Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering
Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?
I chose IUPUI because Dr. Larriba (my advisor) specializes in my field of interest and agreed to advise me and sponsor my PhD here. Also, having two prestigious universities’ names attached to my degree is always a benefit.
What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?
My favorite accomplishment has to be the incorporation of the rotational degree of freedom into the computation of ion mobility. Using this computing skill, we partnered with a major institute - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). This partnership resulted in the acceptance of an oral presentation at the top conference – ASMS – and we published a manuscript in the Analytical Chemistry journal (I.F. 6.8). The conference allowed an opportunity to network with leaders in the field, who indicated an interest in future collaboration.
What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?
As a motorsports lover, I couldn't have picked a better city than the one that hosts the Indy 500, The city is also very green, I enjoy biking on the Eagle Creek Trail, canal, and even in the downtown area. Because of biking, I got to know that the downtown has surprisingly large and amazing houses! The city is also quite affordable with big city perks. I like the pace of Indianapolis. It is neither too fast and hectic, nor too dull.
Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.
Research: My study focuses on numerical simulations of ion and gas molecule momentum transfer under various situations. In the last few years, experimental instruments have evolved dramatically, and the findings obtained by such devices cannot be explained by current theories. My aim is to characterize these effects and aid in the separation of structurally identical ions.
- GPSG’s General Assembly (GA) member: In GPSG, I represent the school of engineering and technology. Here, we address any difficulties experienced by graduate and professional students, whether they are related to education or personal life, and we attempt to solve them at the source. I am a member of the Orientation Subcommittee, and our mission is to not only prepare incoming students for their arrival at IUPUI, but also to give ongoing assistance should they require it.
- Graduate Initiatives Committee (GIC): This is a faculty committee which reviews the current activities and proposes new initiatives for the University Graduate School (UGS) and the Graduate Faculty Council (GFC). I am representing IUPUI’s student perspective to influence the governance at the Indiana University level. There are many projects in development which could affect students’ lives such as: Syllabi posting and Canvas notification, offer letter requirements, MoneySmarts, Graduate student fees, Mentoring and Advising, etc. Among them, my favorites are Graduate student fees and Mentoring and Advising. For the former topic, I firmly advocate for maintaining the “Required costs” (fees other than tuition fees) as low as possible or even reduce it by highlighting its effects on our emotional and financial wellbeing. For the latter topic, we are attempting to create an "unofficial mentoring" program by merging my objective at GPSG. In this program, we are devising methods of advising new students before they realize they require it. The key benefit of this program is that it provides students with a sense of a community in which they do not feel like they are the only ones dealing with issues. This would encourage them to not to drop out and discuss problems among them.
Viraj received a Travel Fellowship Award from the Graduate Office. Here is his experience at the conference:
The American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS)’s 69th conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics is one of the most appropriate platforms for presenting my work. Being reviewed by world-renowned scientists and having discussions with them (in particular, with Dr. Glenn Spangler) about my research brought tremendous value in my early stage of research. In the same session with me, different scientists from similar areas such as Biopolymer and Protein Structures Determination, Biochemistry, Pharmaceuticals, etc. presented their work. Their research was very insightful and showed me the possible improvements in my work. The highlight of the conference for me was when, at the end of my presentation session, an industry expert, Dr. Alexandre Shvartsburg, approached me and invited to collaborate! The conference provided a wonderful opportunity for me to create both an academic and a professional network, which I took full advantage of. The five-day long conference and staying in a different city also provided a platform to bond with my new lab mates.