Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) 2019

I attended 7th Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) 2019 at National Technological University, Singapore from 20 Jan 2019 to 25 Jan 2019. It was a nice and motivational experience to listen and discuss with laureates, so I thought to share my joyous experience with all of you. For attending the conference, IIT Ropar, India nominated my name, and I got the invitation. It is an invitation based summit where they invite Ph.D. and postdoc people from all over the world from different research areas, such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, computer science, and engineering. The main motivation of the conference is to promote interdisciplinary research.

The highlights of the conference are mentioned below.

1. Plenary Talks: The conference started with a Plenary talk by Silvio Micali on Distributed Ledgers and Blockchains. Then we have several other talks from different laureates where they motivated young researchers by explaining their work and the future of the science. For example, Prof Aaron Ciechanover gave a talk on “The Revolution of Personalised Medicine: Are We Going to Cure All Diseases and at What Price?” where he discussed interesting questions like,

  • Aspirin and penicillin are a random discovery?
  • How will medicine make age longer?
  • Live with disease or die because of it.
  • Even two twins are not identical.

Now, you can think how motivating it will be to listen and hear these talks live where you can directly ask your curious questions 🙂 These talks always left me with a long list of questions, some for me and some for them, and hoping to get their answers in future 😀

 

2.  Panel Discussions: GYSS scheduled panel discussions mostly after the lunch and they were awesome because you can eat how much you want and interesting sessions will not let you sleep. The panel sessions were moderated by one scientist, and there were three panelists. The best thing I liked about panels is the general topic so that they are relevant for all the participants as the conference was multi-area. They also had panelist from different areas to discuss the problem from different perspectives.
Some highlights of panel discussions are.

  • Future of Medicine and Healthcare: This session was on the current hot topic, the progress of medicine and healthcare.
  • The Human Side of Science where they talked about the general problems that scientists phase at the personal and professional level.

 

3. Small Group Sessions: Small group sessions were led by one professor and participants were allowed to choose a group of their choice. My first small group session was with Tim, and it was really interesting as he talked about his research experience. Students also asked many interesting questions, and it helped us to get a new perspective about him and his work, such as,

  • How you got motivated about this particular problem?
  • How did you plan your research?
  • How to be a Nobel laureate?
  • This is the era of collaboration and how we can collaborate without having a fear of someone will steal our idea?
  • How to handle ups-downs and depression through the research?
  • Does the number of publications matter in a higher career?
  • How to manage funds for the research?
  • What is more important: theoretical research or applied research?

I am not mentioning the answers to these questions as you can refer the recorded videos of the sessions. These talks will surely help you to realize that you are not alone going through various research-related problems and they also went through these. However, the important part is that they handled it and for us, the important thing is that we have to handle these. They will make you realize that you will come out doing great 🙂
All the discussions were very very amazing and motivating. They made me think how to route the things so that I can aim for what I want.

 

4. Public Lectures: These sessions were open to the general public where people can ask questions from the laureates. Some of the videos are here:
https://www.facebook.com/gyss.sg/videos/2213890465542664/ By Prof Tim Hunt
https://www.facebook.com/gyss.sg/videos/1161907403992094/ By Prof Fraser Stoddart

 

5. Poster Sessions: Students presented their research work using posters. I also presented my thesis work there and got a chance to discuss it with laureates, senior professors, and young scientists.

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6. Site Visits: GYSS also arranged site visits to some of the famous research institutes and universities of Singapore where they displayed their ongoing research. The list is here.

  • Nanyang Technological University
  • Marina Barrage and NEWater Visitor Centre
  • Singapore Management University
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design
  • Agency for Science, Technology and Research
  • Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise
  • National University of Singapore
  • Singapore City Gallery

GYSS also highlighted the research funding opportunities at Singapore. Apart from this, your fellow researchers also can make you aware of a lot of new opportunities that you might not even know. So, you just need to talk to different people to gather more information. If you are interested in working at their institute, you can also discuss this and sometime, they will also help you to connect. I wanted to work at one institute, and I told this to a girl who was working there, and she told me about people working in my area. Some students also asked me about Ph.D. opportunities in my area, and helping someone is always a great feeling 🙂

 

7. Fun Time: Apart from all academic talks and scientific discussions, conference organizers also managed to provide some fun time in the amazing city of Singapore. There were three fun tracks for different types of people, and they asked us to chose one based on our preference. Details are here.

  • Track 1: The Gardens
  • Track 2: Cultural
  • Track 3: Skyline

I went for Skyline as I love flyer ride. It also included boat riding at Marina Bay and amazing food and of course much interaction with fellow young scientists (we are scientists so we cannot avoid it even if we are lost in the amazing view of the city).

Overall, it was an amazing experience to attend the conference and meet Nobel laureates. Personally, I enjoyed discussions with other young scientists. It is a nice place for networking that will surely help in future to get more collaboration opportunities and also to have a social group full of scientifically motivated people.

 

Important links:

  1. GYSS Website: https://www.nrf.gov.sg/gyss/home
  2. Take a look at the program schedule, so that you know what all it covers. https://www.nrf.gov.sg/gyss/programme/programmeschedule
  3. Global Young Scientists Summit 2019 Opening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBJsTNgcJdM

  4. The summarized video of GYSS 2019 is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou4BQ_xNKDg&t=5s

GYSS Reviews from other participants (I thought it would be helpful, so I asked them to share).

  1. “GYSS is a highly motivating and encouraging event. Specially the small group sessions were very interactive. The journeys of ups and downs of the noble laureates lives would help me to overcome even enjoy the frustration and depression of a scholars life and keep motivated forward.” By Imon Mandal, Department of Chemical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.

  2. “For a graduate student experiencing something different from their mainstream research and listen someone knowledgeable talk about it is always fun. I am doing my Ph.D. in pure math and mostly I am ignorant about current research areas in other sciences such as computer science, biology, physics, chemistry, and engineering. What GYSS did for me was to let me have a bird’s eye view of the specialist in the above-mentioned areas who with fierce passion told us about for what they became famous (most cases why and for what they got Nobel prize).

    It’s always soothing and motivating to listen to someone as highly regarded as the speakers who still are motivated to push the boundaries of their research. I got to know the underlying truth about math which is – though it seems an abstract and disconnected field, it’s techniques and ideas are used in almost all other sciences. Finally, I had a great time in GYSS 2019. It made me more confident and hopeful for my future as a researcher.” By Vivek Rai, Department of Mathematics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.

 

Note 1: GYSS launched their app that you can install and it helped to connect with the people. Later on, you can shift to the social platform that you use, and most of us are now Facebook friends.

Note 2: Follow GYSS page on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned 🙂

ICDCN 2018

Recently I attended ICDCN 2018 Conference, held in IIT BHU, Varanasi, India. This was one of the conferences that I really enjoyed and was very productive for me. When I went to attend the conference I did not know anyone there but I came back with a lot of memories, friends, and of course, collaboration offers 🙂 So, I thought to share my experience briefly.

Few points about what I liked:

  1. Talks: ICDCN is mainly a conference on Distributed Computing and Communication Networks and they also have a track on social networks. I work on social networks and I attended the related sessions that I shortlisted prior and discussed with the speakers after the talks. Most of the sessions were on distributed computing and I found that less related to my work but I still attended some of them. I will say, I enjoyed after talk discussions more than the talks, maybe because there we have open time and can ask ample number of questions 🙂
  2. Doctoral Symposium: I was there to present my work in Doctoral Symposium. Every speaker was given around 20-25 minutes to present the work and it was a very open and helpful discussion with Professors, other fellow presenters, and attendees. Most of the speakers were graduate students, so we also discussed our work after the session and it helped us to connect with each other.

    WhatsApp Image 2018-01-12 at 4.09.10 PM
    Young Researchers from IIT Hyderabad, ETH Zurich and me 🙂
  3. Open Discussion: The best thing that I enjoyed the most was open discussions. I met many professors there and discussed my work, their works and this was the best part, especially when someone appreciates your work 😀 . It helped me to get more suggestions and to know more about others’ work. The best discussion was with Dr. Roger (Keynote Speaker) and we discussed everything starting from my thesis, to gender bias, collaboration network, Google, Family system, Indian Culture, behavioral economics, research in music, and so on. Actually, the list is really long.

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    Dr. Roger Wattenhofer and me (from Banquet dinner)
  4. Local Trip and Food: Varanasi is located on the bank of Ganges and known as the cultural city of India. It is famous for Lord Shiva temples and Ganga ghats. People come here from all over the world for inner peace. Given a chance, I also enjoyed the beauty of the city and cultural richness. The next thing, I enjoyed after local trips was food. I also belong to the same state and I really liked the food very much. I think I gained 1-2 Kg extra weight too 😀 , will try to loose it 😛

    WhatsApp Image 2018-01-15 at 2.05.28 AM
    Temple in IIT BHU

I really would like to thank the organizing committee for the warm welcome and all the volunteers for their help. For more details you can visit the conference website here.

 

Featured

Google Women Techmakers Scholarship: What all you Earn?

This is my first blog-post, that I am writing about Google Women Techmakers (WTM) Scholarship. I was selected as one of the scholars by Google under Asia-pacific women techmakers scholarship program in 2017.

I was always waiting for a perfect topic to post my first blog and I got one. You all will be thinking that there are so many blogs on WTM scholarship then how this is different from others, why do you need to read one more? Yes, you are right but also wrong. This post will help you to walk through a journey that WTM provides you from a scholarship to a community that is always there like a family. In WTM, I met other scholars who were also selected for the scholarship, and they have been a true motivation for me and also for many other people. They have capabilities to change the world and to lead it with all their passion. This blog I am writing mainly about all those lovely young ladies, and I am very happy to dedicate this to all of them as a gift. This will surely help you to see how even a small strongly bounded community can change your life and perspectives.

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WTM Asia-Pacific 2017 Group Photo

I will explain the application process briefly:

  • Apply for WTM: To apply for WTM, you should be enrolled in undergraduate, masters, or Ph.D. program for the respective academic year. Then you can register for Google women techmakers scholarship program. They will ask you for your basic personal details and you also need to write the answers to five essay questions including the details of your technical projects. For essays, I will suggest, explain the answers in briefly but focussing on the main points so that they don’t get missed. It will also be good if you write few answers using bullet points for the questions like what problems you have faced in the technical community being a woman.
  • This scholarship is given to the women for their outreach events to help other women in the technical community, so, a great importance is given to the programs that you have organized including your leadership roles.
  • Interview:  If your application is shortlisted, they will mail you and will fix a suitable time for the interview. The interview is a formal-cum-casual discussion with a Google employee, at least I see it this way. Still, it will be good if you prepare for it as the final shortlisting is based on your performance in the interview: Re-read your essay answers that you wrote in the application, you should be clear about everything that you have mentioned in your resume and also about your projects. I will also suggest that prepare for some general questions that can be asked during the interview like:
    • How do you see that the gender equality will help the technical community?
    • Why do most of the women quit their professional career?
    • What kind of affirmative/supportive actions can be taken to increase the ratio of women in the technical community?
    • If you see a woman quitting from the technical educational program, how will you convince and motivate her to continue the same?
    • What is the best age to motivate girls to study the science?
    • Who is your role model and what impact s/he has on your career choices?

Except this, I will advise you that you read some good articles which talk about the gender biases in the existing society. It will surely help you to be confident and prepare for other random questions. I will just suggest you, be honest and confident and I am sure you will win it. 🙂  The interview was scheduled for 30 minutes but the discussion was going nice and interesting, so, it was continued for around 45 minutes.

Retreat: The Real Fun

And if you are selected after interview… just cheer… you will be invited by Google to attend the retreat at one of the Google offices and the best part starts there… you are gonna meet all amazing girls. We were invited Google office, Seoul, South Korea for the retreat. Trust me this was the first time in my life when I got a chance to meet so many highly motivated, amazing and technical girls.

WTM scholarship provides you two types of opportunities (this is completely my categorization 😛 ) 1. Direct benefits, 2. Indirect benefits.

Direct benefits: They can be listed as:

  • WTM retreat: As I told, Google will invite you for the retreat. Google will take care of everything like your travel, stay and even they provided us the details how to reach your hotel from the airport as it was the first international trip for most of the girls. They also try to group the people to book the tickets so that you will be having a good company and also enough time to mingle with the people who are going to be there with you. This retreat was organized for 3.5 days and it was started with a welcome dinner and continued with motivational talks, technical discussions, games, scavenger hunt, and of course last and the most important tasty food. In accommodation, you will get a double sharing room and they make sure that your roommate is from a different country. In all the group events, they always keep shuffling the people in the group so that you can channel with as many people. I will suggest try to talk and meet as many people as you can, even spend time in the evening with them, talk to then before and after the retreat, because this will be one of the best community you will belong to. They (Google event organizers) also created a facebook group for all the scholars, so it will help you to get each others details. We also created WhatsApp group and there you can ask all stupid questions related to retreat even what to wear on which day 😛
  • Scholarship: Once the retreat is over, Google will start the scholarship payment process and you will receive the scholarship amount and also the reimbursement of the bills that you have paid like visa and all. During retreat, Google also gonna give you lots of swags, so have some space in your baggage 🙂

Indirect benefits: All direct benefits were really great but for me, indirect benefits were life-changing. They have especially motivated me to write this post because these things will be rarely shared with you until and unless you meet a WTM scholar personally.

  • GOOD FRIENDS: This is the first one and the most important one. All WTM scholars are amazing, they all are selected for their contribution to the community and all these people are very kind and helping. This scholarship will give you a chance to meet them all and surely you are gonna end up being friend as there is a very high probability that you will be having at least something in common, it may be one of your outreach ideas or your technical projects or your future plans. And I can bet it but you can hope for more 😛
  • Motivation: A community where so many people are doing so many amazing things and continuously sharing the story of their success, I see it’s next to impossible that you can be demotivated there. Even you can help others to organize their events and you will get your share in return too 🙂 You will also get a chance to meet former scholars and Google employees, and they all share the story of their journey with each other.
  • Invitation to attend more events: After this, Google invited some of the scholars for Google Developer Day. Except this, they also select some scholars and fund their trip to attend GHCI (Grace Hopper Celebration India). In GHCI, you will also be invited to attend a dinner with other scholars of Google under different scholarship programs and Google employees. For me this was one of the best discussions. We came to know about many more exciting new projects that Google is working on. You will also get a chance to discuss your ideas, and you can get collaborators too.
  • Google Funds to Organize Outreach Events: Google will help you further to organize more events. They might provide you funds or swags to make your event more successful.
  • I am yet to know more: Yes, I have been the part of this community for the past 4 months and I had so much to write. I am still on the journey to explore more and more and will share with you for sure 🙂

There are so many beautiful memories and I can’t write down all of them but whenever I think of that time, it makes me happy and overwhelmed.

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Final suggestion: Never ever miss it, Just Apply and before that don’t forget to make your contribution towards the society. Your small efforts will make this place better for others. You will be a motivational icon for others and you can be, just trust yourself. 🙂

There are also some other blogs on how to apply for the scholarship by other co-scholars and their experiences. You can take a look: