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November 2014

Mitacs Award winner interview: 2014 Globalink intern Pragya Chawla

Can you tell us a bit about the research you did through Mitacs that led to you winning the award? My research through the Mitacs Globalink Program was in the field of astrophysics under the guidance of Dr. Locke Spencer. I focused on one of the many puzzle pieces needed to form a detailed picture of the origins of our Universe as seen through the European Space Agency Planck telescope.

2) What was the highlight of your Mitacs internship in Canada?
Living in a new country gave me the chance to step out of my comfort zone and explore my independence. I love to travel and explore new places so our road trips to Waterton Lakes National Park, Banff National Park, and even Vancouver were probably the best moments during my stay in Canada. Additionally, the kindness and warmth of people I met during my travels and research in Lethbridge are things I am never going to forget.

3) What is the greatest advantage you feel you gained through your internship? What does it bring to your research or professional career?
Throughout the summer, I gained a lot of knowledge about the methods and tools used in the field of astrophysics that are definitely going to be of great help in my future in research.

The work environment was really great as I worked closely with my supervisor, and a group of other researchers who were working on various related projects in astrophysics. The freedom that my supervising professor gave me to pursue my own ideas gave me the ability to look at a problem from several vantage points and then think of an innovative solution to the problem. I believe these are the greatest advantages that I gained through this internship.

4) What advice would you give to new Globalink interns so that they have the best time in Canada through their internship?

Globalink interns should try and make the most of this amazing opportunity by preparing for their respective projects before coming to Canada. Chances are that they will face some challenges throughout the course of their project as I did, but I advise them to stay motivated and figure out innovative ways to overcome these challenges.

At the same time, they should take some time out from their work to interact with people from different cultures and go out and explore the natural beauty of the amazing country that they are in.

5) Would you consider returning to Canada for later studies? What are your dreams for research and your career?

Apart from cutting-edge research facilities and work environment, the thing that really attracts me to Canada is the importance that is given to innovation in this country. I am definitely considering the option of returning to Canada to pursue a Masters in Astrophysics, and later a PhD to further my knowledge and contribute to this amazing field of research.


Watch her video acceptance speech of the award:


Mitacs would like to thank Industry Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, the China Scholarship Council, le Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior of Brazil, the Ministry of Education Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Sorbonne Universités for their support of Globalink.