Space Odyssey is the brainchild of Dr. Nilesh Chandra. Dr. Chandra has represented the country in the International Biology Olympiad, 2001 held at Brussels, Belgium and brought glory to the country by securing silver medal at the annual academic mega-event. The kernel of this idea originated during that event itself, and he was left wondering at the potential benefits of such exposure to larger number of students from our country. In his own words:
“I have been fortunate enough to be granted the gift of good education in science, the interest for which was kindled in me by my grandfather and various excellent teachers along my journey of education. I want to kindle similar interest, rather passion, in the current generation.”
To further this vision, Space Odyssey proposes to introduce the students of India to world class centres of excellence in various fields of human achievement, including space, science, medicine and fine arts. We want to expose the students to the unlimited possibilities of science application, promoting critical thinking, building a problem solving attitude and enable students to develop communication and become a team player. We are making a small start this year by sponsoring (a minimum of) 20 students for an all-expenses-paid 5-day workshop organized by Space Centre University at Space Center Houston, the official visitor center for NASA Johnson Space Center. The students will be selected by an All-India level, 2-stage exam to be conducted every year in August.
What we do
Education is the greatest leveler, but at the same time, not all humans are born equal! In comparison to the West, our education system does not really prepare our students for real life challenges, nor does it promote critical thinking. Additionally, there is a diminished emphasis on vital team building exercises, like sports, which inculcate teamwork in youngsters. Space odyssey aims to address this lacuna.
JACINTA SHABONGMedia Outreach coordinator
Jacinta has been part of the Senior Management, Product and Marketing teams at Citibank N.A. thereafter having moved onto spearheading EFactor, world’s largest online entrepreneurial community , in her capacity as Marketing Head-Asia. She further took on Marketing leadership roles in businesses of fast paced evolving starts ups within the financial services and Ecommerce sectors. It was in these years of mentoring the millennial, at her workplace when she quit to found Young Millionaire(YM). YM, provides a platform to youngsters for exploring their entrepreneurial capabilities via competition events. She has often rallied the young to explore their potential, be it academics or beyond. She believes in constantly creating and bringing novel ways that might appeal to that generation, in providing them a practicing platform to explore their achieving capabilities and reach for the firmament.
Dr. NILESH CHANDRAProgram Coordinator
Dr. Nilesh Chandra was part of the Indian team at 12 th International Biology Olympiad held at Brussels, Belgium, where he won the silver medal. He completed his MBBS from the prestigious Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi. Following a brief stint at various private organizations, he returned to pursue research at the premiere University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, where he wrote his thesis, published several articles in International Journals, and mentored several post graduate doctors in writing their own theses. He has always espoused the idea of potential zenith of achievement among students in any field, provided the passion and enthusiasm exists for the same. It is his dream to expose children to as many novel experiences as possible, so that every child can find that one thing in life for which he has the innate zeal and desire to excel in!
Dr. SUMI SINGHExam Committee Coordinator
Sumi is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science with a focus in Bioinformatics at the University of Central Missouri. She is passionately involved in mentoring young students and helping them carve their research path. Sumi has mentored over five young researchers in last two years. The research output of her mentees have resulted in peer reviewed publications and talks.Sumi has volunteered for Space Odyssey, which brings in the smartest students from across India for an experience of lifetime at NASA. She thinks that providing our Indian, young budding scientists an international platform to learn about space and beyond will help expand their imagination, and while giving them an international exposure and perspective.
The Space Odyssey program
Space Center University (offered by Space Center, Houston, USA) is a challenging five-day program offered to students aged 11-18. The program promotes teamwork, problem solving, communication and engineering solutions to space related situations. It is designed to develop and improve critical thinking skills, fiscal responsibility, creativity and the drive to be successful. Activities include:
Additionally, this will give an opportunity to young Indian minds to be exposed to international environment and faculty- possibly an experience which will reveal to them the large varieties of opportunities life has to offer, and also enhance their realm of thinking, aspirations as well as problem solving.
It is our fervent hope and expectation that the students will be enriched by this experience and the society at large will benefit from their enhanced understanding. It will also motivate the students to imbibe critical thinking, develop sensitivity to scarce resources and sustainable development. Since the young of today are the leaders of tomorrow, it is our dream that each one of the participants will go on to contribute tremendously to the future of our society and in fact, the whole world.