The Consulate General of India in New York in cooperation with GOPIO Manhattan organized the ‘Meet and Greet Students from India’ studying in the Northeast to connect them to the community and providing mentoring opportunities as well as to raise awareness of Consular services to students from the Consulate. Students from many universities across the Northeast participated in person and via Facebook Live at the event hosted by the Indian Consulate on march 31st, 2023.
The program started with a welcome by Dr. Varun Jeph, Deputy Consul General with his welcome to the 135+ students in attendance and many more online. He summarized the event introducing the speakers and the topics that will be discussed by them and informed the services offered by the Consulate to the Students. He invited the students Consul General of India at New York Mr. Randhir Kumar Jaiswal to begin the evening’s proceedings.
The host for the evening, Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, commented, “Namaste to all Young friends. A very warm welcome to the Consulate, your Home and my office.”
He further highlighted there are two sets of students we deal with, one that are here and the others that come here from India. This Student Meet & Greet is an effort in the direction of you connecting with each other and being there as you grow in this new land of opportunities. We are the fifth largest economy and climbing to become the third largest economy. He added that there are 1 million students among the 34 million diaspora are going to play a very important role in that and be the real champions.”
Consulate official Ms. Satpadi Tagore invited GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham for his remarks. Dr. Abraham serves as an advisor to GOPIO-Manhattan and started with “Namaskar and addressed the students by reflecting on his journey fifty years ago with an example that a simple phone call back home would cost around $3/minute. There was a concept of host families. With the advancement of technologies and ease of communication and growth in students, there is no more such need of host families. Starting in 2021 and following session in Oct 2022, and today, we are hosting these sessions to connect you with the community, professional achievers and the Consulate for help with issues or in case of emergency. He noted the number of students across Columbia, NYU, Pace, SUNY Bufallo, Touro College, UPenn, NJIT and other universities represented in the room.”
GOPIO Manhattan Co Secretary and Chair for the event and emcee Ms. Bhavya Gupta then introduced and invited the panelists for the evening Mr. Akshat Tewary, an immigration attorney, Ms. Sanjyot Dunung, CEO & Founder of Atma Global, Moderator Prof Srikant Jagabathula from NYU, Mr. Anthony Irudhyanathan, President Zillion Technologies and Prof. Rajashekar Vangapaty.
Mr. Srikanth Jagabathula, Robert Stansky Research Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Tech, Ops, and Stats at the NYU Stern School of Business, moderated the panel starting with giving each speaker a min to talk about their background. He channeled the conversations across the topics of immigration to job search to internships, teaching assistantships etc. with the fellow speakers and engaged the audience. He shared his experiences with the students and said, “Wear different hats, multi-task, go out of your comfort zone, explore and discover.”
GOPIO-Manhattan Executive Vice President Professor Rajasekhar Vangapaty spoke about the importance of on-campus job and securing the teaching assistant role while at campus and its importance in job search. He added that “every skill-set you learn in your life will definitely benefit you somewhere in your lifetime. Never get discouraged, if you get hurdles.” He emphasized on the fact that “do not guess the answers. If you don’t know, ask. Whether you’re given or not that’s a different story.”
Ms. Sanjyot Dunung, CEO & Founder of Atma Global, shared her experiences with the students about her journey from India to England to Chicago as she experienced the culture shifts. She added that it doesn’t necessarily matter at what age you move to a new country. The concept of culture shock, learning new values, attitudes, understanding how people do things, can be startling at the very beginning. She bridged the two cultures with every summer trip to India to retain and touch that Indian cultural experience. She indulged the panel to assist students in formulating their choices of major and career path.
Mr. Anthony Irudhyanathan, President Zillion Technologies shared his journey as an Entrepreneur in the technology sector, started with $400. He reflected on his journey and cited his motivation to be here was based on the fact that the Students from India have the chance to be a Game Changer and that he invests in the ideas from Students, a support not available when he started his journey in 1998. This platform of Meet & Greet is a good opportunity for Students to excel in being a game changer as 60% of top 100 companies have Indians as CIO/CTOs today. He added “students should immerse within the system, learn and connect with the people.”
Mr. Akshat Tewary, an immigration attorney added “reflected on his journey to the USA in Jan 1986 highlighting the sense of expectation, optimism, growth etc. as the cultural differences between homeland and USA.”
1st Row l. to r.: Speaker Akshat Tewary, GOPIO Manhattan EVP & Speaker Professor Rajasekhar Vangapaty, Speaker Srikanth Jagabathula, Speaker Sanjyot Dunung, Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Speaker Dr. Bernadine Waller and Dy. Consul General Dr. Varun Jeph.
2nd Row l. to r.: Raj Punjabi, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member Siddharth (Sid) Jain, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member Chitranjan Belwariar, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO Manhattan VP Dr. Vimal Goyle, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member & Program Coordinator Bhavya Gupta, GOPIO Manhattan Treasurer Braj Aggarwal &GOPIO Manhattan Member Tara Shajan.
Dr. Bernadine Waller, Columbia University “reflected on the mental health issues ranging from anxiety to depression and all in between. She highlighted the various reasons the stresses that are faced by Students such as job search, internship search, competitiveness, loneliness etc. The optimal way to deal with it is “One Bite At A Time.” She further added that we encourage the students to think of the career, plan for the present, think about the future, but come back to the present.
Mr. Shivender Sofat, President GOPIO-Manhattan, who joined virtually told the importance of mentoring to the students, discussed chapter activities and motivated everyone to volunteer and become members at future events held by GOPIO Manhattan.
Mr. Siddharth Jain, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member concluded with a quote from Rumi: “It’s your road, and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.”
Mr. Jain followed the quote with the vote of thanks to Host Ambassador Shri Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Dy. Consul Shri Varun Jeph, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Distinguished Panelists, Ms. Satabdi Tagore and the Consulate staff. Other GOPIO-Manhattan officials present at the meeting included President Shivender Sofat (attended virtually), EVP Professor Rajasekhar Vangapaty, Treasurer Braj Aggarwal, VP Vimal Goyle, Board Member & Program Coordinator Bhavya Gupta, Board Member Chitranjan Belwariar, Members Raj Punjabi, & Tara Shajan.
“The students had an excellent time networking with students from different universities as well as with speakers and the Consulate and GOPIO officials and we plan to do a much bigger event next year,’ Dr. Abraham added.
In accordance with its mission to serve the larger society and those in need, GOPIO-Manhattan Chapter has taken several initiatives in the recent past. A Community Feeding is organized by the Chapter providing vegan or avegetarian lunch for the homeless and needy at Tomkins Square Park in Manhattan on the last Monday of every month. The chapter appeals to the community to support the initiative by being a volunteer and/or a sponsor.