VIT University student Akshath Sharma has done India proud. He is the only student from the country to bag the prestigious Cambridge International Scholarship. He has been offered to complete a direct PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cambridge, UK.
‘It is offered to approximately 80 students selected according to academic merit from all the departments at Cambridge,’ says Akshath.
He is the only Indian to have been inducted directly after his B Tech, with Master’s requirement waived.
In addition, he has been awarded full-funding, under the aegis of the Cambridge International Scholarship. ‘Limited students from around the globe are selected for this scholarship with only a small proportion awarded to engineering students and thousands of applications were made which included the IITs-but it was Akshath they chose,’ says senior professor at VIT University Satyajit Ghosh.
Satyajit Ghosh of School of Mechanical and Building Sciences (SMBS), taught and and mentored Akshath and guided his final year thesis entitled ‘A novel geo-engineering application to mitigate cyclones over the Bay of Bengal’ which was much appreciated at Cambridge and Leeds.
Akshath secured the second rank in the BTech Mechanical Engineering programme year with a CGPA of 9.64. Akshath says the VITs Project Based Learning (under the FFCS scheme) enabled him to work on a research project a full year in advance culminating in the Final Year Project.
‘My final year project involved a computational study involving geo-engineering modifications for mitigation of cyclones over the Bay of Bengal,’ says Akshath.
‘VIT gave me complete freedom to choose whichever field I wanted to do research in from my first year (B Tech Mechanical Engineering) itself. During my four years in VIT, I have worked on areas including materials science, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer and even atmospheric sciences.
The fully flexible credit system within VIT allowed me to choose the professors I wanted study and work with, and the system of project based learning (PBL) courses allowed me to conduct research parallel to the conventionally taught courses,” he says.
Akshath was also led VIT’s Team Vimaanas project to international limelight in the USA. “I was a part of the team in my first year itself. My time there engendered the confidence in me to successfully compete with teams from some of the best universities in world by the virtue of participating the in competition – SAE Aero Design West. It also allowed me to interact with some of the best and brightest students within VIT itself,” he says.
The brilliant student says, “I don’t really know what to expect from Cambridge! Right now I just want to finish my PhD within the stipulated time of three years (as opposed to the usual 5 in other universities). What makes this more challenging is that I will be joining as a direct PhD candidate (without a Masters degree),” he says, adding that he plans to continue academic research after his time at Cambridge.