https://talkwithnik.com/2019/05/09/how-to-win-scholarships-work-on-your-networking/

Continuing the Journey after the director of the department introduced me to one of the Young Scientist working in the area of Algae Biotechnology.

When I first met the scientist, I didn’t have any clear idea about what I am going to say. So, I explained to her my broad interests and shared the past research projects that I had done in High school. She said that her funding is for a specific project but, I will get to learn everything new. Getting a chance to be a part authentic laboratory is an excellent opportunity. I got introduced to various projects about industrial applications of algae which have now booming industry.  I was ecstatic. My supervisor introduced me to a Ph.D. student who was my instructor in the laboratory. It was just six months past of my 1st year of undergraduate school, and I have already landed an excellent place to work.

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Some of you might call it luck, but It was the constant communication with seniors, professors, and director of the department that led me to this lab. Reaching out all the possible options will increase your overall value and chances of being a part of something bigger than you, and as a result, you will receive far more diverse knowledge than other students. To extract the maximum juice from your university life, you need to acquire more non-cognitive skills in addition to cognitive skills.

The way you interact with all the team members in the laboratory is the way your learning ability and career curve will progress. Since the beginning, I had great relationships with all the members and Ph.D. student who was my guide in the laboratory. She gave me the related reading material to know about the become project in detail. Though I knew that reading hardcore scientific articles will be difficult at that time, but I continued the process to know the right way to develop my scientific reading and writing skills. It was my responsibility to take the personal initiatives by going through various online blogs and magazines which are the best source of interdisciplinary information in any subject which was indeed useful to know more about the renewable energy market and research. In the next few weeks, I started learning new techniques like to grow algae and make biofuels from them. Taking a course which is opposite to regular customs of the university such as exams and assignments will expose you to brilliant ideas and inspire you to think differently.

Ph.D. and other senior students are aware of their responsibilities and daily tasks.  It is an official program where faculty, department and other team members regularly interact to keep track of every aspect of an individual project. The things will be different for an undergraduate student but if the student makes the excellent use of the opportunity both in lab and bench can turn out to be the most fulfilling experience. Students who work in their undergraduate school either scientific or non-scientific by learning new workflows, tools, processing data and formulating further questions.

For much of your school and university life, you are trained to be a right part of the system which is essential for law and order of the society. But if you want to think beyond this single and defined strategy. One must adapt to the change with technology and market to attain a more diverse experience. Undergraduate school is the best time to know if you like the idea of research or if it meets the requirement of your career curve. Getting into the laboratory or even in regular contact with one supervisor working on a secondary research project gives you a broader idea of the scientific world. The working experience in a laboratory or field will teach you additional vital skills that can be incorporated easily in other domains of work such as time and project management. A biologist will experiment either in a laboratory or environment whereas a business student can research the specific market or clients.

One should adapt to use bold strategies in undergraduate school as it expands the profile in many ways which shows the potential of the student. Most of the students have assumed that securing good marks will make them achieve the fulfilling experience or dream project which is the tragic way. Instead, they should expand there horizon by learning from the experience of your supervisors or seniors. One way to do this is to communicate frequently with your supervisor and next immediate senior about your doubts and ideas through email, WhatsApp or any other medium which is acceptable by both parties. Have the presence of mind while communicating with your colleagues. What makes your undergraduate successful is not the efficient completion of monotonous college routine which million other students are doing around the world. But it is the diversity and richness of your experiences that make you unique.

Working with a collaborative mindset increases the efficiency of research in the workplace; therefore, sharing ideas with colleagues and supervisor will bring out the maximum output for the team. It is critical for personal and group success in science or any other venture as it increases both individual and group participation. Furthermore, with positive guidance from your supervisor and team members can strengthen your ideas. It is important to coordinate your ideas between two or more people to achieve the final purpose.

Next blog will be focused on Ideas and expressing your ideas without fear…

Stay tuned 😉

How to Win Scholarships? Work on your Networking

Working on your networks features a lot of aspects and the first thing that will pop up in your mind will be – How do we get started? To accomplish something by networking, you need to spend a good number of hours in the right direction.  Learning how to make effective networks in your college experience is the first crucial step to open the new doors of learning and professional progress.

In 2011, In the first year of my undergraduate school, I was interested in scientific research and creating an independent project in addition to the coursework. I had zero interest in the course-work, but I cannot escape it either.  So, I thought that getting a hand on laboratory experience will be the most effective way to open the new path of learning

I always had the motivation of working in a lab back in high school where you can see different life process happening live. This gave me the idea that learning and practicing science are two different things.

But you can at least invest:- 10 Hours/Month for Networking via Email, facebook groups, LinkedIn, Researchgate, conferences and so on.

networking

Fixing hours and permanent schedule works for some and does not work for some. Keep your time management flexible according to your goals and objectives. But it is important to define your short- term goals precisely. Investing extra hours of networking will indeed require some time management and schedule planning in advance. Most students underestimate or misunderstand the meaning and importance of networking.

With the formula of networking and driven energy in my mind, I started my search of the laboratory in my University by interacting with senior students and researchers. There were hardly any other students either master or undergraduate who was participating as a volunteer researcher. But my experience in high school research projects had put enough enthusiasm to take immediate actions to enhance my communication and learning abilities. The networking has to begin with certain common direction and which could also fit within the framework of your college lifestyle.

I adopted a very simple strategy.

I approached many researchers with a rough project idea of using “Essential oils as Herbicides”. But I didn`t get any positive response for the next six months from anyone. I was not aware of the mistakes I was making at that time. I then went to known seniors for suggestions or if they have worked in any laboratory. And I also for opportunities in other departments as well. Spending time to find useful connections around the department accidentally introduced me to the Director of Parasitology department who happily attended me who was quite an exciting person. He was about to retire now, but in over an hour he gave me a lot of useful information. He also shared the story of her granddaughter who was pursuing her graduate school somewhere in the United States of America. He said and focused on a point that the relationship between supervisor and student is the drive change for all the ideas. It was a critical conversation for me as it made me realized the importance of your relationship with colleagues and supervisor in every step. Communicating with different researchers enrich your experiences and add more strength to your undergraduate school other than exams and assignments.

Moving on

I kept reaching different researchers in my department which has a maximum number of funded projects at that time.  Few gave me the contact details of other seniors who have worked in a laboratory as a volunteer, and another suggested me to contact the director of the department.

With all the hopes, I went straight to the director office and explained my situation in the reception and fortunately, I got the meeting with the director at the same time. I presented him as precise and clear I could tell as per my understanding, and he was completely attentive to what I was saying. I requested him that I want to work in a laboratory. And without wasting a minute,  he connected me with one of the scientists who had recently received funding from the Department of science and technology to work in the project of algae biorefinery to produce biofuels.

Do you want to know what happens next? Stay tuned 😉

Digital- Freelance Researchers?

Researchers and PhD students should take the benefit of new emerging digital market which is also inclined with commercial perks at independent level. You have something more to take and play individually without being in the system.

Its not even about discussion anymore “if the digital education is future” because it has already become a established industry which is going to become giant or it will be  EVERYTHING in  future. Even the traditional education industry is moving slowly to provide there education services on digital platforms like COURSERA and it will be wise enough for all the professors and young aspiring researchers to shift to digital platforms to become a freelance researcher and consultant to private institutes and laboratories. It will open the doors for every single stakeholder to collaborate and do something more with people all around the world as it does not require any real presence which saves a lot of resources and need of infrastructure for everyone.

Digital PhD students can also raise funding for there ideas and projects through donors, investors and even  citizens you are genuinely interested in that project. Not just investment, digital presence can also help you to collaborate with other PhD students conveniently- Digital Researchers and there presence in internet is going to be a one big Digital Research Institute.

Did you notice that there is constant rise in various start ups in different domains and aspects of biotechnology such as bioenergy, compounds and diseases. All these start up provide different services and they would appreciate the digital researcher input in collaborating and creating useful research based content for these start ups.

Digital world has changed the concept of work and management literally in all sectors. The change in various technologies in the area of biology that produces a large amount of data to be treated using coding platforms (R or Python) opens the new field for biologist to collaborate with coding people.

 

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What are the perks of being a Digital Researcher?

  1. You can work from anywhere around the world and conduct your own research, initially you will have to start with the limited resources you have i.e, Internet and millions of gigabyte of data available in google but gradually you can generate  grants.  PhD students need to understand there importance and need of joining the digital world and start managing the content in the internet that is available for free.
  2. You can design your class as you want- You have complete freedom to present and edit your content the way you want. There is no time restriction or timeline. Once you have created (which can be edited anytime), it is created for forever. You don`t have to spend energy to create and present the same data repeatedly.
  3. You can have million students- Yes, its true that you can teach more than million and even billion students at a time through digital platforms.  You will never be able to achieve this milestone, by being a professor in a University or Institute.

 

Traditional Education will not die just like RADIO and TELEVISION but DIGTAL EDUCATION will rise and outshine the traditional education system.

Its the Future