USINPAC congratulates Indian American students Ankita Ghoshal, Ajay Krishnan, Vaibhav Vavilala, Aashna Mago and Vinay Sriram who are among the 20 bright young people named as Davidson Fellows for 2013

Five Indian American students were among the 20 bright young people named as Davidson Fellows for 2013, a program that offers $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships to students 18 or younger who have created significant projects that have the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music and philosophy.

Receiving $25,000 scholarships are Ankita Ghoshal, 18, of Austin, Texas, for her project, “Sustainable 100w Portable Generators for 24/7/365 Power Demand”; and Aashna Mago, 17, of Newtown, Pa., for a project on “A Novel EZH2 Histone Methyltransferase Inhibitor: Potential Advancement in Epigenetic Cancer Therapy.”

Ghoshal attends Princeton University and studies chemical and biological engineering. She hopes to go to business school and eventually start her own technology company. She won the 2012 Outstanding Sustainability Award at I-SWEEEP and won first place in the 2012 ExxonMobile Texas Science and Engineering Fair.

Mago is a freshman at Stanford University and is considering a major in biology with a focus in molecular and cellular biology while also exploring more unfamiliar areas, like computer science and “Symbolic Systems,” an area of study at Stanford that encompasses artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and the human-computer interface.

Receiving $10,000 scholarships are Ajay Krishnan, 17, Portland, Ore., for “Optimizing the Microbial Fuel Cell-Microbial Electrolysis Cell Coupled System for Sustainable Hydrogen Gas”; and Vinay Sriram, 17, of Boyds, Md., for “Quantitative Modeling of Processing Cost and Energy Consumption for Cryptographically Enhanced Secure Internet Routing Protocol.”

Also receiving a $10,000 scholarship is Vaibhav Vavilala, 18, of Indianapolis, Ind., for “Neural Networks: Raising the Storage Capacity Production, Electricity Generation, and Improved Wastewater Treatment.”

Krishnan is a rising senior at the Oregon Episcopal School. His dream career would be to develop efficient and environmentally-friendly energy technologies to help make our planet more sustainable. He won the 2012 U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition, was the gold medalist at the 2012 ISWEEEP competition, and was a regional finalist in the 2013 Google Science Fair.

Sriram is a rising senior in the accelerated science, mathematics, and computer science magnet program at Poolesville High School and plans to major in either computer science or electrical engineering in college. He was a finalist at the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, where he won a third place grand award in the Computer Science category.

Vavilala is a freshman at Columbia University planning on studying computer science. He has been named a National Merit Finalist, a National AP Scholar, an Intel STS Semifinalist, a Siemens Regional Finalist, an Intel ISEF Finalist, a three-time AIME qualifier, a Congressional Award Gold Medalist and a United Way Outstanding Service Award recipient.

Source: IndiaWest

USINPAC is delighted for Indian American poet Rafiq Kathwari who has become the first non-Irish person to have won the prestigious 2013 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award

An Indian-American poet has become the first non-Irish person to have won the prestigious 2013 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award for the collection of his debut poems.

Rafiq Kathwari‘s collection of 20 unpublished poems “In Another Country“, was selected for the coveted award amidst 112 contestants from across the world.

The Kavanagh award, which is now in its 41st year is given for a first unpublished collection of poems in English and is open to poets born in Ireland, of Irish nationality, or long-term resident in Ireland.

Kathwari, a Kashmiri by descent has become the first non-Irish to have won the award and will recieve 1,000 euros as the prize money.

“The award is a clear reflection of the new Irish multiculturalism”, Kathwari said, adding, he feels “gobsmacked”.

Kathwari, who divides his time between New York, Dublin and Srinagar, has been writing poems and essays for the last 30 years.

He has translated selected Urdu poems of Alama Iqbal, creating his own version. His poems are mostly inspired by “loss of innocence” in Kashmir and from his mother’s long time illness.

“Pain can be inspiring, and much of my poetry is defined by loss,” he said.

Kathwari graduated from the University of Kashmir in 1969 before studying at the New York University and Columbia University.

Most of his working life has been spent with Ethan Allen, a large manufacturer and retailer of home furnishings based in the United States.

Many of his works have been in print and online in the US, Ireland and Asia.

Previous winners of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry award include Eileán Ní Chuilleanáin, Paul Durcan, Thomas McCarthy, Peter Sirr, Sinead Morrissey, Conor O’Callaghan, Celia de Freine and Joseph Woods.

Source: Indian Express

USINPAC congratulates Indian American Sri Srinivasan for being sworn in as judge of the second most powerful court of the United States

Trailblazer Sri Srinivasan was on Friday sworn in as judge of the second most powerful court of the United States, making him the first Indian-American to be on the bench of the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Chandigarh-born Srinivasan, 46, whose parents migrated to the United States in 1970s, was sworn in the oath of office in an overflowing court room of U.S. Courts of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, in presence of legal luminaries, friends and families.

Gursharan Kaur, the wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was present on the occasion when Srinivasan took the oath of office on the Gita with his mother Saroja Srinivasan holding the holy book for him.

Gursharan Kaur, literally drive off directly from the airport, with a brief stopover at the hotel, to be in time for the swearing in ceremony of the Indian-American.

It was in May this year that Srinivasan was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a huge 97-0 vote.

He is the first South Asian American to serve as a circuit court judge in American history.

The retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor who administered the oath of office called Srinivasan “fair, faultless and fabulous.”

He once clerked for her. Addressing the gathering, Srinivasan acknowledged the contribution of his parents and family on his achievements.

Srinivasan was first nominated by Obama on June 11, 2012. On January 2, his nomination was returned to the President, due to the sine die adjournment of the Senate.

On January 3, 2013, Obama re-nominated him for the same office.

His appointment is a testimony to his credibility and calibre as a brilliant legal luminary of the US.

Srinivasan was previously the principal deputy solicitor general of the United States.

He is a highly-respected appellate advocate who has spent a distinguished career litigating before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals, both on behalf of the United States and in private practice.

Born in India to Indian parents, Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan’s well-deserved rise to the top echelons of the American judiciary – the first by an Indian-American to such a position – is a matter of great pride and satisfaction for India and the Indian-American community, and yet another proof of the sterling contributions of the community to U.S. society and indeed, to India-US relations.

Srinivasan began his legal career by serving as a law clerk for Judge J Harvie Wilkinson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1995 to 1996.

He then spent a year as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General before clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor during the Supreme Court’s 1997-98 term.

He was an associate at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, DC from 1998 until 2002.

In 2002, he returned to the Solicitor General’s Office as an assistant to the Solicitor General, representing the United States in litigation before the Supreme Court.

For his work, he received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering U.S. National Security in 2003 and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence in 2005.

In 2007, Srinivasan became a partner with O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

In 2011, he was named the chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group.

He was named as the principal deputy solicitor general in August 2011.

Srinivasan is widely recognised as one of the country’s leading appellate and Supreme Court advocates.

He has argued before the Supreme Court twenty times, drafted briefs in several dozen additional cases, and has also served as lead counsel in numerous cases before the federal and state appellate courts.

He has also served as a lecturer at Harvard Law School, where he taught a class on appellate advocacy.

Chandigarh-born Srinivasan grew up in Lawrence, Kansas. He received his BA with honours and distinction in 1989 from Stanford University and his JD with distinction in 1995 from Stanford Law School, where he was elected to Order of the Coif and served as an editor of the Stanford Law Review.

He also holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which he received along with his JD in 1995.

Srinivasan’s mother is from Chennai and father was from Tirunelveli.

His parents came to the U.S. in the 1960s, returned to India, and then back in 1971 to Kansas.

Source: The Times of India

Recount changes primary results for Nashua state rep seat

Democrat Latha Mangipudi is the new winner of last week’s special primary election after a recount altered the votes significantly in her favor.

On Monday, the Secretary of State’s Office performed a recount for the state representative race in Nashua’s Ward 8, at the request of Mangipudi, who originally lost by three votes to Democratic opponent Carl Andrade.

However, during Monday’s recount, Mangipudi garnered an additional 24 votes, while Andrade lost 24 votes, according to Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan.

The new tally was Mangipudi, 191, and Andrade, 146. The original count was Mangipudi, 167, and Andrade, 170.

When the box of ballots was opened on Monday, the ballots were organized by candidates, said Scanlan, explaining a bundle of ballots that were in Mangipudi’s favor were incorrectly placed into Andrade’s pile.

“It would appear that this was just human error,” said Scanlan, maintaining it was likely an honest mistake with no intentional wrongdoing.

There will be no inquiry into the matter, and Andrade did not express any interest in contesting the newest figures, according to Scanlan.

“Everything was very straightforward during the recount, and both of the candidates seemed to accept the new results,” he said.

The ballots were hand-counted last week at the Ward 8 polling site since it was a special primary election and the single race was the only item on the ballot.

It is not unusual for recounts to offer slightly different outcomes, but this recount was a larger discrepancy than normal, admitted Scanlan. Human error can occur during hand counts, especially at the end of a long day at the polls in a community where electronic ballot counting is the norm, he said.

“People get rusty, and this was probably just a combination of things,” added Scanlan.

Mangipudi, a former member of the Board of Education in Nashua, was not immediately available for comment on Monday. During last week’s election, she told the New Hampshire Union Leader that she was dedicated to winning the vacant House seat.

“I am in it to win it,” Mangipudi said while holding signs outside of the polling site. “This is still so important to me. My goal was to get more people involved and engaged in this political process.”

Democracy is not a spectator sport, according to Mangipudi, who said democracy starts with voting.

“This is my service to the community,” she said, adding she was disappointed with the low voter turnout last Tuesday, and maintained that many people were not even aware a special election was being held.

She will now face off in the general election against Republican Pete Silva, the former House Majority Leader, on Nov. 5.

The House seat that will be filled by either Silva or Mangipudi was left vacant in February when Roland LaPlante resigned because of health reasons.

Source: Union Leader

Misplaced bundle of votes changes outcome of primary election in Ward 8; Latha Mangipudi is new winner

An apparent counting error by local election workers delivered a stunning, primary recount victory for Nashua Ward 8 Democrat Latha Mangipudi on Monday.

Last Tuesday, former Aldermanic President Carl Andrade had scored a narrow, three-point win over Mangipudi for the right to face former House Majority Leader Peter Silva, R-Nashua, in a special election this fall.

That primary outcome was Andrade with 170 votes to 167 for Mangipudi.

But after the one-hour recount in Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office, Mangipudi came out the winner with 191 votes to 146 for Andrade.

“This proves to me once again that democracy works, the process works, and I think it’s wonderful that both Carl and I ran an energizing, positive campaign. I really thank him for that,” Mangipudi said.

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said upon opening the box of ballots on Monday, it became clear local election workers had sorted the ballots into two stacks while they were counting, one with votes for Andrade and the other votes for Mangipudi.

The problem was during the recount state officials found one bundle of votes put into the “Andrade” stack were votes for Mangipudi.

They were bundled in packs of 25 votes each.

“Once I saw that, I could only hope that one of my stacks of votes had been put into her pile but no such luck,” Andrade said.

The recount confirmed a 24-vote change from one candidate to the other, as the same misplaced bundle contained a single write-in vote for Silva.

“It was pretty straightforward once we started going through them that this became a counting error on the night of the primary,” said Deputy Secretary of State Scanlan.

Andrade said both candidates realized a simple mistake had occurred and accepted the outcome.

“There was no question about the intent of every voter’s ballot. What happened here was a bundle of ballots got put in the wrong pile,” Andrade said.

Mangipudi faces Silva Nov. 5, the same day voters will decide municipal offices. The winner will succeed Democratic state Rep. Roland LaPlante, who resigned in February because of health issues.

“I am obviously glad I asked for the recount because it was human error,” Mangipudi said. “Otherwise, we would never had known this happened.”

Andrade was an experienced figure in city politics, serving on the city’s aldermanic board for numerous terms and running twice for mayor.

Mangipudi served on the Nashua Board of Education more than a decade ago though she also worked in 2005-06 to form a state political action committee focused on US-India relations.

“We both committed to support the other whoever won the primary,” Andrade said. “Latha and her family worked very hard in this campaign will make a great addition to the House from Nashua.

“It was gratifying to see Latha attracted a lot of new voters who don’t typically show up in an election like this. I think that’s great for the future health of the Democratic Party at the local level.”

Mangipudi said through this contest, the two candidates got to know each other very well.

“This became a real friendly competition between us,” she said. “I knocked on 800 doors in the ward, and I think we both were surprised that more than 500 in total showed up to vote.”

Roughly 525, or just under 9 percent, of Ward 8’s 5,981 registered voters turned out Tuesday.

Initially, Mangipudi said she probably wouldn’t bother with a recount since the turnout was so small and election workers had totaled up the ballots three times. She eventually asked for a recount and paid a $10 fee.

“I wasn’t surprised when she decided to seek the recount,” Andrade said. “When it’s that close, your supporters are always going to encourage you to make extra sure.”

State Rep. Ken Gidge, D-Nashua, was among more than 20 friends and supporters of both candidates who turned out to watch the recount.

“This shows you once again why in any close race like this one, you always want to see the ballots,” Gidge said. “It’s hard to believe there could be a swing of 24 votes, but mistakes happen.”

Andrade said these paper ballots were folded over by local election workers and a rubber band was stretched over each bundle.

“It looked like they counted them three times to make sure each stack contained 25 ballots but they must never have unfolded the bundles to make sure that my votes were all in one pile and hers were all in the other,” Andrade said. “You would think they would have looked in and checked to make sure what they were counting.”

Source: Nashua Telegraph