Of Awards and Recognitions

Congratulations are in order. Ritika Yadav, Cohort of 2024 at IFMR GSB has been announced as the winner of Live Project by Tally Solutions. She will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 10,000.

Live Project by Tally Solutions focused on the Big Belly of Indian Businesses: the informal and unregulated sector of businesses exclusively managed by the owners, who manage everything from supply to administration themselves. For ease, they called them micro businesses. The project entailed preparing a detailed business plan which covered areas that identified the triggers/barriers to, needs of and product scope of product adoption for micro businesses, product proposition and a go-to-market (GTM) plan.

The Jugalbandi of Arts and University Life

Srinidhi Pennathur, SIAS Cohort of 2025 shares her story, of interweaving art with University life, set against the backdrop of the learning tapestry at Krea. Srinidhi, most recently performed at Krea University’s Convocation 2023.

Srinidhi, you are a violinist and a vocalist; almost like a double major in the context of Krea; how do they co-exist in harmony and how does one affect and influence each other?

Within the context of Carnatic Music, I’ve found that being a violinist has only broadened my horizons as a vocalist, and vice versa. When I learn to sing a song that I perform on the violin, I develop a clearer understanding of the lyrics or ‘sahithyam’ and its meaning. Knowing the exact words that I play is really important because it delivers the intended emotion or bhava of the song, even though the words aren’t being sung. It would be as though I were playing what I would sing, and that marks a good violinist. Singing also allows for more in-depth clarity with regards to nuances and intricacies that become much easier to play on the violin. Similarly, learning the violin has especially shaped my comprehension of core concepts in Carnatic Music such as Shruti, Tala and Laya Shuddha. (pitch, beat and rhythm) Learning to physically play in different speeds, with different ‘pitches’ has helped me sing the same with more ease and precision. All this to say that, instrument and voice co-exist in harmony because together they display a beautiful symbiotic relationship that constantly benefit the other.

You’ve spent a year at Krea; has the landscape and the learnings at Krea contributed to your journey as a musician?

The very arts-oriented environment at Krea has given me plenty of opportunities to showcase my talent on the violin and through singing. Performing different genres for different events has exposed me to the wonderful niceties of vast, yet soulful musical forms. I’ve also been able to further my understanding of my own art and reduce my stage fright. I would also say that the kind of discipline and work ethic that the academic trajectory of Krea demands in terms of punctuality and time commitment has urged me to make for myself a practice routine that is as, if not more time-consuming and intense.

What was it like for you to share/perform your music at the institution’s convocation? 

To be given the opportunity to perform in the presence of esteemed dignitaries, professors, graduates, parents and other guests for such a milestone event was truly an honor, to say the least. I was greatly humbled by the praise I received for this performance and thankful to the Vice-Chancellor for noticing my talent and allowing me to showcase it.

What is your take on the role of arts/artistes in building the culture of an institution and how would you like to contribute and inspire the incoming batch?

The thing about art is that, it’s transformative. It contributes to building a culture by advocating self expression, bringing people from different backgrounds together, and acts a common medium of understanding between individuals. Furthermore, it is a way to learn about and explore its plethora of forms. I would like to contribute by representing Carnatic Classical Music whenever I can. To the incoming batch, I would tell them to take initiative and do things outside of their comfort zone. I would also want to reassure them that they will be okay, and that they will survive college. No seriously, they will!

To view Srinidhi’s performance from Convocation 2023, please click here.

Finding freedom with financial literacy

<strong>Finding freedom with financial literacy<br><br></strong>

In conversation with Chaarmikha Nagalla on her experiments with all things finance, contributions to the world of content creation, and projects in the pipeline

There’s a spark in Chaarmikha Nagalla’s eyes and her face lights up everytime she talks about finance. “There’s a certain joy that comes with sharing your lessons on finances with others. It’s nice to see them implement your suggestions in their lives and benefit from it,” beams Chaarmikha from the Cohort of 2023 at the School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences, Krea University.
A student of Economics with concentrations in Computer Science and Business Studies, Chaarmikha’s interest in business and finance intensified during the pandemic-induced lockdown. “I religiously followed a handful of Finfluencers on Instagram and picked up many trade secrets from them. It widened my horizons and shaped my perspective on managing personal finance. I remember investing my first pay cheque of Rs 1,500 from a competition in a mutual fund. Now it has compounded at a good rate and I’ve made a profit,” recollects Chaarmikha, who has been breaking down the ABCs of finance, simplifying jargon and educating her followers on social media.

Of connections and collaborations
Budgeting, claiming insurance, investing… Chaarmikha sheds light on an array of topics to help followers make informed decisions. “Financial literacy is key to everyday decision-making. I’m a firm believer of thinking about money in terms of time and time in terms of money. Discussing money must not be frowned upon and information must be accessible to everyone. The wealth of information can be overwhelming but gaining financial fluency allows you to evaluate news, understand trends and business announcements,” reiterates Chaarmikha, who is also the Program Director of Project EIFL (Educate India Financially), where the team collectively envisions a financially literate world by striving to be every youngster’s go-to financial awareness program to intellectually equip themselves.

Alongside finance, her passion for empowerment and entrepreneurship brought her responsibilities and opportunities to create an impact among a larger crowd. Chaarmikha is the President of the Hyderabad Coalition of the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign that works towards bringing a change in the perception of gender dynamics globally. “The more you learn, the more you diversify. Liberal arts does that to you. Also, for me, the drive to work for women’s empowerment comes from personal sentiments given the taboo and stereotypes that I witness as a woman in everyday life. We need to normalise conversations around it,” smiles this two-time TedXSpeaker.

Chaarmikha also previously co-founded The Indian Conclave, a start-up registered under the Government of Telangana; where her team closely worked with educational institutions on leadership cultivation, entrepreneurial interest and public speaking for the youth to be equipped in this unpredictable world. “We identified and taught the key skills that are not taught at schools but are crucial for students to thrive in this competitive environment. We’ve impacted 15,000 students so far,” says a proud Chaarmikha.

Besides this, Chaarmikha’s impressive line of work includes volunteering experiences as part of campaigns and at various organisations. One that Chaarmikha cherishes the most is when she got selected among the 200 creators for the LinkedIn Creator Accelerator Program. “It was life-changing. I was the youngest from the lot and working alongside intellectual minds from all walks of life boosted my confidence. I got to explore and experiment with the world of content creation. There comes a responsibility with every word you put out there on digital platforms for readers to consume. The internet is a powerful resource and I intend to make the best use of it,” admits Chaarmikha who has her plate full with content creation, data analysis, social media marketing, business development and freelance graphic designing.

Campus diaries
Despite wearing many hats, Chaarmikha has always taken the positions held at Krea University seriously and goes the extra mile to give her best to the legacy. The elaborate list includes – Elected Representative of the Connect Club (MUN, Debate and Quizzing societies) for two consecutive years, Student Ambassador of Outreach, Elected Representative of the School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences at the University-Wide Committee on the work-study program, Founding Treasurer of the Economics Society and Executive Board member (Public Relations head) of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship club. “When you love your work, you don’t see it as a burden,” she chips in.
Chaarmikha actively engages in activities pertaining to innovation and entrepreneurship, mindfulness, nature & outdoors, Connect (MUN, quiz, debate) and sports. “The experience at Krea varies for different people. It’s a platform to grow if you use the opportunity wisely. Most of my content for social media is inspired by Public Policy classes. I learn from the conversations I have with peers and professors everyday. My exposure to disciplines like Design Thinking, Philosophy and Ethics have also transformed my understanding of the world as an individual,” adds Chaarmikha.

The road ahead
Going forward, Chaarmikha wishes to pursue a career in FinTech. “I either want to pursue a Master’s degree or land a job; as long as it lets me pursue my passion on the sidelines. I will start a digital marketing agency if neither of my plans work out. I would also love to contribute to content houses and their newsletters. Creative economy is another domain of interest. In a week’s time, a few of us are pitching an idea to investors on FinTech. A larger topic I’m also working on is inclusion of women in the financial ecosystem,” offers Chaarmikha, an overview of her plans in the pipeline.
True to what Chaarmikha’s LinkedIn profile reveals, she breathes content 24×7. What truly keeps her tank full is taking the time out for self-introspection. “Thinking for yourself and by yourself is crucial for personal growth. This is the mantra that keeps me going,” she sums up.

Quick three with Chaarmikha

What are the best books to start learning about finance?

  • The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason
  • The Financial Independence Marathon by Vinod Bhat

A tip to keep in mind while consuming information from Finfluencers on social media?

Diversify your sources and be mindful of them so you don’t fall prey to misinformation. Don’t take things blindly, do your groundwork.

How to start saving money?

Investment is the best way forward. Do your research on the benefits of compounding and budgeting. I’d encourage cash transactions so that you are aware of how much you spend.

Experience top global universities- Spend a summer on a study abroad  programme

<strong>Experience top global universities- Spend a summer on a study abroad  programme</strong>

Discovering literature in the heart of London at King’s College, experiencing learning from the heart of a start-up hub at UC Berkeley, pursuing environmental law alongside industry experts at Nottingham Trent University, or immersing oneself in Data and Policy at a Centre of excellence at Harris School of Public Policy, this could be you, next summer.

Every summer, undergraduate students across India step into their break, choosing internships and study programmes to pack their summer with experiences and learning. A short study abroad programme provides them with a diverse culture and knowledge-based experience while also reducing the pressure when it comes to funds, a best-of-both-worlds scenario.

In an attempt to curate a roadmap for students eager to explore study abroad opportunities, we spoke to Sai Balaji Suresh, a third-year student at SIAS, Krea University who has spent many summers undertaking programmes with prestigious universities across the globe, including the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR), Stanford Summer Session, London School of Economics (LSE) and King’s College London and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania during high school.

Sai takes us through his journey and together, we decode the opportunities present for students who wish to study abroad for the summers. But we don’t just stop there, we also deep dive into Sai’s experiences across the years from high school up until university, in curating an eclectic profile for himself through experiences that are organic but also count.

Summers that were

“I joined Krea in 2020 in the middle of COVID and had consciously let go of many fully funded opportunities from top international universities. But as I made that decision I also made a pact with my parents that every summer I would head to a university abroad for a short summer programme and I did. Last year it was LSE, then HPAIR and now Stanford.

Sai with Nobel Laureate Alvin Roth, emeritus professor in the Department of Economics at Stanford

Each of these experiences have been exciting and exhilarating, providing me the opportunity to make learning decisions that fit my future path, be a part of dynamic groups and meet inspiring people from all across the world.”

At Stanford, Sai participated in an eight weeks summer session where he undertook classes on Food, Sustainability and Culture, People Analytics: Data and Algorithms as Managerial Tools and High-Performance Computing and AI. At LSE, Sai did a three weeks virtual programme on strategic management but couldn’t head to the campus because of the pandemic. As a delegate at HPAIR, he and other students and young professionals from around the world met, engaged and learnt from government leaders, business executives, social sector pioneers, celebrities, and leading academics.

Right from the beginning

With a dream to venture out of India right after high school, Sai always ensured that his academic scores were highly competitive. And the summer programme abroad stint has been a part of Sai’s life right from Class 10. At King’s College London, Sai participated in Mission Discovery, a space-related programme for high schoolers where he interacted with top astronauts like Michael Foale and learnt about biological experiments in space from International Space Station Educational Trust (ISSET) Chairman Chris Barber. Yet another summer, his team was in the Top 3 at the Business Plan competition in the Global Young Leaders Academy (GYLA) at the Wharton School.

A simulation of the future

“My experience at Stanford was like a simulation; it has instilled confidence in both my parents and me that I can do well if I plan to study abroad. At Krea, I was able to gain the needed academic prudence for that, and these summer programmes have helped me with confidence. Programmes like these help shape our personalities in dynamic ways. Stanford, for instance, has a rigorous pedagogy and it can be tough but Krea has similar assessment schedules and patterns and also provides us space to indulge in clubs and committees and events; all these, put together have helped me hone critical skills that will help me cope in any of the top universities abroad if I am to choose them for the future.”

Roadmap to pursuing a short study abroad programme

When asked for a few suggestions for students who may be interested to do the same, Sai shares key takeaways from his experience.

R for Research

There are many options available across the world for short study abroad programmes and research is a good way to start.

“I looked at quite a few universities but chose Stanford. I explored the University of Pennsylvania and looked at courses at UC Berkeley but they weren’t apt for my goal. LSE, I had already pursued last summer and the Harvard programmes were shorter, so Stanford fit the bill right for what I wanted this summer. “

Find your fit

● Finding your course fit is important. Hence choosing these programmes after having some clarity on your majors and minors could help

● Choose courses that offer something distinct in your favorite disciplines

● If you have a dream university you couldn’t get into for your graduation, experience one summer
● If you have the bandwidth and budget go to these universities, explore the academic rigor, network and discover the culture
● Some of the programmes just demand academic transcripts but some may ask for an SOP
● If not a study abroad programme, try internships. There are opportunities abroad that aid selected candidates with documentation and visa to travel and work with them
● Explore opportunities within your own university for such programmes. At Krea we have some stellar partnerships that allow us to go to universities like Nottingham Trent, Sciences Po, Harris School of Public Policy, Babson and more

Explore funding options

For funding support, approach the schools. Many of them, including Harvard and LSE, provide full to partial funding for the short study programmes to deserving candidates. “Some of my colleagues were funded partially by their alma maters and by patrons,” adds Sai.

Why Krea?

“I could probably have made it to any university with my academic record but Krea was the only university I applied to in India. I was very sure of heading abroad for my undergraduate studies but then the pandemic happened. We were to be the second graduating batch of Krea; the campus was good, professors really cared for us, and to top it all, it was a new and unique university in the space of Liberal Arts Education. In hindsight, it was the right decision.”

“When you go abroad you have to cope with multiple things beyond academics, such as living alone and sometimes when you come from a certain educational background or board and it may or may not work. Everything is so ambiguous in the beginning, and then comes homesickness and the pandemic was all about being connected virtually. It’s a great idea to study in a university close to your roots which match global standards and then do summer programmes and mould yourself for a life of study abroad, probably through a Master’s.”

Being at Krea and helping build its legacy is something close to Sai’s heart. The buddy system at Krea where a senior is assigned to an incoming student was one of the major reasons that drew Sai to Krea.

At Krea he has interned as a mentor and operations intern with Mentor Match, supporting edtech the startup in its initial stages and also worked as an author for Riskpro Management Consultancy. Sai has also had varied internship experiences over time including one at Padma Shri awardee and the famous Pad Man of India Arunachalam Muruganantham’s factory at Coimbatore during his high school. He also has spent considerable time working with an NGO providing accessible education modules to underserved community schools. Sai believes many of these experiences have made him realise the privilege he holds and how his future path should have an impact on enabling changes not just for himself but for others who may not have as many choices as him.

“In the future, I plan to do something which is more altruistic beyond the conventional, work towards social causes and the planet while creating impact in domains of behavioural sciences, sustainability, and public policy, says Sai as he signs off.

My Journey to Krea

<strong>My Journey to Krea</strong>

By Rama Vaishnavi Bhogavilli, SIAS Cohort of 2025

Where it all began

“It all started seven months ago when I decided to do an internship that aims to help students find their right career routes and make them aware of the opportunities beyond school. Until then, I neither had much awareness of the prospects outside nor was I aspiring to do anything significant. It was after I undertook this internship that the desire to do something worthy started growing. The career path I wished to choose was still very ambiguous. I interacted with a graduate from the University of Hyderabad and her work truly inspired me, at that time I wanted to study something of the same accord. With a dilemma I had on the path I should choose, I started exploring more options. That is when I heard of the concept of liberal education. It was very new to me and I was barely aware of this field or the universities that encourage this sort of education. I started reaching out and interacting with a diverse set of people and based on the information I received, I was completely convinced that this was the right choice for me.”

Liberal education calling

Being a completely new stream, I wanted to get into the best institutions that encouraged this kind of inquisitiveness in us as learners. During my extensive search, one of my cousins strongly recommended Krea as the best choice for me. I hadn’t heard of the university before but after getting a thorough idea of Krea- the Interwoven Learning, extensive non-academic engagements and more, I was deeply impressed with the way of education here. Social studies is the subject that fascinates me the most and something I wish to pursue down my career path too. I have tried engaging in relevant classes and activities, and I am extremely glad that Krea allows and provides a lot of scope to explore the discipline. We have the opportunity to explore varied ideas and perspectives on the subjects which are multi-dimensional and the internships curated for us at NGOs across the country are very helpful. Another area of my interest is Computer Science which has undoubtedly become one of the most essential disciplines in this technology-driven world. 

New beginnings at Krea

In addition to that, apart from academics, I have always had a keen interest in in different extracurricular activities. The spectrum of such activities offered at Krea through various clubs is wide-ranging and there is something to do, within and beyond the classrooms at all times.  Without much ado, I applied to Krea, and after a the entire process of admissions and eventual joining and orientation, I am now at university. It’s been a month and I thoroughly enjoy each moment of my campus life. I am reassured that I have taken the right decision. Despite the little challenges I face in this new environment, I have people here who are always with me and encouraging me at each step. This is a phase I am delighted to experience.

My journey to Krea

<strong>My journey to Krea</strong>

By Wahiq Iqbal, Cohort of 2025

A little something about me

I am Wahiq Iqbal and I come from Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, a beautiful valley nestled between mountains. I am currently a first-year student at Krea University and plan to major in Computer Science. I love designing and also enjoy photography. I am an introvert but I easily open up to people I feel comfortable with.

My journey to Krea

My journey to Krea started in February 2022, when I had just undertaken my 12th class examinations and was worried about my future. I was feeling anxious about getting into a good university. In the process, I was researching on colleges voraciously to see which one would suit me best, and that’s when I suddenly stumbled upon a vlogger, Gauri Goyal who at that time was a third-year student at Krea. She had uploaded a vlog showcasing a full campus tour of Krea and that’s what really piqued my interest to come to Krea.

I didn’t have any idea of what I wanted to become as I loved designing but I had chosen science in my 11th and 12th classes. Hence choosing a variety of subjects and keeping avenues open will provide me the flexibility in choosing my pathway in the future. Picking something based on how much you enjoy doing it and find interesting is as good a reason as any, so don’t be afraid to not have your whole life planned ahead of you. I went through the same experience before joining Krea.

I submitted my application form on the last date of the deadline and that too with a lot of typos and errors. For a long time, I didn’t hear anything from Krea and I was losing hope but a few months later when I finally got accepted for the Online Krea Immersive Case (OKIC) round, my happiness knew no bounds. The professors on the OKIC day were so friendly, and I also got to meet fellow aspirants. Before coming to the campus, we had a WhatsApp discussion group where we would get to know each other, our experiences and share varied thoughts.

To speak about my joy at starting my university life, I have to say I was excited to come to university for many reasons. A major one was the independence I would gain, and control over when, how, and where I wish to do things (except lectures of course). Maggi at 1 AM is allowed because no one can stop you (though that’s not healthy, so perhaps the only thing stopping you is your conscience). Another reason was the variety of clubs and committees you can join, anything you can think of, and beyond, it is right here. And if it isn’t already, you can create one and run it yourself. Last but not the least, I am here to learn, and get my degree.

The journey to Krea has been tough but I am incredibly grateful for the fantastic friends I have made, the experiences I have had, and the ones to come.

On the Research Quest

On the Research Quest

5 Students at Krea share their stories as budding researchers

In a world that’s evolving faster than ever before, the most critical of questions are novel and unscripted. Knowledge driven growth that’s fuelled by innovation is the need of the hour.

Students at Krea are on a quest for knowledge, some of them having trod onto the path of research much prior to stepping into the world of Krea. They are curious investigators with research interests across the social, political, scientific, and technical spectrum. Questioning the status quo, attempting to solve the unanswered, challenging their own selves, advancing knowledge, each of them are reshaping the norm.

Hear their stories in their own words.

Prashanthi Subbiah from SIAS Cohort of 2023

Ground Zero

I think my interest in research began as a quest to understand certain aspects, be it an event or a fact that is widely accepted. I have always been someone who asks questions. To bring up an example related to the subjects I have taken up in university, if a major political event took place, I would always ask why was it such a big deal; sometimes I wouldn’t fully understand what news channels were making a fuss about. More often than not, I would ask my parents, and they always encouraged me to seek out answers for myself. After a while, it became a habit for me to do a quick Google search after I find out about something new. 

R for Research

Most of my research experience has been at Krea. I was part of a group of researchers in summer 2021, under Prof Sumitra Ranganathan and Prof Naina Majrekar to track slave trade along the Coromandel Coast (with specific focus on Pulicat Lake) by the Dutch East India Company. We made data visualisations and compiled literature on the same. My second research internship at Krea was with the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, under Prof Shanti Pappu, Dr Kumar Akhilesh, and Dr Prachi Joshi. All 3 of them taught us step-by-step about stone tools found at a Paleolithic site, 70 kms from Chennai. We began with the most basic concepts, such as differentiating between a stone tool and naturally-occurring stones and then delved into how these tools were excavated, preserved and different techniques used to analyse them to obtain more information such as a tool’s use. Using this knowledge, we created an educational video on these topics, which was aimed specifically for school children. 

A Milestone

I have done in-depth research essays and papers for my coursework, and for a book I wrote on 20th Century History. This book initially started as a compilation of notes to help myself study, as I wasn’t satisfied with how I was performing in class. I did research, both virtual and physical which greatly improved my understanding of the material. Eventually I published it to help other students and teachers out there in 2020-21. 

One chapter at a time 

There is a unique feeling that sticks with me every time I step into a research project. At the very beginning, the task I am looking at always seems enormous. I feel like I have a lot to learn and process each time I begin a new project, and that need to understand motivates me to get organised and start putting my thoughts together little-by-little until I’m able to come up with something substantial. This process is a journey of its own, which gets me into the groove of working on a research project. 

An evolving worldview

A major takeaway for me has been to always have my mind open, and be ready for new information. Especially in a time dominated by technology, where information is more accessible than ever, it can become overwhelming at times. So, the importance of being ready to assimilate as much as you can, as well as obtaining the important facts from much of the noise has become paramount to how I look at everyday aspects.

Exploring pathways

I am considering a career in research and I believe for any career path, subject knowledge is a requirement, and obtaining it would require some degree of research. These experiences have also been humbling learning experiences, as I have always stepped in with very little knowledge, which goes to show how important having an open mind is. I have also had to be very persistent and have fine eye for detail as well, which have definitely shaped me as a person.

Vishesh Agarwal from SIAS Cohort of 2023

The Starting Point

It all started when I read a lot of history and political science during the pandemic and got to know about the illustrious and rather unknown beauties of Calcutta, the Beth-El Synagogue and the Meghan David Synagogue. I got to know how events transpired and these pieces of excellence were left to rot. Surprisingly these synagogues did not have a rabbi and both of them are rather significant for the Jews around the world, especially our subcontinent. That’s how I had my first research experience.

A gateway to experiences 

All my work may not be pure research but I enjoy interviewing people and learning from their lives over the years. For example, I have always been fond of Cholas and their art and I got the opportunity to visit their museum of collected works of Chola artists over the last few decades and spent time with a couple of Chola painters and an academic there, understanding them better. At Krea, I have done more structured projects like with IC3 movement where we conducted a survey of counselors and tried to provide for an analysis and with the help of Bhakti Shah, Krea’s Director of Outreach, I led a project where other collaborating universities were solely represented by professors, while we were represented by our students. Prof Chirag Dhara and I share the same interests in the current radical changes in Chile which we researched and discussed at great length about with other students bringing in ideas from their area of interest. Even though it was my first year at Krea, I got a research opportunity with Equity in Higher Education where I helped them to create a university database for students from the Bahujan community so that they get benefited with better education alongside an inclusive peer group. Lastly, the experience with Professor Kalpita Bhar Paul was greatly inspired by the IPCC report that stated many metropolitan cities of India might not exist in near future, including Kolkata, my home town. I wanted to know more about the subject and my mentor was truly helpful in this regard. 


In research, even when you are working with hard data and raw facts, the stories behind those facts make you more sensitive to the fact instead of disbanding it as a statistic. This not only helped me with being more sensitive and empathetic but also made me feel inspired by their struggles. 

The lessons learnt

I am not too sure about my career options as of now but I see being a researcher as one of the top options for sure. These experiences have definitely equipped me with a lot of tools that will come in handy no matter what. What it has helped me most with is the comfort of saying ‘I don’t know’ because as a researcher you can disprove something but cannot always come up with an alternative and then accepting that you don’t know helps in life too because we are always trying to prove ourselves as someone who knows everything. 

New perspectives, varied lenses

Research gives you an opportunity to evolve as a scholar but at Krea every day I see things with new perspectives from different lenses. Even though you might not be aligned to that, it’s important to know the other side and that sensitivity and patience is a gift of research.

Agnij Purushothaman from SIAS Cohort of 2023

The Research and the researcher

Research, to me, is a symbiotic relationship between the researched and the ‘researched’. Sure, the researcher gives life to information, but I feel what makes me enjoy research so much is not the result of novelty, but the process. I tend to work with my information and data as a counterpart, not something under or above me that fosters my interest. My first experience with research was in high school, and I clearly remember trying my best to not be overwhelmed by the scale of the research processes. It was very basic research and data collection and interpretation with regard to stock markets, but I remember coming out of that project a little more stoked to search for more. 

The research journey

My first proper research opportunity was over this summer break at Krea. I worked with my peers alongside Prof Soumyajit Bhar on a project that intended to understand notions of the good life and its connection to the climate crisis, consumption patterns and popular sustainability discourse. In particular, a small group including me looked at religion (or the absence of it) and its connection to the good life. It was loaded, and a deeply personal topic I am very passionate about. I can confidently say that it was more than just a means to an end sort of project, it was more of something to work with continually in the future, considering the relevancy and nature of the subject. I look forward to working deeper on the same. Outside Krea, I keep myself engaged with topics I am deeply interested in, some of them include temple history, classical music, astronomy, animal conservation and earth science, among others. 

Chapters in revelations

One of the biggest emotional and existential setbacks I have had was during my summer internship at Krea itself. Intricacies of the climate crisis and its implications on the human psyche are immense, and there are already terms like climate anxiety that are floating around. During that time, I encountered overwhelming evidence of the extremely unfortunate trajectory of the global economy and mainly, its implications on the global South. That 1% of the elite that skims off of most of the wealth of the world nagged me, continuously. But I also realised that, even though it may sound cynical and pessimistic, the only way to move forward in research is to sometimes digest it as the bitter reality, and use that as motivation to find something alternate that can propel your mind out of that rut. To me, that was turning away from economic solutions and looking at political and environmental solutions for the inequitable economy. That helped me steer around the wealth inequality crisis, and look for light down that dark tunnel. 

Gearing up for the research trail

I can’t affirm it yet but I am definitely considering a career in research. A professor at Krea once explained the scope of research to me in the form of a pie. What is already out there constitutes about 90% of the information that is used and interpreted. Novel research topics, however, constitute just about 10% of the pie. In that 10%, individuals trying to decode and find something novel, are mere specks. My personality has definitely changed through these experiences, and I consider making peace with the fact that novel and meaningful research comes from a deeply focused and determined headspace and methodology is the first step toward gearing up for a career path in research, and that’s something I intend to primarily work on.

Accumulating knowledge, amplifying learnings

There is no point in research if you don’t come out of it with little to lots of changes in your perceptions of the subject matter. Instead of evolving, I’d rather say that I increment what I find meaningful from my research to my personality. It’s more of a cumulative journey of the self through research than a metamorphic one that is more like evolving to me, personally. These research experience mainly add to the knowledge that I already have, reinforcing it, correcting it, and updating it constantly.

Naveen Prasad Alex from SIAS Cohort of 2022

Turning passion into pathway

There was no ground zero for me, because ecology or wildlife butterflies have been a passion for me since my childhood and it was just about taking my passion to the next level, getting it more systematic and scientific.

It’s all about the butterflies 

In Krea most of my research experiences were under the mentorship of Prof Shivani Jadeja, the studies on butterfly lifecycles and migration. The study on migration being covered under research internship and research assistance stints and two short communication papers have been published related to the migration study we did.

My capstone thesis revolved around butterfly migrations too. One of the remarkable butterfly migrations in India is The Danainae butterfly migration through southern India. Even though some studies have been based on limited data and opportunistic observations, this phenomenon remains largely understudied. My thesis utilised citizen science data on the occurrence of Tirumala limniace, Tirumala septentrionis Euploea core to find out seasonal changes in the occurrence of these butterflies, indicating potential migratory patterns. This study helps to better understand migratory patterns for Danainae butterfly migration through southern India.

Research comes with its own set of unique experiences, for me one of them was around my capstone thesis. I was planning to work on a topic which involved quite some lab work, it was on how temperature variations affect the feeding patterns of butterfly larvae during the metamorphosis. But thanks to COVID, access was limited and I had to think on my feet to work on something that I could still do within the limitations of the world shutting down. I had to change the topic to ‘Tracking butterfly migration in India using historic and citizen science data’ and even though it is challenging,  the study results have been very interesting, with a potential of getting published.

Penning new chapters

I plan to pursue a career in research and academics and I am at the moment undertaking a Masters at University of Helsinki in ecology and evolution. Having professional research experience, especially at Krea, gave me more clarity on what I should do, and essentially helped identify my specific interests within ecology itself.

Meghana Mantha  from SIAS Cohort of 2024

Where it all began

I have been into active research for the past 5 years. It all started with reading and observing my surroundings and the curiosity to know more about topics that interested me. Some of the topics that interest me but are slightly odd are Colleges & Admissions, Career Services, Countries, and Cultures, and I haven’t really explored Academic Research or worked in proper research setting at a university. This interest led me to take up a Research Project under Professor Soumyajit Bhar on the topic of Consumer Behaviour, Choices, and Patterns under factors like Social, Individual, and Cultural. This project was interesting and dealt with the topic of Sustainable Fashion and it was very new to me. Hence, exploring the topic and getting involved in the process was quite fascinating and insightful. 

In pursuit of a passion

I started my Journey as a Researcher and Writer at a few American Student-led organisations and then progressed towards my passion which is College Admissions and Career Services. Over time, I researched more about colleges, what makes a good profile to get into a top college? How can one find opportunities as a student? And many more questions like that, I’ve also mentored many students in the past five years in getting into their top college choices or paid internships. In this process, I fell in love with Outreach and Communications. I enjoyed networking with people, building connections, and helping Teen Entrepreneurs. 

In the pursuit of improving my skills in the field of Research in the domain of Education concentrating on Admissions and Career Services, I started working with a Harvard Master’s Student. My Research focuses on Top Colleges for Undergrad in India and Abroad specifically focusing on the USA, Domestic and International Competitor Analysis, Student Profiling, and Blogging. I love my work on these and I am looking forward to pursuing my passion and research interests further.

The Evolution

When I started off with my journey in research at the age of 14, I was in a mindset that every research project that we take up regardless of the domain is the same but eventually, after working on Academic related research projects where I had to work with a team, go through the process from the start, conduct interviews, transcriptions, analysing the info we had, was very different compared to the work that I am involved in now, which mostly is best done alone, the research, the questions we ask and, the people we interact with are completely different. This distinction gave me an understanding of how research works in different fields. 

Exploring and discovering 

I am interested in pursuing a career path in research but I am still exploring and figuring out if I should pursue research as an academician or work towards my passion (Research, Outreach, and Communications) in College Counselling, Admissions and Career Services. Working with many experts in different fields has given me interesting perspectives and experiences and to an extent shaped my personality positively. At the moment, I am happy that I am exploring and working with people with similar interests and where I am at, excited to see where this goes and what the future holds for me. 

Interwoven Learning: An experience

Interwoven Learning: An experience

How does Interwoven Learning open up minds to disciplines that are conventionally considered unrelated to the subject of your choice? How does exploring a subject through the lens of another help unravel strands of thought that are no longer in silos and go beyond the classroom?

At Krea we are developing a view of the future through rigorous and interdisciplinary research and education that continuously feeds the design of Interwoven Learning. A rigorous process weaving together academics with experiential learning, broad based learning experience with a deep dive into specialisations and creating well rounded minds, adept at problem solving in a change driven future.

This article is one in a series, an attempt at discovering the experience of the Interwoven Learning at Krea through the lens of a Krea student and how over the years the distinct
pedagogy at Krea enables them to explore pathways that are uncharted and novel.

Hear from Priyanka Kuruganti.

I grew up in a setting where learning was limited to silos. For example, if I was learning Social Studies, my understanding was limited to learning a particular topic in the subject with near to zero experience from the real world. Coming from such an environment, I was trained to look at a given subject and not look at it from varied perspectives. Looking at the world from various standpoints was something I couldn’t imagine myself doing, and questioning everything around me was something I had never done. It was only during my first experience with Krea that things started to change. 

My first experience with Interwoven Learning happened during my Krea Immersion Day (KIC), where we walked around different areas in Bangalore and were asked to observe our surroundings. During this time, my professor, who was accompanying us, asked us to observe a hotel that had a self-watering outdoor planter, and a water tanker was providing water to the hotel. And then, explained the relationship between growth and environmental impact on society. This intersection of various subjects, in this case, economics and environmental studies, is what had surprised me because I had previously looked at these elements as separate entities and didn’t think much about the intersection between these aspects. This is my first experience in Interwoven Learning and the most memorable one because little did, I know that my future would be all about exploring more such intersections. 

During my first year at Krea, I was exposed to various core and skill courses. What was unique about the first year was that these core and skills courses were extremely different. For instance, I was doing a course on Social and Historical perspectives, but at the same time, I was doing a course in Scientific Reasoning. While the two domains were parallelly different, I found it interesting how the same concept and ideology could mean a whole new story and different interpretations across various subjects. This was not only looking across subjects but also within subjects. For instance, as a part of the Data Analytics course, my group looked at the crime datasets and analysed them. One more thing which stood out to me during this time was the idea that anyone could study anything they liked and not be limited by the subjects a student had chosen during high school. For instance, a couple of my friends did not take science in grades 11 and 12 and yet, they had the flexibility to try these courses at their undergraduate level as they had fulfilled the requirement of Scientific Reasoning. This form of Interwoven Learning had no boundaries, and it helped us understand our true interest zones by not looking at our previous education as a prerequisite for future education. 

The pandemic was a changing moment because all our learning to date was now shifted to an online platform. However, this cycle of Interwoven Learning did not stop as we came up with a design thinking idea on how to solve campus issues in a post-pandemic situation. Interwoven Learning had now shifted as we began looking at a new normal by looking at the past and trying to see what techniques could be integrated in the future. With the onset of my major, I was now able to see how economics was related to various fields. For instance, in my Development Economics course, we began looking at resources such as Dollar Street to understand how the poor live by making use of the SPENT simulation to look at the very idea of poverty from a new perspective. 

For me, Interwoven Learning as a process of learning as a student is one which is based on the idea of questioning things around me. The very process often involved looking at a given issue from various standpoints of view and not limiting it to a single domain. Through the group projects, you not only get to learn about the various perspectives but, at the same time, identify yourself. The entire process of Interwoven Learning was all about finding my identity and extending my learning capacities to new levels by challenging myself at various levels.