UPenn Dean’s Visit: Chiteisri Devi, Fellow YIFP
On a wintry Saturday morning (January 7th2012) the Young India Fellowship was greeted and graced by Dean Eduardo Glandt and Deputy Dean Vijay Kumar of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Pennsylvania.
Our distinguished guests made, what seemed like, a fleeting visit to the Aurobindo campus to meet the Administration, Founders, some Sponsors, Faculty and especially, us Fellows. The Young India Fellowship Programme has been instituted by the International Foundation for Research and Education (IFRE) andPenn Engineering. Thus, when the well-loved and charming Dean Glandt made his visit to Delhi, the YIFP organised a small forum for his interaction with the Fellows. The night before had some of us decorating the pathway with a floral Rangoli, small preparations made for the stage in our Auditorium, and making a colourful memento for our guests. Itika and I quite enjoyed interacting with our current Penn Faculty, Dr. Kenneth Foster and his wife, Mary to find out more about them, as we had to introduce our Guests to the rest of the batch that morning in a manner that was not ‘the usual formal way.’
Dean Eduardo Glandt association with Penn Engineering began way back in 1975 when he completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from there. Argentinian by birth, this is a Professor who celebrates Engineering, loves creativity and promotes inter-disciplinary learning as innately necessary for all engineers today. As the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Penn Engineering - his success has been tremendous. As of 2010, Undergraduate applications increased by 32%, Faculty strength increased by 17% and the research funding has more than doubled in his tenure that began in 1999 and has been extended to 2015 by a unanimous decision of all concerned. Deputy Dean Vijay Kumar is an IIT Kanpur graduate who completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Ohio State University and joined as an Assistant Professor at Upenn in 1987. From there, he rose unto becoming the Chairman, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania in 2005. In 2008, he became the Deputy Dean of SEAS (Education).
Both our Guests were shown around the campus and between interacting with members of the Media and especially with Team Visparsh (who have designed a device to aid the visually challenged) also had a forty-minute experience sharing and Q&A session with the Fellows. Within minutes of Dean Glandt speaking, we were able to understand why his dynamism and charm is spoken about everywhere and how he was keen to lend the partnership to the YIFP with conviction. He shared his childhood reminiscences, answered our questions patiently, often asked Deputy Dean Vijay Kumar to also answer our questions more specifically and lauded the programme for bringing us all together.
The morning proved memorable for all of us, our guests and the Fellows both wished that the interaction could have been much longer – but it ended on a promising note of future partnerships, exchanges and ideas.