Meet Sonal Baberwal, a 21-year-old girl from Amaravati in Maharashtra, has become the first winner of the Kalpana Chawla scholarship of the International Space University (ISU) at the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland, the university has announced.
ISU’s Kalpana Chawla scholarship project honours Indian-American astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who on February 1, 2003 lost her life in the space shuttle Columbia accident.
"Scholarship is a commitment for creating building blocks that are necessary for India to maintain its leadership in the global space community and market place," the announcement stated.
Calling it a historic moment, Michael Potter, one of the scholarship founders, said: "India will continue to be an important player on the international front as it moves forward leading the development of space technologies and activities."
The scholarship aims at developing strong leadership qualities and provides funding to Indians so that they can attend the ISU's space studies programme.
"The goal is to attract talented young Indian postgraduate students with backgrounds in science, medicine and other space-related areas of focus, who also share Kalpana Chawla's selfless and passionate pursuit of science and excellence," it states.
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Sonal has studied at the Shri R L T College of Science and the Sipna College of Engineering and Technology in Amaravati, Maharashtra. Robotics, Pluto, space debris and environmental aspects are some of her interests.