Eight Indian-American Research Scholars Win Sloan Fellowships 2014

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.

2014_2$largeimg219_Feb_2014_125630097The 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!

USINPAC congratulates Indian American professor Aditi Chattopadhyay on her stupendous achievement

Aditi Chattopadhyay was one of four Arizona State University professors who have been named Regents’ Professors for their extraordinary scholarly contributions.
Chattopadhyay is an Ira A. Fulton Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, within the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the director of the Adaptive, Intelligent Materials and Systems Center at ASU.


The Indian American and the other three awardees were honored Feb. 6 at an induction ceremony.

Chattopadhyay is an internationally renowned expert on composite materials, structural health monitoring, multidisciplinary design optimization and their application in a range of important problems central to the aerospace industry and a growing variety of applications in civil/structural industries.

Due to her achievements, she has been elected to the grade of Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Georgia Institute of Technology Hall of Fame. She has also received several NASA Tech Brief awards, which is among NASA’s most prestigious awards.

Source: IndiaWest

Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni’s appointment as Dean of Princeton University Graduate School is a shot in the arm for academicians of Indian origin

In January 2014, Indian-American Dr. Rakesh Khurana was appointed Dean of Harvard College adding to the growing list of Indian-origin academic stalwarts who are heading premier academic institutes. The list also includes Dr. Dipak C. Jain, Dean of INSEAD; Dr. Nitin Nohria, the first dean of Indian origin at Harvard Business School; and Dr. Sunil Kumar, Dean of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Now add Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni to the list. Dr Kulkarni who has been appointed as the new Dean of the Princeton University Graduate School will take charge from March 31, 2014. If we take a look at Dr. Kulkarni’s academic career, he holds a plethora of esteemed degrees which includes a B.S. in Mathematics, B.S. in Electrical Engineering, M.S. in Mathematics from Clarkson University in 1983, 1984, and 1985, respectively, the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1985, and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T. in 1991. But its not only his trailblazing educational background which made him a frontrunner for this position, it’s his dedication and love for teaching which made him a name to reckon with. It then comes as no surprise that he will leading an educational institution where close to 2,600 students pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in 42 departments and programs.

In his own words, Dr. Kulkarni felt extremely delighted at being chosen for this esteemed position and wants to make full use of this opportunity to serve the University and create an impact in a new role. He says, “It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to serve the University in this capacity. I look forward to working with President Eisgruber, Provost Lee, the trustees, and colleagues and students across campus to advance the mission of the Graduate School.”
Dr. Kulkarni’s appointment is especially inspiring for young and aspiring Indians back home who keenly follow the route of these intellectuals to seek better academic prospects in the West. The grim reality of the situation in the Indian job market is that there would always be a dearth of the right-skilled jobs, a lack of political will to set advanced research infrastructure in educational hubs, an abundance of red tape to absorb the entire graduate fold. This acts as a catalyst to the ever-growing brain drain; however, it just goes on to show how many aspirants of higher education at the Masters level from India also make it to the most prestigious and top-ranked business schools in Europe and North America after being rejected by the leading business schools in India. They are more successful abroad than they are in their country of origin.


USINPAC congratulates Indian American Ashok Varadhan on his appointment as co-head of the Goldman Sachs’ securities division, the largest and most profitable of the global investment bank’s four units

Indian-origin Ashok Varadhan has been appointed co-head of the Goldman Sachs’ securities division, the largest and most profitable of the global investment bank’s four units.

Varadhan, 41, is currently the head of macro trading in Goldman’s Securities Division and will join Isabelle Ealet and Pablo Salame as co-head of the securities division.

In an internal memo, Goldman’s chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, on Monday had said that Varadhan has been an “effective voice on a number of firmwide, regional and divisional committees”, including the management committee, growth markets operating committee and firmwide risk committee.

“As a long-tenured leader in the securities division, Ashok has demonstrated dedication to our clients and a deep understanding of our business,” Blankfein said.

As co-head of the securities division, which generates the most revenue and profit for Goldman, Varadhan would build on Goldman’s client franchise across its fixed income, currency and commodities and equities businesses.


A Duke University graduate, Varadhan joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 in Swaps Trading and after heading the dollar derivative trading, he ran North American interest rate products and became global head of foreign exchange in 2007.

He was named managing director in 2000 and partner in 2002.

He is the son of eminent Indian-American academician Srinivasa Varadhan, a Chennai native who is professor of Mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.

The senior Varadhan was awarded the Abel Prize, considered equivalent to the Nobel Prize and awarded for outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics.

The securities unit is the largest of Goldman’s four divisions and people who have co-headed the unit previously have gone on to assume top-ranking positions at the bank.

It includes the bank’s fixed-income, currency and commodities operations as well as its equities unit.

Varadhan serves as vice chairman of the US Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee. He also serves on the board of directors of DUMAC, which manages Duke University’s endowment.

The Rise of Satya Nadella: An Inspiration to Indian-Americans

Ever since Satya Nadella became only the third chief executive of Microsoft, the Indian community in Silicon Valley has been bubbling over with pride and going hoarse cheering over the elevation of an Indian to the top of the fourth-largest company in the world by market capitalization. That his appointment would generate such excitement and frenzy might seem surprising at first. After all, Indians have over the years become a force in Silicon Valley, where about 15% of tech start-ups have Indian founders. Yet Nadella’s appointment is being hailed by Indians as something more. It’s another giant leap forward to have their own running one of the world’s most important companies. And he’ll be stepping into the shoes of Bill Gates, one of the world’s most famous names, to run a company for which Indians have a special affection.
But the most important question to ask is if there is anything to learn from the rise of that man called Satya Nadella?


Let’s face it; Microsoft is full of brainy graduates who are alumnus of India’s premier institutions besides graduates of the best schools of many other countries. Yet, it was Nadella, from a relatively humble Manipal Institute of Technology, who has been chosen to lead Microsoft at a crucial time. Not that his engineering skills were ever in doubt, rather it is his non-engineering talents which have helped him pole vault over droves of other talented nerds.

Tracing his story, young Satya, was an all-rounder at school. He played a lot of cricket, played pranks, loved music, was a champion debater and a good student, but not at the top of his class. But then, technical knowledge has always been his forte – Nadella has made Microsoft pose serious competition to Amazon’s cloud with its cloud platform Azure, ever since he started heading the cloud platform of the Company in 2013. The Azure cloud platform supports the services of Microsoft such as Bing, Xbox live, Office 365 and Windows Azure. Nadella led Microsoft’s server and tools division prior to his stint with cloud and engineering enterprise. So the journey of his life at Microsoft just goes to show that the stereotype of the hardworking Indian American has evolved and they are the ones ushering in a new voice. They are everywhere-as rappers, musicians, sportsmen and politicians. As a group, Indian Americans comprise the wealthiest and most educated single community in the U.S., a position of societal prestige that may last for some time yet — a recent survey found that no ethnic group in the U.S. saves more for their children’s college education than Indian Americans do. So a success story like Satya Nadella is definitely not a bolt from the blue but nevertheless, it is an inspiration.
He truly believes in Microsoft’s power to bring in change – In his first E Mail to the employees he reiterates “for the same reason I think most people join Microsoft – to change the world through technology that empowers people to do amazing things. “Many companies aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance.”
I would like to end Satya’s story with a quote from Oscar Wilde which truly inspires us to believe that success does not have a religion, nationality or color. “We need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable”.