Sep 182018

My life experiences have taught me that living or working only to sustain myself is perfect way to be miserable. This is why I want to shape myself a future, where I am focused on serving the less privileged and supporting the future generations to come. This is why I want to be a professor for three reasons as all of these interest me equally – to support and mentor students, to develop cutting edge technology and build new knowledge, and to be involved in service based activities. My education at Oxford will be a stepping stone towards developing a personality capable of performing the above mentioned duties by intellectually challenging me, and expanding my critical thinking and reasoning abilities.  

I feel strongly about supporting the less privileged. To serve them, since I got my first job as a freshman, I have been spending 10% of my income to serve them. Soon, I formed an organization called “Money Spent Right (MSR)” to encourage and motivate the idea of saving a percentage of one’s income and spending it on the less fortunate. I have posted my stories and those of others to the website – MSR has also helped me realize that I have a heart for service, to be appreciative and unselfish for what I possess, and to be conscious of how I can help others. At Oxford, I would find an incredible diversity that would further my reach for this cause. I can also do so by collaborating with some of the focused Rhodes Scholars Group, as they themselves are trying to leave a positive impact in the world. 

I worked on another similar but different project. One of my female friends opened up to me about her menstrual related problems. When I started researching about menstruation amongst the problems women face, I was left dumbfounded. I had so many questions, but no answers. Along with two of my friends, we applied and received a USD10,000 grant to spread education on Menstrual Hygiene Management(MHM). I represented our group in India to coach over 450 women in my home state of Uttar Pradesh, which is both economically and socially backward. We covered the cities of Lucknow, Kanpur, Sitapur, Agra, and Gurugram over the course of the project. This is still an ongoing project and we are expanding it to other surrounding areas. MHM is a new field for me but it is due to my inquisitive personality that I have learnt to publicly speak about such issues with conviction. We would like to publish our findings in an academic journal soon.  

From this project, I realised that I must first diversify my skillset by studying Master in Studies in Women’s Studies for the first 9 months of my Rhodes Scholarship. The focus of this program is to develop a deep understanding of the theoretical issues raised by women’s studies such as the patriarchal mentality and the it’s ramifications. This education will enable me to understand the situations women experience and help play a role in abolishing the taboos and marginalisation they face, and speak up about the associated issues. This course would also allow me to spread the MSR awareness with a focus on women related issues. I require this background in order to publish the findings from the menstrual hygiene study conducted in India. Research studies like this are rare and never have been conducted with the target audience being Indian women.  

My role model is Professor Farrokh Mistree. One example of his dedication is when he had his shoulder and arm fractured at age 73, and still called me via Skype while lying on his bed, to assist me with an application. I am trying to develop my social conscience with such degree of commitment and dedication to help not just students but whoever is in dire need.  

 Later that year, I joined their Systems Realization Laboratory, where I found a fantastic project and mentor (PhD Candidate–Anand Balu). The complex system we are realising is the hot rod rolling process chain. A dichotomy between the theory and reality exists when trying to use models that may be incomplete or inaccurate. The manufacturing companies spend a tremendous amount of time and money on trials and errors to come up with exact manufacturing conditions. We are trying to save these resources by framing questions around the fundamental models of steel hot rod rolling, creating a microstructural model using ANSYS and ABAQUS, and developing an inverse method to mitigate the uncertainties. Our method provides the most satisficing and environmentally friendly product while reducing the wastage. We have published a paper on the application of this method and by the end of my thesis, I anticipate publishing two more.  

 In conducting this in-depth research, I have discovered a passion for materials. What fascinates me is that a fragile change in conditions could lead to a phase transformation, and the same material could have deviant properties. We have to be cautious and intricate about these precise conditions when inventing new materials. This is what Hydrogen in Metals(HEmS) at Oxford is trying to accomplish by studying the Hydrogen embrittlement in steels to manufacture ultra-high tensile steel. When the new kind of steel will be introduced, it will make the design of automobiles, wind turbines, buildings, etc. more efficient and its production would be more energy efficient. This work demands the use of computational simulation, which is my expertise. For these reasons, I would like to pursue MSc by Research in Engineering Science with a focus on Materials Engineering alongside Professor Alan Cocks, who is a world-renowned expert in steel and related manufacturing processes, and Dr. Olga Barrera, who besides her outstanding research accomplishments, is also a strong advocate for women. After having spoken to their respective students at Oxford, I am impressed by the commitment both the faculties demonstrate towards helping their students succeed. Therefore, delving into this research group would empower me to work on challenging problem that are fundamental for the steel industry to move forward.   

 The education at Oxford will challenge me to mould into a more intellectually capable and creative person, thus furthering my prospects of becoming a successful professor. I am also committed to academic research on developing ultra-high tensile steel and helping the research team revolutionise the steel industry. Becoming a Rhodes Scholar is necessary for me to expand MSR by collaborating with fellow students and faculties of diverse interests and providing a focus on women’s struggle. By bringing in new ideas and leading for the betterment of the society, I believe that I will be a great addition to Oxford and the Rhodes community. 

Pranav Mohan

Change and progress are two words that define my character and my ultimate goals. I have a vision to bring a global change by targeting the psychology, because that is the easiest to change. My aim is to incur a self-progressive routine for myself and then help the people around me to progress themselves. In my perspective, walking towards a defined target should be everyone’s goal while keeping in mind that things don’t go as planned but still the target should remain unchanged.

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