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The Kalpana Chawla Project for Innovation, Entrepreneurism and Space Studies Announces Graduation of Top Scholars

Top Dr. Kalpana Chawla Scholars

Indian Delegation @ The International Space University

The Kalpana Chawla Project for Innovation, Entrepreneurism and Space Studies – Logo

This cohort of Dr. KC Scholars are extraordinarily gifted and talented. These frontier women will inspire millions of young women and girls from India to pursue their education and careers in Space”

— Anitha Vadavatha

STRASBOURG, FRANCE, September 20, 2022 / — The Kalpana Chawla Project for Innovation, Entrepreneurism and Space Studies at the International Space University announces the graduation of five top scholars from the 2022 Space Studies Program (SSP) of the International Space University (ISU) held in Oeiras, Portugal. The Dr. Kalpana Chawla Scholarship project has been established to honor the Indian-American Astronaut Dr. Kalpana Chawla. The project is focused on developing strong technical and leadership qualities with talented Indian women.

Anitha Vadavatha, member of the Board of Advisors of the Kalpana Chawla Scholarship for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Space Studies project said, “This cohort of Dr. KC Scholars are extraordinarily gifted and talented. These frontier women will inspire millions of young women and girls from India to pursue their education and careers in Space”

The scholars graduating from this year’s SSP include:

Aruna Devi TM

Aruna Devi from Madurai is an IT engineer by profession and a Space Researcher by passion. During her coursework she developed keen interest on how to apply technology in the space sector and was intrigued by its research prospects. When she got a chance to join an IT giant as a consultant after her coursework, she honed her technical skills. She also volunteered to join as a research intern and presented a poster at the European Space Agency space debris conference along with her team and presented a paper during an online discussion session at AbSciCon 2022. Aruna is an environmentalist and believes the time is now to clean space debris.

Sakshi Pandit

Sakshi is a young space enthusiast from Kolhapur, India. She is a fresh Mechanical Engineer, with a flair for Robotics and Mechatronics. Sakshi aspires to become a future space scientist and a space entrepreneur. Since childhood, she has been inspired by the notable contribution of Dr. Kalpana Chawla. Sakshi has been part of sky observation activities arranged by clubs and was interested in space studies since 9th grade. She is a core member of the Gaganvedi Club of her college, which works towards providing awareness about space and space science and is an active member of the Kutuhal club of like-minded space enthusiasts. Therefore, she is focused on realizing the dreams of late Dr. KC! Sakshi is being mentored by NASA-Honeywell Space Educator – Leena Bokil, who provided her with guidance to apply for the SSP-22. Sakshi studied at the renowned engineering college – KIT, Kolhapur. Her Professor and Project Guide – Prof Mr. Mihir Kulkarni, provided complete support from their college. Sakshi is following the footprints and the legacy of both Leena Bokil, and the late Dr. Kalpana Chawla and wishes to contribute her relentless service to the space technology sector.

Akshata Raut

Akshata is a recent graduate in the field of Electronics & Telecommunications. She is immensely passionate about space, right from her childhood and has been actively pursuing her interests in the same. She has been admitted for her Master’s studies at Lulea University of Technology, Sweden in Space Science & Technology and is looking forward to it. She intends to design a next-generation spacecraft for future manned missions for which she has been equipping herself with the required knowledge and experience. She believes that besides career, one also needs to incorporate things that help you feel the lightness of life; owing to which she has a lot of hobbies. Eventually, she hopes to make a valuable contribution to the space sector in a way that is efficient and environment friendly.

Tania D’costa

Tania completed her BS-Physics from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, India.

She is an active member of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), involved in projects revolving around space exploration and sustainability. She actively works towards communicating science, and technology with young Indian students. In her free time she enjoys stargazing and creating content around space to create scientific literacy with science communication. Her ideal aim is to visualize a world where space science is accessible for all, where people from different streams come together, communicate, and young curious minds are able to pursue their passion. Intrigued by mysteries of the vast cosmos she aspires to become an Astronaut and hopes to inspire young minds. Her fascination with the universe drives her to undertake missions and projects to further understand how it unfolds and what value it provides to mankind.

A Sejal Jain

Sejal Jain is a spacegeek with an unparalleled quest for science and ever-evolving space theories and technology. She’s a BTech graduate focused in Electronics and Communications Engineering from PES University, in Bangalore, India. She is an experienced associate researcher with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry as a systems engineer. She specializes in communication systems, UAV telemetry, orbital mechanics and attitude control mechanisms. Additionally, she has a firm interest in space applications, human spaceflight program and interplanetary missions. A real life challenger and an aspirant of Aerospace studies. Flight to space, peering out into the universe while floating through zero-gravity in a fancy suit has been a cardinal passion for her. To complement her passion, she cherishes astrophotgraphy, space poetry and reading biographies. Eventually, she aims to inspire young enthusiasts to pursue their dreams and live every moment of life!.

The goal is to attract talented Indian women who are postgraduate students with backgrounds in science, medicine, materials, arts, policy, business management, satellite technology, and other space-related areas of focus, who also share Dr. Chawla’s selfless and passionate pursuit of education and excellence.

Scholarship Funding

The Scholarship project for the ISU Space Studies 2023 (SSP23) is currently seeking funding to send talented women scholars to be held in São José dos Campos, Brazil from 26 June to 25 August 2023.

We are seeking to raise the remaining €20,000. We welcome and are gratefulfor your support to help these scholars attend the Space Studies Program at International Space University together. The Geeks Without Frontiers’ “For Womenkind” initiative has been an early supporter of this project. A modest donation from you, can contribute in a meaningful way: Donation Link

Géraldine MOSER
International space University
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