Around 100 Access students along with the Access teachers visited the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai on Wednesday, December 28, 2022. They took part in a day full of activities and presentations organised by the Consulate.
Following a security check, everyone gathered in the auditorium to be welcomed by Mr. Scott Hartmann, Cultural Affairs Officer. It was followed by a presentation titled “Space Economy: a new frontier of human endeavours” by Dr. Venkat Narayanaswamy, a Fullbright Nehru Research Scholar and Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State University. He gave an overview of how space is currently utilised in the service sector for geotracking, predicting weather patterns, agricultural monitoring, and so on, before demonstrating its future scope in the manufacturing and advertising sectors by putting factories in orbit and integrating the entire space into a global trade ecosystem. Students were enthralled by the topic and asked Dr. Venkat several questions.
After a short break, alumni of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program addressed the students from grades 9 through 11. They talked about the process of applying for the merit-based scholarship program and shared their experience of living in the U.S. for a year with a host family, being a part of the American education system, and teaching the people in the U.S. about their homeland and its culture. The students found the session really beneficial and motivating.
Persis Neumann, a Fulbright Fellow and Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Healthcare Ethics at Duquesne University, met with college and grade 12 students to give a presentation on the differences between American and Indian culture. She conducted an activity on culture and shared about her experiences as an immigrant in the U.S. She also showed how she stays in touch with her Indian culture through her entrepreneurial skills as the founding director of Kelir Books.
Students took turns to visit the American Centre and looked at the replica of NASA’s mars rover “Opportunity”. They learned about its mission in Mars and enjoyed viewing the data it collected in VR. They also participated in NASA’s “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign by submitting their names in the website.
Students then had an orientation program about the American Centre and USIEF, in which they learned how to apply for a membership at the American Centre Library and how to use the various features made available through the membership. They were shown a comprehensive list of options they can explore as Access alumni through the United States-India Educational Foundation and how to successfully plan to apply for it at least a year beforehand. Finally, after having lunch at the open pavilion, students returned to Pondicherry with good memories and valuable information.