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Bi-annual E-Newsletter | Volume 2, Issue 2 |  September 2019

SSGSA Expands Outreach Programs

SSGSA campus events at Chemistry dept. ( top left and centre), Arts Faculty (top left) & Women’s College (top right) 

Inspired by Sir Syed's mission, the Sir Syed Global Scholar Award (SSGSA) family has gone on to help, mentor and support many scholars to fulfil their dreams of being admitted to the universities of their choice.
To inspire the students towards making applications for the graduate programs, and guiding them through for the SSGSA application process, we organize a number of seminars and outreach events. This year, we expanded the scale of our outreach by holding dedicated events in Women's college and the distance centres.

The first webinar was held at the campus of the Women's College, AMU where an informative cum interactive session took place on 23rd February 2019. Dr Musfira Jilani (Associate Professor of Computer Science, University College Dublin, Ireland) , along with one of the founders of SSGSA, Dr Saif Sheikh (Vice-President, Jina Pharmaceuticals, USA) and lead speaker Ms Tanwee Kausar (SSGSA scholar 2012-13 and Sr Engineer at Qualcomm, San Diego, USA) apprised the students present about SSGSA, its mission, and how students have benefitted from the mentorship provided by SSGSA.

Then, in a first for SSGSA, the three off-campus centres of the University had a session with simultaneous webinars to acquaint the students with PhD and Post Doctoral programmes in the universities of the USA, Canada and UK. 
Mr Wasikul Islam, Chairman of SSGSA, and a PhD candidate at Oklahoma State University, USA, along with Dr Syed Ali Rizvi (Boston), and Mr Kashif Ahmad (SSGSA Scholar 2015-16 Seattle, Washington) engaged the students at the three AMU centres in Malappuram (Kerala), Murshidabad (West Bengal) and Kishanganj (Bihar) through video conferencing.

A similarly informative and interactive event was also conducted at the Arts Faculty Lounge on 23rd February, to inform students about all the possibilities and procedure for studying abroad. The speakers at the event were Mr Abdul H Kidwai (PhD Candidate at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, USA), Mr Ali Muzaffar (Ex-chair SSGSA, and Sr Consultant at Deloitte and Touche LLP, USA), and Mr Tajuddin Khan (attending PhD program in Economics at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA).

Another webinar was arranged by the SSGSA at the Conference room of the Chemistry Department AMU at 2.30 pm. The panellists of the webinar were : Prof. Suhail Sabir (Chemistry Dept., AMU), Prof. Asadullah Khan (Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Unit, AMU) , Dr. Mohsin Khan (Ex-Chair of SSGSA, Washington DC, USA), Mr. Wasikul Islam (Chair of SSGSA, PhD programme at Oklahoma State University, USA), Mr. Mohd Zubair (SSGSA Scholar 2013-14, attending PhD program in Biological Sciences at University of Arkansas, Little Rock, USA) & Mr. Kashif Ahmad (SSGSA Scholar 2015-16 and Design & Innovation Engineer at Amazon, Seattle, USA).

Keeping up with this effort, Mr Wasikul Islam visited AMU, and along with Dr Suhail Sabir (Professor, Chemistry Department, AMU) organized an interactive session on the scope of higher studies abroad, on 6th August 2019 at Conference Room of Chemistry Department, AMU. Aspiring students had opportunities to ask questions to clarify their doubts regarding any aspect related to higher studies abroad and about SSGSA.

New SSGSA Scholars: Batch of 2019-2020
Graph depicting annual applicants at SSGSA since its inception
The Sir Syed Global Scholar Award (SSGSA) selected 25 bright and talented students from the Aligarh Muslim University as the new SSGSA scholars for the academic session 2019-2020.

More than 320 completed applications were submitted this session, a whopping 21% increase from last year's tally.
List of selected SSGSA scholars 2019-20 in alphabetical order  (also available on the SSGSA website) is as follows:
1. Abdul Basit Khan (Zoology)
2. Abdul Hannan Faruqi (Mechanical Engg.)
3. Abdul Sabur Kidwai (English)
4. Ahmad Faraz Badar (Mechanical Engg.)
5. Ali Asad (Mechanical Engg.)
6. Amna Jalali (Commerce)
7. Ankur Singh (Physics)
8. Arish (Industrial Chemistry)
9. Arpit Jadon (Electrical Engg.)
10. Firoz Khan (Physics)
11. Ghania Fatima (Electronics Engg.)
12. Jeelani Inaam Ul Haq (Geology)
13. Mahmood Akbar (Biochemistry)
14. Md Tabish Kamran (Education)
15. Mohammad Irfan (Physics)
16. Mohammad Waquar Uddin Siddiqui (Industrial Chemistry)
17. Mohd Aquib Siddiqui (Commerce)
18. Noma Ahmad (Computer Science)
19. Nuha Abeer Khan (Biotechnology)
20. Sameera Mujahid (Biotechnology)
21. Shazia Imam (Economics)
22. Sidra Fatima (English)
23. Syed Husain Mustafa (Computer Engg.)
24. Tezuesh Varshney (Computer Engg.)
25. Zeba Karin Ahmad (Electrical Engg.)

Elaborating over the process of applications, Mr Wasikul Islam, the current Chair and a past beneficiary of the SSGSA program said, “This year SSGSA team received a record number of applications from the Faculties of Arts, Commerce, Humanities, Science, Life Science and Engineering. Experts from each discipline graded the applications independently, and the short-listed students were invited for a written test and in-person interview on the AMU campus as part of a rigorous selection process.”

Orientation Programme for the New SSGSA Scholars

The new SSGSA Scholars for the session of 2019-2020 were welcomed into the fold of the Sir Syed Global Scholar Award family with the help of an orientation program. It was conducted by Mr Wasikul Islam, the chair of SSGSA, with the help of various other SSGSA Scholars. The program's objective was to bring the new scholars up to date with the work, history and the objective of the SSGSA programme, as well as some valuable tips which would enhance their chances of getting an admission offer from a reputable university.

Mr Islam welcomed the scholars and congratulated them on becoming the newest members of the ever-growing SSGSA family. He went on to provide a brief glimpse of the history of SSGSA, and the excellent track record of the SSGSA scholars over the years, as 95 scholars had secured admission in universities around the world, in the past 13 years since SSGSA was founded. 

Dr Saif Sheikh, one of the founding members of SSGSA, explained the various benefits of the SSGSA programme to the scholars. He elaborated that the SSGSA family, apart from providing economic support to the scholars, also gives them access to a network of past scholars who are experts in their respective areas, and provides extensive mentorship to the scholars.

The scholars were briefed about the proper protocol for contacting their respective supervisors, and tips on coordinating with their mentors for effective preparation. They were then guided on planning their preparation for getting admission offers from reputable programmes of universities. Mr Salman Bin Kashif gave the new scholars nifty tips and tricks about the approach towards taking the GRE and TOEFL tests. 

Towards the end of the session, the scholars were encouraged to maintain constant communication with their mentors, and plan smartly for the task ahead. Dr Rehan Baqri and Mr Syed Ali Rizvi expressed hope that the new scholars would work earnestly to realize their dreams of studying in a top university abroad. 

Success Stories: Achievements & Accolades in 2019
The following scholars also secured admission offers for graduate programmes, taking the number of SSGSA success stories to 95:

93. Mohammad Afzal Shadab (2019), PhD in Computational Science at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA.  
94. Sachin Gupta (2019), Ph.D. in Physics at University of Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts, USA.

95. Sheeraz Athar (2019), MPhil in Mechanical Engineering at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong.

SSGSA scholars have continued to shine in their respective fields, and have achieved significant milestones in their careers. 2019 has been no different, as SSGSA scholars have gone from strength to strength. The highlights are:
  • Dr Abdul Haleem Kidwai defended his PhD in Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Summer 2019. Dr Kidwai will be joining the Department of Economics at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Fall 2019.
  • Dr Abhishek Royal received the Annual Community Leadership Award 2018 for exemplary contribution to community development and strengthening India's HIV response by India HIV/ AIDS Alliance with National AIDS Control organization, CDC and USAID. Dr Royal was also awarded the WHO TDR (Tropical Disease research) Fellowship to pursue Master in Public Health in Implementation Research from Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and will be joining the program in August 2019. Dr Royal is the first Indian to receive this fellowship, which is co-sponsored by UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank and WHO.
  • Arish Naim was selected for American Chemical Society Travel Award to attend its 257th National meeting in the USA and received the Shastri Indo Canadian Award for an internship of 3 months at University of British Columbia, Canada.
  • Nida Rehmani was chosen by the Global STEM Alliance, New York Academy of Sciences as a mentor for the 1000 Girls 1000 Futures programme, and was invited by the Global STEM Alliance Summit, 2019 at the World Trade Centre, New York Academy of Sciences' headquarters.
  • Mohd Umair Khan was awarded the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship for pursuing the Masters in Economics programme at the University of Bath.
  • Md Ful Hossain Sk was awarded the  Gold Medal in the Bachelor of Science programme offered by the Department of Physics, Aligarh Muslim University. Mr Hussain was also selected as a Visiting Summer Student at the Institute of Physics (IOP), Bhubaneshwar.
  • Sidra Fatima was awarded the Dr Razia Khan Prize for securing the highest marks in English Literature in BA Final Year at the Women's College, Aligarh Muslim University, and received accolades for her paper at a National Seminar organized by the Department of Modern Indian Languages, AMU.
Other News
  • In March 2019, SSGSA organized an All Scholars' Meeting, in which the progress made by SSGSA since its inception was highlighted, and an action plan for the future was discussed with the scholars present. The purpose of organizing an All Scholars' Meeting was to engage with the past scholars, and to encourage them to contribute to SSGSA's activities.
  • In August 2019, SSGSA organized the first webinar in a series of many, just like past years, in the GRE Prep series, on GRE's Verbal and AWA section. The webinar was conducted by Mr Shreyansh Gaur and Mr Kashif Ahmad.  The webinar gave the participants a brief idea on the type of questions that typically appear in the Verbal and AWA sections, and strategies for effectively handling them.
We are always in pursuit of getting illustrious AMU alumni becoming a part of this program and expand our resource base for greater benefit of the students. If you like what we do and have a contribution to make in activities like reviewing applications, training the students, approach universities for MoUs, raising funds etc., please do not hesitate to contact us.
We greatly encourage the fraternity to contribute actively. More funds would enable us to support more students in the future and improve AMU's footprint in reputed graduate programs around the world.
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