It was indeed an astounding moment for the Indian-American community and the Indian diaspora when eight Indian-American scholars were named winners of the 2014 Sloan Fellowships. Among a total of 126 young scholars who received the fellowships, five Indian-American men and three women won the accolades in their respective areas of research. This fellowship is awarded to young researchers who work across diverse academic disciplines including Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, Computational and Evolutionary Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Ocean Sciences, and Physics. It honors some of the best young scientific minds and aids them during a critical phase of their careers when initial funding and acknowledgement of their work can make a world of difference.
The Indian-American winners are:
- Animashree Anandkumar for Computer Science: She is assistant professor at the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of California in Irvine. She is currently working on statistics gathering and computing through various types of graphical and variable models.
- Nayantara Bhatnagar for Mathematics: She is assistant professor at the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the University of Delaware. She is working on a project that studies the relationship of Statistics with Physics.
- Prashant Jain for Chemistry: He is assistant professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. His research is based on molecular imaging.
- Anshul Kundaje for Computational and Evolutionary Molecular Biology: He is assistant professor at the Department of Genetics and the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University. He works on models for genetic sequencing.
- Jeetain Mittal for Chemistry: He is assistant professor of Chemistry at Lehigh University and P.C. Rossin Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. He works on the theory of protein stability and dynamics.
- Tapan Parikh in Computer Science: He is assistant professor at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. He is working on the world’s most impoverished areas to develop technology to support sustainable economic development on a large scale.
- Pradeep Ravikumar for Computer Science: He is assistant professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas in Austin. He is working on ‘statistical machine learning’.
- Sushmita Roy for Computational and Evolutionary Molecular Biology. She is assistant professor at the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Evidently enough, all these young achievers have one thing in common – extremely versatile and unique portfolios. They have set new scopes in their fields of research and have defined a trajectory for a young and future generation of Indian-American and other Indian scholars to continue this trend of achievement and make a difference in the world of science, economics, and society. They have pushed the peripheries of science to more innovative dimensions. Kudos to the young career achievers of the 2014 Sloan Fellowships!