FFEIT Newsletter Volume 7, Issue No 33, July 2022

Message from Managing Trustee, FFEIT

Dear Friends,

FFE has been busy during our ‘lean’ phase, as you will glean from reading this edition!

Every student is an invaluable asset and FFE would like to ensure that scholars and stakeholders can make the best of our partnership through as many engagements and learning opportunities as possible. Our teams have enabled exactly that, including the launch of our Open House series for this FY. We hope we can meet at least 10,000+ students through the virtual Open House Forum.

We invite you to participate in at least one Open House during the year. The Scholarship application cycle has begun and we expect students to renew their applications now! My appeal to donors is to please send in your donations at the earliest; it enables students to receive their scholarships when they need them the most.

Please refer students, volunteers and donors to FFE- so that they may also participate in our journey of promoting excellence and making a positive difference together!

Best wishes,
Sudha Kidao,
Managing Trustee, FFEIT

Message from COO, FFEIT

A pleasant and very welcome change in the last quarter was being able to meet several Donors, Scholars, Alumni, Partner organizations & Volunteers – in person. The energy levels in every one of those meetings were exceptional. 

  • Bright Future Visible: Through our partners, we had the opportunity to interact with over 1000 students from the financially challenged background who are getting geared to give their NEET & JEE in July. It was inspiring to see the grit, determination and focus these kids had on their faces. I am confident that all of them will do well and secure admissions into the best possible colleges. Wishing them all the very best!! Special thanks to Avanti Fellows, CSRL & Dakshana for organizing these meetings. 
  • Strong Support System: When we meet our donors, and they reinforce their commitment, it instils a lot of confidence in how we can create a larger impact in the coming days!! Special thanks to Leadership teams from AWOO, Axtria, CIBIL, Global Logics, Indus Towers, Ingersoll Rand, MSDF, Omnicom Media, RBL, Société General & Tesco for their time and support.  
  • Volunteers all Motivated: Mentors who have been supporting students, facilitators who have been shortlisting & guiding students: all of them are very excited and looking forward to another year of creating collective impact. 

Ram Kolavennu,
COO, FFEIT

NEWS & EVENTS

Donor Scholar Engagements

Donor-Scholar Meet | Altimetrik India Private Limited

The first Donor-Scholar engagement between Altimetrik India Private Limited and their cohort was organized on 22 April 2022. The session aimed at introducing the scholars to their donors, Altimetrik India, providing an overview of their work, and allowing the scholars to directly interact with the Altimetrik team members. During the session, the students shared their journeys and had a lively Q&A round with the senior members from Altimetrik. We thank Altimetrik India for being a part of the first Donor-Scholar meet and sharing valuable insights with their supported cohort of 50 scholars.

Donor-Scholar Meet | TESCO Bengaluru Private Limited

On 3 June 2022, FFE’s Donor-Partner, TESCO Bengaluru Private Limited met their cohort of Engineering Scholars. The interactive session included a special address by Ms Nimmi Sebastian on the “Importance of Communication and Soft Skills in the Workplace: Building Your Own Brand”. Scholars from the cohort shared their personal stories and the conversation ended with an enthusiastic question and answer session. We are grateful to the TESCO India team, for this insightful session.

Donor-Scholar Meet | Firstsource

On 6 May 2022, FFE Donor, Firstsource had the first virtual meet with the supported cohort of BTech scholars. The session included an address by Ms Natasha Sharangdhar- Vice President, Legal and Compliance, Firstsource India. We are grateful to Firstsource for being a part of the virtual meet and for their consistent support for the last five years

Donor-Scholar Meet| Lennox International

On 7 June 2022, FFE Donor, Lennox International organised a corporate visit for their supported scholars at their Chennai office. During their visit, the scholars got a chance to interact with the Lennox team and learn the latest aspects of Information technology during their session with Mr Sivakumar Govindrajan, Enterprise Architect, Lennox India. FFE is thankful to Lennox International for their efforts in engaging with the scholars and looks forward to having more such meets in the future.

Donor-Scholar Meet | Omnicom Media

Donor-Partner Omnicom Media met for a virtual interaction with their supported cohort of BTech scholars on 23 June 2022. Ms. Nalini Lalvani, CFO – Omnicom Media Group; Ms. Shailja Varghese, CCO – Omnicom Media Group, Ms. Noletta Luis, HR Specialist – Omnicom Media Group and Ms. Anju Kurien, Talent Director -Omnicom Media Group from the leadership team addressed the meet. The conversation was directed at introducing the donors, and scholars sharing their updates. We thank Omnicom Media for their encouragement and support.

FFEIT also extends its deepest gratitude to Individual Donors, including FFE’s Alumni Donors for taking the time to engage with their supported scholars. During the last quarter, 38 virtual sessions were conducted with Individual Donors and FFE’s Alumni Donors.

Awards & Accomplishments

The 11th edition of ‘The Spirit Of Humanity Awards’ recognized the social impact created by Foundation For Excellence and presented the foundation with the Regional Winner Award 2022. This is the second time that FFE has received the award under the ‘Social Impact’ category.

We are grateful to Americares India for recognizing FFE’s contribution in the field of education and we dedicate it to our donors, scholars, mentors and facilitators.

MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

All graduates must aspire to be the best version of themselves in today’s competitive society. FFE, through its Mentoring Program, is committed to providing timely career guidance to its scholars with the help of experienced industry members to create a positive and impactful outcome.

The mentorship cycle for the FY 2021-22 was recently completed with professionals from over 70 corporates guiding 1004 FFE Scholars. FFE is thankful to our network of Lawyers, BPharm and Engineering professionals, as well as our Alumni and other individuals for mentoring FFE scholars and helping them achieve their career goals. We look forward to your continued support for the upcoming Mentoring Cycle, 2022-23 as well. We have already received over 1270 registrations from 3rd Year Engineering Scholars as of now.

Mentee Testimonial

Prajwal Shripad Hegde
4th Year, BTech Scholar, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, BMS College of Engineering

“The Mentoring Program has been an exciting experience for me, all thanks to my mentor, Sandeep Bhat Sir. He has a friendly nature, which helped me to develop a strong bond with him and also gave me the confidence to freely share my shortcomings. He is very supportive and has an excellent way of conveying complex topics simply. It was a wonderful experience to be part of Sandeep sir’s sessions. I thank him for all his support in enhancing my skills.”

Mentor Testimonial

Sandeep Bhat
Staff Program Manager, LAM RESEARCH

“This program was very helpful not only for the mentee but also for me as a mentor. It has a systematic approach to helping the scholars with the requirements they would have at the beginning of the program. As a mentor, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I am looking forward to further engagements with FFE in the future.”

SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

FFE’s Skill Training Programs empower scholars with the required soft/technical skills to face new challenges and bridge the gap in the academic curriculum.

Other Skill Training Programs

  • FLY (Finding the Leader in You) Program in partnership with CMI and IIT-Gandhinagar: The 12-day long workshop was conducted for the incoming cohort of 2022, consisting of 34 students, in May 2022. The cohort was composed of 2nd year Engineering Scholars. This workshop was conducted by CMI – Competitive Mindset Institute Inc and is designed to teach noncognitive skills for the personality and character development of students.
  • Medical Webinar: A panel discussion was organized for the medical scholars on 24 April 2022 on ‘Healthcare Opportunities in Rural India’. The panel had a team of young and vibrant doctors sharing their views and experiences of working in the rural sector. The session saw over 500 participants where the panellists spoke on what inspired them to work in rural space and shared their learning about local communities. They also shed light on how to gain practical experience at work and the feasibility of earning while preparing for PG, and so on. The speakers were Dr. Alisha Kalyanpur, Dr. Pravin Singarayar, Dr. Akhand Singh and Dr. Mahendra Varman.

Scholar Testimonials: Skilling

Chowtakuri Harish Reddy
4th Year BTech Scholar, Mechanical Engineering
University College of Engineering, Osmania University     

“I have been a member of the FFE scholarship family for the past three years and I am grateful to be a part of it. Firstly, I would like to thank FFE for giving me free access to Coursera. Being a mechanical engineer, I have gone through only subject knowledge during my college. Through Coursera, I learned CAD and Digital Manufacturing, which helped me in the field of design. I got to improve my knowledge and skills through this course and learned the software Fusion 360. Being from a non-CS background, I wanted to learn coding languages but couldn’t make it possible earlier, until I got a chance to learn Python through Coursera. The courses are self-paced and have various assignments and quizzes to test our knowledge. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me by FFE and Coursera. I can confidently say I have improved a lot of knowledge and skills by utilizing Coursera courses. Also, the certificates that I got from completing the courses are greatly helpful in building my resume. Thank you FFE for providing a good platform like Coursera and Coursera for providing good courses.”

Atul Umak
4th Year, BTech Scholar, Civil Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur   

“At the beginning of my 3rd year, I decided to have a career in Software Development. I tried to learn from open sources like YouTube for a couple of months. But it was not structured learning, so I could not get that confidence and clarity about what I was learning. Then FFE came up with the Coursera training program, which has excellent courses. I did courses from the Data Structures and Algorithms Specialization, which was amazing. I understood the concepts very well and learning in a structured manner helped me to grasp concepts effectively. Also, I learned python from scratch through the Python for Everybody Specialization. I liked it so much that now I am using python as my primary language for coding. I also completed some courses on Networking, SQL, and Git. Overall, the Coursera learning program was a game-changer. I was able to add a lot of value to my skill set. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to FFE for providing such an excellent opportunity. I would also recommend that others who get this opportunity use it to its fullest.”

CORPORATE SESSIONS/WORKSHOPS

In June 2022, Foundation For Excellence had the opportunity to partake in events as part of CSR Month at Société Générale Global Solutions Centre (SG GSC). FFE shared the impact created through this partnership, with the Leadership Team and Employees of SG GSC. SG GSC also invited 20 of their supported scholars to their Bangalore office, to experience “A Day in the Corporate World”. It was an action-packed day, where the scholars had the opportunity to meet the Leadership team and at the same time participate in various sessions focused on themes such as – “The Importance of Being Innovative”, “How to Prepare for an Interview”, and “The Importance of Inclusion & Diversity in a Workplace,” to name a few, all conducted by SG employees.

FFE would like to thank SG GSC for this wonderful opportunity.

VOICE OF SCHOLAR

Current Scholar

Manisha Sharma
4th Year, BTech Scholar, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

Manisha hails from Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh. She has a small family- Manisha, her father and a younger brother who is studying in class XI. Manisha was only in her third class when a fatal fire took her mother’s life. Her father has been the sole bread earner of the family. Unable to complete his engineering degree, Manisha’s father has been a farmer without a job in the formal sector. He owns a small piece of land where they grow wheat. The annual income of the family is a meagre INR 65,000, which is often insufficient to sustain the family’s needs.

Despite the distress, Manisha has always been academically brilliant. She understood the importance of a good education early on. She completed her school education in Government schools, scoring an impressive 95% in the class tenth and 92.40% in class twelfth. She appeared for the JEE Advanced and scored a rank of 6510, which secured her admission at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, where she opted for Civil Engineering.

However, her dream college would have been a distant reality if it was not for the scholarship support that she received from Cognizant Foundation, facilitated by FFE. After learning about this scholarship from her college senior, she applied for the same and was selected as one of the recipients of the FFE-Cognizant Foundation Scholarship Program. She attributes the success of her degree to the support that she received right from the beginning of her course, which relieved her family of a huge financial burden.

As a female scholar, who has pursued her dreams with passion, Manisha is aware of the many challenges scholars like her face. She aspires to support as many students in the future and wishes to open an orphanage when it is feasible. She is motivated by her father constantly who has struggled daily to provide for the family. Manisha’s determination and grit have helped her land an impressive job at Jaguar Land Rover as a Graduate Software Engineer Trainee with an excellent salary package. She is excited to commence her journey in the corporate world and is looking forward to exploring a new city -Bengaluru. But mostly, she is happy about being able to support her family and give them the life they deserve.

Alumnus

Rakesh Mahanthi
National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli (2016-2020)
Edison Software Engineer, GE Healthcare, Bangalore

“I was born in a lower-middle-class family in the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. My parents instilled in me the importance of education from my childhood. Education is something that helps us discover our inner selves.” Drawing inspiration from great leaders like Swami Vivekananda and APJ Abdul Kalam, Rakesh decided to give his 100% towards education. With the support of his family, he achieved a 10.0 GPA during his10th and stood as the school topper. During his 12th, he scored 98.8% and stood as one of the district toppers. “With the great support provided by my family and teachers, I cracked JEE Mains and successfully got an engineering seat in NIT Trichy. In 2020, I completed my Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering, and I am currently working as an Edison Software Engineer with GE Healthcare, Bangalore.”

Although Rakesh made it into one of the top institutions in the country, he was constantly distressed about the financial aspects of his education. This caused a lot of anxiety and forced him to apply for an education loan. Recommended by his senior, Rakesh applied for the FFE scholarship program, which awards scholarships based on one’s merit and financial background. After going through a series of telephonic and personal interviews, he was awarded the scholarship, taking away a huge burden off his shoulders.

“Thanks to the FFE-AWOO scholarship, I was able to focus on my education during the 4 years of my BTech degree, without having to worry about finances. I also participated in various cultural and technical activities, which motivated me to start a literature & cultural club in college, called Akshara, which now consists of 50 students from 1st year to Final year. I also had a chance to intern at Samsung for 3 months in their IoT Web services division and finally, during my placements, I got selected by the first company that came to college – GE Healthcare.”

“Looking back at where I came from and where I am now, I can say that a lot of things played a prominent role in shaping me into the person I am today – FFE is one of them! After helping me succeed in pursuing my dreams, all that FFE appeals to its Alumni is to come back and support 2 scholars, whenever possible. In March 2022, I decided to do just that and adopted my first scholar studying at IIIT Palakkad! Recently, I got an opportunity to talk to him through the “Donor Scholar meet” organised by FFE. This call made me realise the impact of FFE’s Circle of Giving – I felt a great sense of pride and satisfaction! I appeal to my fellow alumni to come forward and do their part in bringing about a positive change. Let us contribute to this selfless endeavour!”

DONOR FEATURE

‘Thank you so much for allowing us to invest in the education of the children. We appreciate the incredible work you are doing and admire your professionalism and approach. Your passionate and constant effort toward the program and follow-up with the scholars has made the project a great success. Through your support, we were able to reach the right student and we appreciate the transparency you ensured throughout the process. We wish you good luck with your all-future endeavours and looking forward to collaborating with you in future.’  

Abirami Sivagnanam
Leader- Human Resources
Altimetrik India Private Limited

VOLUNTEER SPEAK

Dr. Saroj Kumar Patel
Rourkela, Odisha

Dr. Saroj Kumar Patel is working as a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department of the National Institute of Technology Rourkela, an Institute of national importance. Earlier, in this institute, he has already discharged various responsibilities as Dean (Academics), Dean (Students Welfare), Registrar, Head of Central Workshop Department and Head of Training and Placement Departments. He was also a member of the Board of Governors, the highest decision-making body of the institute. He served as Chief Warden for all ten of the university’s hostels, handling around 6000 students. He worked as a Project Officer, NTMIS (National Technical Manpower Information System) for the state of Odisha for around 8 years, handling its government and private engineering colleges, engineering diploma schools and colleges of Pharmacy and Management.

He was born and brought up in a poor family in Sundargarh of Odisha state. He was a topper in his class throughout his school career and obtained state government scholarships for his merit. He completed his BTech in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology Rourkela in the year 1985. Initially, he received industrial experience working with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Koraput Division, He obtained his MTech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai and his PhD degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. His broad areas of academic interest are statistical quality control, optimization, industrial engineering, and management. He has already supervised 9 PhD and 30 MTech thesis. Furthermore, he has published 79 research articles in peer-reviewed international journals and 57 conference proceedings. He has also published three textbooks on topics like Basic Statistics, Operations Research and MATLAB. He has been a reviewer of 14 reputed international journals. He is a Fellow Member of the Institution of Engineers (India).

He came to know about Foundation For Excellence (FFE) from one of the alumni in the year 2002. He has been the only Facilitator for FFE in arranging scholarships for poor students staying in slum areas in and around Rourkela- students studying in government engineering and medical colleges for the last 20 years.  As a facilitator, he has arranged FFE scholarships for as many as 51 students so far.

FFE Updates

FFE hosts a series of Open House events each year to meet and interact with its key stakeholders – Students, Alumni, Volunteers, Mentors, Facilitators, and Donors. This year as well, FFE has scheduled 9 Virtual Open House events starting 30 June 2022. The events are organized state-wise and have an estimated participation of 800 scholars per session.

The first in our series of Open House events included more than 700 participants from Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Odisha, Sikkim & Tripura. 

The keynote speaker for the first event was Ms. Amrita Singh, Head-Business Transformations, Design Tech R&D and Open Innovations, Société Générale Global Solutions Centre, India & Romania. Ms. Amrita led an insightful conversation on finding one’s individuality and identity amidst the growing challenges in life.

Schedule for upcoming Open House Events

FFE hopes for successful participation from all our supporters in making this series a resounding success.

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