The Society for Underwater Technology in the United States has selected a pair of graduate students – Sameera Rednam and Damilola Abe – studying Subsea Engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering for scholarship awards this year.
Only six students nationwide – three pairs from three different schools – were selected for scholarship honors. Sponsored by British Petroleum, Rednam and Abe were honored at a virtual awards ceremony on Sept. 16. Both were surprised by the honor.
“To be honest I think I was the last one to know,” Rednam said, laughing. “The email that came confirming my scholarship went straight to spam, so I did not even know until the last minute! But it was great, the confidence boost that this gives helps me to work harder and achieve more. I am really thankful to SUT-US for this.”
Abe said he was “super excited” about receiving the news.
“I woke up to the email and had to read it the second time to be sure that I read it correctly,” he said. “It was really great news, especially since at the time I needed it the most. I’m grateful to SUT-US.”
Abe had three faculty members to point to as significant influences on his success while at UH.
“Dr. Li Sun, Dr. Bennett Woods and Dr. Burak Ozturk,” he said. “I’d always run to them for advice, and they’re always there to provide direction. Dr. Woods mentored me for a competition earlier this year and also provided guidance when I wrote a paper on carbon capture technology. I’m so grateful to them all.”
When told she could list as many or as few people as she wanted, Rednam said, “I'll be the person listing 20, because a lot of people really influenced and motivated me to always become a better version of me!”
“My dad, mom and my sister have been a solid support the entire time, through a lot of strange things actually,” she said. “My family in Houston, my aunt Chandrakala Rednam and my uncle Dr. KrishnaRao Rednam, they were like pillars to me when I made the difficult decision to shift from India to pursue my higher education here.”
She added, “I'd like to specifically mention my graduate professors in UH Subsea Engineering, specifically Dr. Li Sun, and some of my mentors who helped me get started and navigate. Dev Rathore was kind enough to take me into his team during SUT competition and continuously guide me. Abhishek Sharma became a great friend and someone who I turn to when I need any help. There are many others, but at the end of the day, all I have to say is that I am really thankful to all the people who tolerated me!”
As far as future plans go, Rednam said she hasn't ruled out pursuing a doctorate degree, but she knows she wants to acquire some field and industry experience as well.
“I enjoy learning new things, so maybe I'll get a Ph.D., but I also want to work in an offshore field. To be honest I am really afraid of the sea and deep water, but that's how my interest in all things Subsea began. I'm not always a person with a detailed plan, but if all goes well a doctorate or working offshore will be next.”
Abe said becoming a subsea engineer has been his goal for the past three years.
“I’m glad that I’m achieving my dream,” he said. “I appreciate my mom and my family, for always encouraging me not to give up. I look forward to developing innovative and cost effective carbon capture technology, to reduce the carbon footprint in the industry and make strides in offshore renewable technology. I hope to work for a company that gives me these opportunities.”