It is a much-coveted achievement anyone could dream of, but few can reach. At the young age of 25, Arun P V is all smiles, for he has materialised the biggest of his dreams, an admission to the Research Programme at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a foreign scholar, and a placement at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US as a research scientist.
Hailing from Manimala in Kottayam and having studied at the IHRD College of Engineering, Poonjar, Arun says his success mantra lies in innovation and utilisation of one’s skills to the fullest.
“The training at the college made me think about engineering from a broader perspective. Rather than getting into a job soon after completing the course, I concentrated on exploring the vistas of research. I learned that doing research is like developing an interest towards solving a puzzle and hence it never appeared a hurdle for me. I had the support of my teachers throughout. Through developing, establishing and maintaining the college website and doing the automated college office, I got the hang of things early,” says Arun.
The lucrative job offers from three MNCs did not lure Arun, as the advice of his teachers was ringing in his mind, to scale new heights in research. “Deviating from the usual, I joined as a guest faculty at my college. Alongside, I prepared for the GATE examination,” he says.
Within a short period, he joined Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) as a scientist and moved to Indore.
There, he served for only two months as the 96-per cent aggregate in GATE examination 2010 opened the doors of NIT, Bhopal, before him and he joined for MTech. The study led to invitations from MIT, Stanford University and Cornell University for doing research, while MIT placed a combo offer of research and job together for Arun. By that time, he had reviewed nearly 20 international conferences.
Arun, who is gearing up to join MIT in January 2013, has created a blueprint in his mind regarding his area of specialisation in NASA. “My area of research would be around extraterrestrials. In India, we do not have facilities like sample images and high-end sensors to explore more on that. As India has made big strides in space technology, I am sure that in a maximum of eight years, we would achieve the same strength in extraterrestrial research too,” he says.
Arun is the son of Vijayakumar P R, a telephone mechanic with BSNL and Padmakumari K G, a homemaker. His only sister Athira Vijayan is doing BSc Botany at Alphonsa College, Pala.