Updated: November 6, 2019 2:26:30 pm
We hear that education can wholly transform an individual and her life. Shobana Purushothaman is an excellent example of this phenomenon. A student with an exemplary commitment to learning, the will to work hard, and inborn intelligence, she performed brilliantly in school and was selected for the Rural Scholarship awarded by SSN College of Engineering to 25 deserving youngsters every year. The scholarship covers full tuition, accommodation, and meals for four years, and includes advantages like free laptops for the students. For the daughter of a rice mill worker from a village 65km from Chennai, this was a dream come true.
Before Shobana joined her classes, she and the rest of the scholarship students underwent a course that helped them adjust to regular classes. For 20 days, and then later for 6 months after normal classes, the scholarship students received English lessons: grammar, communication, and comprehension. Teachers helped them understand technical terms that would be brought up in lessons, (often translating to Tamil) and brushed up their fundamentals which were weak, as most of them were from village schools.
Shobana is eternally grateful to her teachers for their patience and kindness towards her. She says, “In SSN, you can knock on anyone’s door, irrespective of the department, and they will help with anything.” This included clearing her doubts, encouraging her to push herself, taking time out to teach her skills, and showing their happiness at her smallest successes. It was her teachers and her guide Dr. Srinath Rajagopalan who gave this young girl the strength to be the person she is today, with a job as Associate Civil Engineer at Dow Chemicals. Shobana asserts, “For environmental engineering, my guide trained me so well, that I began to do everything myself, from writing project proposals onwards. He gave me so much freedom in my research, lab access… he even funded one of our projects.” On weekends, Shobana took the 360 Degree development idea advocated by SSN President Kala Vijayakumar to heart. She volunteered her time with the Red Cross, organizing blood donation and eye camps in villages, doing village cleaning and campus cleaning activities, too.
When she joined SSN, Shobana would look at the other students with awe. They gave her something to aspire to. Now, after an internship and a job offer at Dow Chemicals, and a series of successful academic projects under her belt, she is full of self-esteem and ready to start her career. Eventually, she wants to work in the area of environmental engineering and find a solution to one of mankind’s environmental issues.
“There has been a drastic change in me,” she explains. “When I was at home I was not a brave girl. But after coming to SSN, I have really developed, in terms of knowledge, spirituality, mental strength – my understanding of everything has changed. SSN sowed the seeds. When someone having a background like mine succeeds, they always give back. And they inspire a lot of people. In that way, the country will evolve.”
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