By Wei Loon Leong
Ashutosh Sharma (PhD '98, Chemical Engineering) returned to his alma mater in April 2016 to receive the 2016 Distinguished International Alumni Award from UB's Alumni Association.
Sharma is an internationally renowned scientist who was recently appointed Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology of India, a cabinet-level position in the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is currently on leave as Institute Chair Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, where he was the founding coordinator of the Nanosciences Center and the Advanced Imaging Center at the school in Kanpur.
A student of the distinguished UB scientist Professor Eli Ruckenstein, Sharma also delivered the Eighth Annual Eli Ruckenstein Lecture during his visit, at the invitation of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Sharma spent part of his visit meeting with faculty and students of his home department and learning about their research and education endeavors. He also visited Professor Ruckenstein, a National Medal of Science recipient, to discuss current research activities.
The Distinguished International Alumni Award was presented during a dinner on April 15 honoring Sharma at the home of President and Mrs. Tripathi. Mary Garlick Roll, president of the UB Alumni Association, assisted by Wei Loon Leong, Director of International Alumni Engagement, presented the award on behalf of the association.
During his visit, Sharma and Tripathi signed a Memorandum of Understanding enabling UB to join a small group of elite U.S. universities participating in the new doctoral fellowship program offered by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) of India. Sharma also delivered a presentation on the SERB Fellowship for interested faculty and students.
The SERB Fellowship provides funding support for up to five outstanding Indian students admitted to UB doctoral programs in STEM fields each year. UB was invited to participate for the first time this year, and nominated 10 excellent students admitted to six different doctoral programs at UB.