About Us

At VigyanShaala, we equip youth with quality STEM skills through project-based learning to enable social and transformational change. Our goal is to facilitate the creation of innovative, youth lead ecosystems for mentoring and STEM skilling at the community level.

Team Kalpana

Team Kalpana

 Meet the amazing team of Kalpana…. 

Program Kalpana- The core Team 

Dr. Bharti Singal Lead, mentor, and workshop facilitator of Program Kalpana 

Bharti Singal is a PhD from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore with a B.Sc. (HansRaj College), B.Ed. from Delhi University, and M.Sc. from Jamia Millia Islamia University. She is passionate about identifying underlying causes of diseases and contribute substantially to health care and education sector. She is extremely grateful to Udayan Shalini Fellowship Program for providing her the mentoring and financial support during her senior secondary school to undergraduate studies. With the sense of gratitude, she, along with the highly ambitious Kalpana team, has designed and developed program KALPANA with the determination to provide sources of inspiration, tinkering and professional guidance/opportunities to under/post- graduates in India, pursuing STEM education.  She believes with the right mentoring and support; it is possible to create an army of zealous women in STEM who can imagine a career in STEM beyond traditional access barriers and become a role model for many more.  

 

Dr. Arti Dumbrepatil Co-lead and chief communicator of Program Kalpana 

Arti Dumbrepatil is a science writer at American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She utilizes effective science communication and science writing for spreading the scientific awareness in society. Her training as a researcher is extremely advantageous for understanding the complex scientific discoveries and writing impactful science communication articles. She is developing different methods of science communication to understand and simplify the complex biological processes. She completed her PhD from South Korea and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan, USA. During her tenure at the University of Michigan, she has worked as a Science Communication Fellow (at the Natural History Museum, UMICH) and as a Science Communication Writer (LSA, UMICH). Her writings have covered various topics from Nanorobots to Virology. Arti continues to write as a contributing author to Microbiome Digest and Bio Voice News.  

 

Dr. Darshana Joshi Founder and CEO VigyanShaala International and workshop facilitator of Program Kalpana 

Darshana Joshi is the Founder and CEO of VigyanShaala International, an organization on a Mission to close the access, attainability, and quality gap in STEM education through guided mentoring and prepare youth for the technology-focused workforce of the future. Darshana has a BSc in Physics from Miranda House, a Masters in Materials Science from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore and a PhD in Physics from Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. A first generation learner, Darshana’s education through high school to undergraduate studies was supported through the Udayan Shalini Fellowship of Udayan Care. Through her work at VigyanShaala, Darshana aims to pay it forward and is passionate to provide equal opportunities of learning and growing to the most marginalized. 

Swati Keshri Mentor and social media career strategic of Program Kalpana 

Swati Keshri is currently pursuing her PhD from Cambridge Institute of Medical Research at the University of Cambridge. She has been extremely fortunate in terms of receiving support throughout her career (she credits the Udayan Shalini program) and can attest the importance of adequate mentoring. Although the landscape of women in STEM is changing in India, the disparity between the numbers of women graduating in STEM as opposed to women getting employed in STEM is substantial. Consequently, this represents a vacuum of appropriate guidance for translating available knowledge and skillset into a career in STEM that can be mitigated with tools like professional socialization and identifying resources. To this end, she wants to provide mentorship to the sprouting young generation of women in STEM to facilitate their pathway to a successful career. 

Shivani Semwal Mentor Coordinator of Program Kalpana 

Shivani Semwal is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of physics and physical oceanography at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. She is a mentor coordinator of program Kalpana and has been a part of VigyanShaala since its inception. She was the first beneficiary of the VigyanShaala mentoring platform. Being under the purview of a mentor has helped in achieving her career goals. She wants to help other girls to break the stereotype and get involved in science. Mentoring young girls is more important in a country like India, where societal structure and norms have created many problems for women to grow a career in science. Connecting girls to accomplished women would help broaden their horizons and uplift their confidence. Now, she is mentoring two girls and helping them shape their careers. 

Dr. Sowmya Purushothaman Lead Mentoring and Curriculum Design  

Ph.D. from the Imperial college London, M.Sc. Physics Mysore University. Lead, mentoring and curriculum design at VigyanShaala. Growing up in access deprived central India that is constantly under the civil unrest shaped her views on the power of right mentoring at the right time in education.  

 

Dr. Vijay VenugopalanFounder VigyanShaala International and technical support team of Program Kalpana 

 

Program Kalpana- The Mentoring Team  

Hear from our mentors their motivation to join the Kalpana Program 

Dr. Ankita Pan- I am Ankita Pan, a PhD in structural biology and biochemistry from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Currently, I am working as a Research Fellow at NTU, where I am investigating the carbon dioxide fixation machinery of marine algae. I was motivated to join Kalpana as a mentor to positively impact the minds of young female graduates and be a part of the legacy of shaping tomorrow’s leading professionals. I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by nurturing teachers who saw potential in me and inspired me to pursue a career in STEM. I wish to do the same for the future generations. I believe this mentorship program will be a learning experience for me as well and help me gain new perspectives and leadership skills. 

Dr. Sagar RaturiI am Sagar Raturi, a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Cambridge. For my PhD, I studied the molecular mechanisms underlying antibiotic resistance. I am a life-science researcher by discipline. For the past year, I have taught a pre-university diploma at an international school and thus have gained insight into the journey of students from diverse academic and social backgrounds at the school-university transition. I am very excited to be a Kalpana mentor and very much looking forward to applying my experience as a teacher to have the mentees get closer to their academic goals. Moreover, I am hoping that as a mentor I will be able to help the mentees realize their potential while harnessing their intrinsic motivation for science. 

Dr. Sonashree – I am Sonashree, a PhD in polymer chemistry and biomaterials from Indian institute of science education and research, Pune. I am currently in a transit period before joining as post-doctoral fellow at Centre of Genomic Regulation, Barcelona early next year. I am keen to be a part of the Kalpana Program mainly because I feel that there is talent amongst all of us and the correct nudge can make all the difference. The role of a few amazing mentors who helped me through my struggles and helped shape my career in Science, is what has made me chose Kalpana Mentor Program, as I feel I can make a difference too. Using my knowledge and experiences I would channel all my efforts to build confidence in the young and help them in their endeavors. I am excited, and strongly hope I make this little contribution of my own to the sea of Hope. 

Dr. Sneha Swaroop – I am Dr. Sneha, currently working as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant (PDRA) at the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics (ICT), University of Bradford, UK. I am a recipient of the Schlumberger Faculty for the future fellowship which aims to generate conditions that result in more women pursuing scientific careers by lowering the barriers women face when entering STEM disciplines, thus reducing the gender gap. My field of expertise is cancer research and I love music and enjoy creating hyper realistic portraits. I strongly believe that female voices in STEM fields would substantially contribute to building a strong economy and a bright future for India. The existing gender inequality, lack of access and inclusion in STEM can only be addressed by inspiring more girls and young women to pursue and thrive in scientific careers. ‘Kalpana’ by VigyanShaala, is an excellent and promising initiative towards recalibrating the representation of women in STEM fields by effective mentoring. I look forward to developing women STEM professionals by fostering their self- esteem, ambitions, and career aspirations.  

Dr. Srishti Arora- I am currently a Postdoctoral research scholar at Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University. My work focuses on a century-old problem of drop impact dynamics which is still mysterious in many ways. The interest in this problem developed during my PhD that I completed from University of Montpellier, France. As my current lab is newly established, I had the opportunity to mentor a number of high school and undergraduate students. As a beginner, they tend to have a lot of questions and confusions. I developed an “interactive mentorship philosophy” that helps building the confidence and curiosity in the student to explore the research world. As a mentor in Kalpana workshop I am looking forward to instilling the same inquisitiveness among students. 

Dr. Vijaya Brahma- I am Vijaya Brahma a PhD from the Institute of Microbial Technology CSIR, Chandigarh, India, and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). I worked as a Postdoctoral Scientist at the School of Computational and Integrative Science, JNU, India and University of Toronto- University Health Network projects in Canada. However, my strong interest and inclination for children education, motivated me to further my education in the area of Psychology and Certifications in Counselling and Guidance from Indira Gandhi 

National Open University IGNOU, India. Working as a Mentorship Program Manager at the Freedom Employability Academy was a highly rewarding experience for me. This experience has inspired me to work  towards encouraging and empowering students especially in STEM disciplines. I am very excited to join program Kalpana that aims to promote young girls to pursue a career in STEM and related fields. 

 

 Program Kalpana- Science Communication Team  

Dr. Arti DumbrepatilArti is a science story-teller. Her aspiration is to develop and create inspiring scientific stories. She is working with three amazing young girls who are the part of Kalpana’s scientific communication team. 

Sharanya Sreepad Content writing team intern, VigyanShaala. Sharanya is currently pursuing BDS from Bangalore, she strives to make a difference by volunteering and has volunteered with over 15 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) over the past 3 years. 

Anuradha Singh – Content writing team intern, VigyanShaala. Anuradha is from Delhi, currently enrolled as a second year M.Sc. Biotechnology student at the University of Hyderabad. In future, she aspires to become a scientist by profession. 

Priya ButolaContent writing team intern, VigyanShaala. Priya holds an M.Sc. in Chemistry from SGRR (PG) College, Dehradun, and B.Sc. Physical Sciences from Shyamlal College, Delhi University. Upon completion of her M.Sc. Priya was selected as a Gandhi fellow, a 2 Year Residential, Professional program in Transformation Leadership (2019-21). Coming from an economically disadvantaged background, she faced several family challenges and struggled to continue her studies further. Undeterred by hardship, she has continued to march on the road to her dreams. In her life, teachers, and mentors, who later laid foundation of VigyanShaala, have supported and mentored her since she was in High school and inspired her to move ahead with determination. Now an active volunteer with VigyanShaala alongside being a Gandhi Fellow, she desires to promote the mentorship programs of VigyanShaala as she considers that as a blessing for shaping up a bright future for tomorrow.  

 

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