Giving away the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)-2011 awards to nine students here on Thursday, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S.-based Educational Testing Services (ETS) Walt MacDonald said the awards were initiated in 2010 to give more opportunities to students from India to help them realise their academic potential and enable them to become leaders and catalysts of change in their local communities as well as the global community.
ETS honoured nine high-performing students from India, awarding $60,000 in scholarship funding for undergraduate or graduate study in 2011. While three students received $10,000 each, six were awarded $5,000 each for their study in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia or any other European country.
The recipients were: (In the $10,000 category) Gayathry Ravikumar (Chennai), Omkar Deshmukh (Mumbai) and Sruthi Chandrasekaran (Chennai); (In the $5,000 category) Apurva Bamezai (Delhi), Debajyothi Chatterjee (Kolkata), Dinakar Ayalasomayajula (Hyderabad), Karanveer Mohan (Delhi), Naveed Kanjiyam (Mumbai) and Pradhayini Ramamurthy (Coimbatore).
Executive Director of the Government and External Relations of ETS Chuck Melley said 655 students were initially selected from the hundreds of applications received. “Of them, we shortlisted 36 for the semi-final stage and 18 were again shortlisted as finalists. Finally, we identified nine.”
The scholarships were given on their application and a 600-word essay accompanying the application, university score transcripts, overall academic background and an interview over Skype.
The scholarship funds will be disbursed by ETS to the students' respective institutions and will be applied to their 2011-12 tuition fees on their arrival on the campus, Mr. Melley said.
Interacting with The Hindu after the award ceremony, the jubilant young winners voiced a similar note: “It is an achievement for us and the scholarship has played a major role in our selection by the universities and colleges. It would also reduce our financial load.”
All of them have been selected by top institutions. Gayathry will be joining University of California - Berkeley for an MS degree in chemical engineering, Omkar has been selected by McGill University-Montreal for a PG programme in computer science, and Sruthi will be joining Lady Margaret College-Oxford for a Master's programme in social policy.
Apurva has been selected by Cambridge University for an M.Phil programme in development studies, Debajyothi will be joining Technical University of Munich for an MS degree in computer science, Dinakar has been selected by ENSTA-Prague for a PG programme, Karanveer Mohan has been selected by Stanford University for an undergraduate programme in computer science, Naveed Kanjiyam will be joining the University of Toronto for a Bachelor's degree and Pradhayini will be joining Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, for a Master's degree in embedded systems.