We all love stories and we love it all the more when they are inspiring and relatable. Inspiration can come from anywhere: a story, a person, or a movement. We come across inspiring stories all around us but we rarely hear from the person who has lived through that story.The people who inspire you today were once inspired by others. They came across stories that they resonated with and found the motivation to grow into a leader, influencer, changemaker to create an impact that inspires the next generation. What are the stories that motivated them to dream big and reach their goals? What keeps them motivated towards their goals? How do they make a social, political, scientific impact on the world? Are there limits to dreaming big? How can anyone live a life that is worth being told to a million people?
Through Camp Inspire, we bring together some incredible individuals who took unique paths and chose to follow their passions despite obstacles.
They excelled in arts, humanities, social service, sports, science, and technology fields and made an impact on society that will continue to inspire future generations.
Curiosity Lab invites inquisitive and curious learners, parents, and teachers to a camp that will inspire the next generation to explore, create and become innovators and leaders of tomorrow!
3 June 2022
11:00 – 11:15 am: Inauguration
11:15 - 12:45 pm: A life in science: what it is like
01:00 - 02:30 pm: Involvement and Importance of Youth in Conserving
the Nation's Environment
03:00 – 04:30 pm: My journey through ancient India’s archaeology and history
04:45 - 06:15 pm: From Puzzles to Problems - Fun with STEM
4 June 2022
11:00 – 12:30 pm: Launching spacecrafts for Earth, Mars and Beyond - My Journey so far
03:00 – 04:30 pm: Exploring Gender and Identity in India: The path I carved as a trans woman
04:45 – 06:15 pm: Balancing passions - My journey through academia and sports
5 June 2022
11:00 – 12:30 pm: A story to success and some paths to take
03:00 – 04:30 pm: A musician in research: From music production to music perception
04:45 – 06:15 pm: Stories through visuals: The art of filmmaking
Who should participate?
Camp CogSci is open to students
(8 - 12 grade) with an insatiable curiosity and all interested parents and teachers
Camp Inspire will be held online from
3 - 5 June 2022. The deadline for registration is June 2 2022
Camp Modules & Speakers
Launching spacecrafts for Earth, Mars and Beyond - My Journey so far
I am a Space Systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. I grew up in Lucknow and joined JPL after earning a Master's degree from the University of Michigan. Kalpana Chawla was my idol and I dreamt to be like her when I saw her go to space. Today, I am part of NASA's missions to Jupiter's icy moon Europa and to the metal world of the Psyche asteroid, helping the teams build and test the spacecraft. I was also part of the Mars Perseverance Rover mission where I was responsible for conducting tests on the descent stage motor control assembly. Prior to that, I worked on Earth Science mission to the International Space Station, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, that is successfully monitoring carbon data from space. Looking back, I strived hard to achieve my goal and was able to be here because I was inspired by, Kalpana Chawla. Through my session, we'll go through my journery from lucknow to NASA and share some insights into my role at JPL.
Ms Priyanka Srivastava | Space Systems Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Priyanka Srivastava is a Space Systems engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. Priyanka grew up in India, Lucknow and joined JPL after earning a Master's degree from the University of Michigan College of Engineering, Ann Arbor. At JPL, she is currently involved with NASA's missions to Jupiter's icy moon Europa and to the metal world of the Psyche asteroid, helping the teams build and test the spacecraft. Priyanka was an integral part of Mars Perseverance Rover's mission where she was responsible for conducting tests on the descent stage motor control assembly. Prior to that, she worked on an Earth Science mission to the International Space Station, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, that is successfully monitoring carbon data from space. Priyanka actively engages herself in outreach activities hosted by schools, community colleges, and rising professionals around the world to promote STEM education.
Involvement and Importance of Youth in Conserving
the Nation's Environment
The poisoning of our Elixir of Life - water, is a major cause of concern. Modern India’s approach to the conservation of freshwater bodies needs an immediate relook. We consider our water bodies as just water-holding structures. However, these are important lifelines that are home to several different species. Through my talk, I will share with you the goals of E.F.I and how we aim at motivating the youth of the nation, our future leaders, in understanding, adopting, and conserving our water bodies.
Mr Arun Krishnamurthy| Founder, Environmentalist Foundation of India (E.F.I)
Arun Krishnamurthy is an Indian environmental activist who has initiated the campaign of cleaning various lakes across India. He is known for founding the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) in 2011 based in Chennai which has its branches in 17 states and other cities such as Hyderabad, Delhi, and Coimbatore. Arun with the organization has been successful in cleaning 169 lakes in the country and having worked in Google before quitting the job to dedicate voluntarily. He was chosen as among the five people for the prestigious Rolex Awards for Enterprise award in 2012 for scientific lake restoration in Chennai.
Stories through visuals: Art of filmmaking
Beginning with a brief account of my journey from a village in Kerala to a global top ten university, I will share a few lessons I learned that will help you create your own one-minute film. We will go over storytelling fundamentals and how to use available resources to tell your own story. Following the workshop, you will be given a booklet to help you create your film, and you will submit your film to Camp Inspire 2022 for a chance to win exciting prizes.
Mr Keerthi Raj B S | IITGN Experience Project Fellow, IIT Gandhinagar
Keerthi Raj B S is a documentary filmmaker and editor from Kerala who is currently an IITGN Experience Project Fellow at IIT Gandhinagar. Among many others, his award-winning film "Green Soil" (2017) was recognised at a number of prestigious film festivals. In addition to filmmaking, he enjoys writing, designing, and photography.
A life in science: what it is like
For each young mind there is a question as to what one wants to be? Is there something that makes one curious enough to choose a subject as an interest to spend his or her life with? Each scientist has their own story of igniting curiosity, the pleasures of discovery, and the freedom to investigate and explore questions that appear exciting. Creating new ideas, and doing experiments with your mind, with your hands are a large part of a scientist’s life. But is it always a success? What is it that drives a scientist behind the unanswered questions through successes and failures? My questions are how do we beat pathogens? How do pathogens evolve and why do they evolve?
Dr Chandrima Shaha | President, Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi
Dr. Chandrima Shaha is a biologist, President of the Indian National Science Academy, the premier institution of science in India, and JC Bose Chair Distinguished Professor at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology. She is also the former Director of the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi. Her research interests centers around the elucidation of the processes that influence cell death programs under varying physiological conditions in diverse organisms. She is an elected fellow of the World Academy of Sciences and fellow of all three Science Academies of India.
My journey through ancient India’s archaeology and history
Is it worth exploring ancient history? Ancient civilizations in India or elsewhere? If we become more aware of our past, can it help our present? Or could it even change us in some way? We speak of ancient Indian civilization and culture, we hear of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa and Dholavira, we hear of Alexander and Ashoka but is it just for a little fun, or does it matter in some real way? I will use my own exploration of India’s past — with vanished cities and rivers, magnificent ruins and artefacts — to explain how the past can help give us a sense of belonging, a sense of the long stream called “Indian civilization”. Let’s explore!
Dr Michel Danino | Visiting Professor, IIT Gandhinagar
Michel Danino is an Indian author of French origin. In 2017, the Government of India conferred Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honor for his contribution to Literature & Education. He has been a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research. He authored The Lost River: On the Trail of the Sarasvati (Penguin India, 2010), a multidisciplinary study of the Vedic Sarasvati River, and Indian Culture and India’s Future (DK Printworld, 2011). Michel Danino has lectured across India on many aspects of Indian civilization and culture. He was a scholar-in-residence at IIT Kanpur, twice (2011 and 2014) and was a visiting faculty at IIM Ranchi since 2011. He has been the guest professor at IIT Gandhinagar, where he is currently visiting professor and has been assisting its Archaeological Sciences Centre.
From Puzzles to Problems - Fun with STEM
When I first read Sophie's World, which opened by asking two provocative questions: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?", I was all but sure that these were questions worth pondering over for a lifetime. I enjoyed writing and thinking about the big questions, and I was simultaneously terrible at doing crosswords and sudokus, so a career in STEM was not particularly on the cards when I was growing up. When I ended up pursuing a subset of STEM themes in college more or less by accident, my attention remained divided inside and outside the classrooms. I kept plotting my transition out of academia, but one more influential book later, I am still introspecting and figuring things out, while still pursuing a career that involves thinking about the potential and limits of computation --- and the problem solving involved here in this is not entirely unlike solving the puzzles that I dreaded in the past. While I may not have not overcome fears, I'll share my journey of coming to terms with my limitations, and discovering what I enjoy. The talk will also feature glimpses into the kinds of games we play :)
Dr Neeldhara Misra | Smt. Amba and Sri. V S Sastry Chair Associate Professor, IIT Gandhinagar
Neeldhara Misra is a Smt. Amba and Sri. V S Sastry Chair Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and the Associate Dean for External Communications at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar. Her primary research interest involves the design and analysis of efficient algorithms for “hard” problems in general, and parameterized algorithms in particular. The problems considered are typically concerned with combinatorial optimization, frequently in the context of graph theory, social choice, games, geometry, and constraint satisfaction.
Exploring Gender and Identity in India: The path I carved as a trans woman
When we grow up, many of us desire to be doctors. As our parents and relatives support our aspirations, society plays a vital part in encouraging this dream. What if, aside from being a medical doctor, you decide one day that you want to be a woman rather than a man when you grow up? Our society's perceptions of us may no longer be as supportive. Gender and identity are vital for an individual's development, and through my personal experience and efforts to operate the Human Solidarity Foundation, I have assisted many people in discovering their full potential as individuals. I'll talk about my experiences as a medical practitioner during the session and how it intersected with being trans in India.
Dr Aqsa Shaikh | Associate Professor, Community Medicine at Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences & Research
Dr. Aqsa Shaikh is a medical doctor and Community Medicine Specialist. She is an Associate Professor of Community Medicine at HIMSR, Jamia Hamdard, Delhi. Born and brought up in Mumbai, she completed her education at Seth GS Medical College. Before joining Jamia Hamdard, she worked at HLFPPT. She lives in Delhi now for the last ten years and calls it home. She is a Proud Transgender Woman and works on LGBTQIA+ rights, rights of Persons with Disability, and Mental Health. She has a keen interest in Medical Ethics, Medical Humanities, and Medical Education Technology and is a Fellow of the Advanced Course in Medical Education. She is has authored many medical books and blogs with Times of India, Women's Web and Youth ki Awaaz along with other publications. She received Youth ki Awaaz Award for best article on Mental Health. She is also the recipient of the Himalayan Green Awards for her services in Health Education.
Balancing passions - My journey through academia and sports
Have you ever thought about how companies like Zomato or Swiggy work? Who are their customers and what exactly is it that they do? How is it that they make money? I was interested in similar questions in college and chose to pursue economics to find my answers. The subject offered much to explore and I decided that I wanted to do research in economics and joined the PhD programme at IIT Delhi. Little did I know at that time what it really means to do a PhD. It was a long and difficult journey with little or no financial reward. It was then that I started playing squash which did wonders for my mental health and also helped me perform better academically. I have been playing squash for four years now and have also participated in many tournaments. Through my session, we will explore what it means to do research and how can one balance their passion for sports while pursuing academic roles.
Dr Neaketa Chawla | Post-doctoral Research Associate, IIM Ahmedabad
Dr Neaketa works at the Brij Disa Centre of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at IIM Ahmedabad. She completed her PhD from IIT Delhi in Economics. She is an avid Squash player and an economist. Her research is on digital/two-sided platforms. She uses microeconomic and game-theoretical tools to understand their pricing and competitive behavior.
A story to success and some paths to take
It is credited to Thomas Edison that ‘invention (Genius) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.’ Nonetheless, inspiration is the spark that ignites the passion of creativity. During this session I will lead a discussion based on my inspirations and challenges that were overcome as well as those that were nearly crippling.
Dr Kasivisvanathan Chelvakumar | Visiting Professor, IIT Gandhinagar
Chelva is an educator, businessman, entrepreneur, and human rights worker. Now semi-retired, he serves as a visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, Gujarat where he teaches mechanical engineering, mathematics, finance, and business. He also teaches healthcare finance at the Merage School of Business, the University of California Irvine, and mechanical
engineering at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. He delivers guest lectures on ‘Health care in the U.S.,’ on ‘Solar power in India’ and on ‘Rebuilding and peace initiatives in Sri Lanka.’
A musician in research: From music production to music perception
Music is a highly complex stimulus, with features like rhythm, melody, timbre, pitch etc. As a musician, I have felt powerful to have the ability to move people emotionally and mesmerise them. To understand the perception of this complex stimulus and how our brain draws meaning from it even without language, I decided to study music perception and cognition. In this talk, I will talk about how we can study the perception of music and how being a musician helps me in my research.
Ms Nashra Ahmed | Sabarmati Bridge Fellow, IIT Gandhinagar
Nashra Ahmad (She/Her) completed her masters in cognitive science in 2021 from IIT Gandhinagar and is currently working there as a Sabarmati Bridge Fellow. She also is a musician and specialises in vocals and guitar. She has previously been a music educator at a CBSE school and has conducted various musical workshops for children with special needs. Her research interests lie in understanding the relationship between music, brain and behaviour. She is currently exploring neural entrainment to tempo and harmonic intervals in music.
IIT Gandhinagar offers a unique educational experience in India with unmatched innovations in curriculum. The institute promotes critical thinking and an appreciation of the interdisciplinary character of knowledge, with an emphasis on the liberal arts, project-oriented learning, diversity, and globalization. IIT Gandhinagar was founded in 2008 and is located in Palaj, Gandhinagar, Gujarat on the banks of river Sabarmati. IITGN is rated India’s first 5-star GRIHA LD (Green) campus for minimizing the negative impact on the environment. The campus has been declared India’s first 5-star campus for ensuring food safety and promoting healthy eating.