A doctoral student in the William A. Brookshire Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the Cullen College of Engineering has been selected for a prestigious workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Garima Singh said she first learned of the Rising Stars in Chemical Engineering workshop after receiving emails from Department Chairman Triantafillos J. (Lakis) Mountziaris and her advisor, Professor Michael Nikolaou. The two-day workshop, which takes place on Sept. 29 and 30 this year, brings together top female doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers that are about one year away from submitting applications for faculty openings.
The program includes research presentations, panel discussions with MIT faculty, communications workshops and networking events with faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers currently at MIT.
“I applied this year again and was selected. It's an honor as well as privilege to be selected to this competitive program,” Singh said. “I am excited to meet the fellow recipients and esteemed faculty at MIT. This workshop is definitely going be helpful in preparation for pursuing a career in academia and expand my network.”
Singh earned her Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, in Varanasi. After two years as a shift engineer and a year as a process engineer at Reliance Industries in Gujarat, she joined UH as a doctoral student with Nikolaou in August 2018.
Singh noted that she had always planned to pursue her doctorate, but she wanted real-world experience in industry first. A competitive Ph.D. stipend helped to lure her to the Cullen College of Engineering.
“I always wanted to have a brief exposure to industry before pursuing a doctorate. I felt it gave me a true sense of the application of theory in practice before going back to books again,” she said. “Looking back, this has surely changed the way I perceive things now, and I have a more rounded outlook to solving problems. I was inspired by the professors in my undergrad who had similar experience and brought up industrial illustrations and applications to teach concepts. I wanted to do the same when I became a faculty member.”
When it came to positive academic influences, Singh highlighted her undergraduate and Ph.D. advisors.
“Dr. A. S. K. Sinha was instrumental in instilling an interest in research and academia,” she said. “My current advisor, Dr. Michael Nikolaou, has helped me improve my technical presentation and writing skills significantly, which has got me appreciation at various occasions.”