Photos by Hope Tinney, WSU News
PULLMAN, Wash. Amita Mohan’s advice to her fellow international scholars was short and to the point: “Don’t hesitate and explore, explore, explore.”
Saroa was one of five international scholars who spoke last week at a Washington State University International Scholars Reception to recognize and celebrate the cultural and professional contributions visiting faculty and graduate students make to the life of the university.
More than 50 international scholars attended the reception along with CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo; CAHNRS Associate Dean Kim Kidwell; College of Education Dean A.G. Rud; Fulbright Scholar Marina Tolmacheva, a WSU professor of history; International Programs Vice Provost Prema Arasu; and the staff of the Office of International Students and Scholars. Sergei Tolmachev, director of the U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries at WSU Tri-Cities also attended the reception.
Networking, don’t miss it
“Try as much as possible to network,” said Rita Abi-Ghanem, a postdoctoral researcher in crop and soil sciences who came to the United States from Lebanon. International research is very important, she said, and meeting people from different countries will help foster international collaborations. “This is an opportunity,” she said. “Please don’t miss it.”
Mohan, who came to the U.S. from India to do research in wheat genetics, urged her fellow scholars not to be intimidated by the challenges of living in a foreign culture. “If you don’t dive into the river, how can you learn to swim?” she said.
At WSU, she said, there are experts in wide range of disciplines, and most people are very willing to help. “You need not struggle for so many things,” she said.
Similarly, Bhadra Murthy Vemulapati, a postdoctoral researcher in plant pathology, said he has enjoyed working on collaborative projects at WSU. “Here it’s like teamwork,” he said, which makes it possible to get a lot more accomplished. “By the time I get one publication in India I will have four publications here,” he said.
Nishant Shahani, an assistant professor in Women’s Studies, advised scholars pay attention to service activities, as well as teaching and research, but not to get overwhelmed. “The transition from graduate school to be a junior faculty member is harder than people tell you,” he said. The pay increases, but the demands on your time intensify as well. “Sometimes you have to say no, which is hard to do when you are a junior faculty member,” he said.
Open mind, work hard
Saima Mirza, a visiting scholar affiliated with Biological Systems Engineering, said she has enjoyed her experience in Pullman. “I found a very good environment, especially for work,” she said. “Every person related to my work here always accommodated me as much as they can.”
Mirza, who is visiting from India, said she advises scholars to come with an open mind and work hard. “There are many opportunities for learning, getting knowledge, and enhancing skills and abilities. People are more cooperative here so be cooperative to others.”