NYIT-Vancouver student Valentina Lameda interviews classmate Vishal Rathi about studying abroad and how NYIT’s engergy management program is helping realize his dream of saving the planet.

Please tell us about your work

Deep in the jungle, at the foothills of the Andes and the headwaters of the Amazon, runs a river so hot that you can poach an egg in it. While few travelers know about the Boiling River, four students from NYIT-Vancouver went to Pucallpa, Peru, on an Edward Guiliano Global Fellowship to investigate its unique characteristics. The river is known for its extremely hot water, with temperatures reaching up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

For five days, master’s candidates in engineering management Yash MasaneVishal RathiSandeep Krishna Edara, and Adrian Kanjer, along with Patricia Keen, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor at NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, examined the area, including its ecosystem and species that live there and its cultural and spiritual importance to indigenous communities.

“We learned that some of the key issues, including environmental, social, and economic factors, for indigenous populations in unique ecosystems in North and South America are similar,” explained Keen. “These communities are committed to conserving the biodiversity, ecosystem, and spiritual and cultural values of environments in resource-rich areas that have existed for thousands of years. The challenge is to conserve these values and at the same time, navigate the rapidly changing, modern world outside the immediate location.”

The group will compare what they discovered in Peru with Meager Creek, a river in British Columbia that has similar characteristics, including extremely hot water and a unique species habitat, and that holds cultural and spiritual importance for First Nations in the region.

“For me and for all of the students, being part of nature deep in the Amazon rain forest was a transformative experience that is proving to be pivotal in our life-long learning journeys,” said Keen.

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?

Vishal Rathi knows a thing or two about the earth and the environment. His undergraduate studies include science, mathematics and physics, and he holds a master’s degree in applied geophysics from Kurukshetra University. Now, he would like to continue his education in order to save the planet. Our global population is increasing and animal species are becoming extinct,” said Rathi.

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What did you study?

After completing his first master’s degree in India, Rathi decided he wanted to study abroad. He loved the idea of going to Canada. While he was researching schools and programs, he decided he wanted to pursue something related to climate change. “Energy management focuses on conserving the planet by reducing energy and maximizing its use through a more efficient process. [The program at NYIT (New York Institute of Technology ] focuses on clean and renewable energy.”

Tell us about the program

The curriculum makes Rathi feel like he can make a difference. Solar Technology, taught by Associate Professor Remi Charron, Ph.D., is one of his favorite classes. “We had the opportunity to visit a house in Surrey, B.C., and analyze how much energy it generated. We made use of different softwares to analyze the situation, just like we would do in the real world.”

Vishal also had the opportunity to travel to the Boiling River in Pucallpa, Peru. In the spring of 2017, he and fellow students examined the river’s unique characteristics (it is known for its extremely hot water, with temperatures reaching up to 400 degrees Farenheit) as well as the surrounding area’s ecosystem and species. They also visited Lima where they compared the solar and wind potential of Peru’s capital with that of Vancouver, and prepared a sustainability report that included the city’s transportation, its growth, employment rate, and waste and bin sorting.

Taking on this new adventure has helped Rathi overcome many of his fears. He has also adjusted to living on his own and being away from his family for the first time. “I feel like I can really focus on myself and become a better person overall,” he said.

Tell us about your future plans

Rathi found that communicating and building strong bonds with professors helped make the move to Vancouver easier and said that he has built great relationships with many of the faculty members, including Charron and Patricia Keen, Ph.D., visiting associate professor at NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, with whom he traveled to Peru.

Outside of the classroom, Rathi is interning with Ocean Floor Geophysics on a short-term contract where he processes and interprets marine geophysical data to detect metal deposits in the ocean. Post-graduation, Rathi would like to find work as a geophysicist. But he tries not to think about the future too much. “I don’t make long-term goals because life is very short. I try to live day to day. I think that if I give my best today, my future will be safe.”