An Opportunity That Doesn’t Come Everyday — #ScholarX
Let’s start from the beginning. I am a person who is curious about the things that I do not learn in college as well as the things I do. Neuroscience and how the brain functions has been one of those passions of mine and I used to watch many documentaries about all sorts of experiments and new research in that field. Even though I am an Electronic & Electrical Engineering student, the more I dug into the enigmatic wonders of our brain the more I fell in love with how beautiful our nervous system is and understood how fortunate we are to be gifted with such a wonderful combination of chemicals and functions. But until I found out about the ScholarX Program, I had limited options to get the insights of a neuroscientist on how to dive deeper into this field as an engineering student.
What is ScholarX?
For those of you who don’t know what Scholarx is, it is one of the most valuable programs out there for Sri Lankan Undergraduate students, conducted by Sustainable Education Foundation — SEF. SEF is a Sri Lankan volunteer-driven non-profit organization with the mission to make the Sri Lankans & Sri Lankan education system more effective & dynamic. SEF has also organized several other programs to help other crowds. You can check them from their website. ScholarX is a 6-month mentoring program where each of the selected participants are matched and allocated with a mentor with a Sri Lankan background who has excelled in his or her field & currently engaged with one of the Fortune 500 companies or one of the worlds’ top universities. The participants for this program are selected based on an unbiased selection process which is mostly impacted by the applicants’ attitude and devotion to the respective field. This free premium mentoring platform is highly beneficial to the Sri Lankan undergraduate students and it brings different communities & resource persons together to uplift the standards of our nations’ academics.
How I Enrolled
Some of my close friends inside and outside the university were a part of ScholarX previous batches and I got to know about this program from them for the first time. I remember I was curious about the program from the beginning & I got to know more about what it is and how it works from my friends who were already there. When the 2020 Edition of ScholarX was announced I was happy to see one of the mentors was Ms. Nivanthika Wimalasena who is a Ph.D. candidate of Neuroscience at Harvard University, USA. Then I applied for the program and chose Ms. Nivanthika Wimalasena as my first choice as the mentor. Fortunately, I got selected to be one of her mentees and the past two months have been insightful for me in terms of knowledge, planning & research.
For quite some time I wanted to do something connecting neuroscience and engineering using the knowledge I had collected by using online tools about neuroscience and my engineering knowledge. When you spend a considerable amount of time on finding new concepts and watching videos about them, you come across some beautiful phenomena. I had plans to start a project on one such Law I learned which is related to our perception for some time now. At the beginning I shared that idea with my mentor and she has helped me move forward in every way from day one. I started referring to the research papers I found related to what I was planning on to do and some of those materials were suggested and provided by my mentor. She helped me choosing books and courses to study as the online content about these fields can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. On the other hand, it’s not just the academic-related aspect, but also the thing that needs to be considered when starting and conducting a project, the process of making progress, the applicability of my ideas and how effective they are, other areas which could be connected to my initial idea are some of the important things that I discussed and learned from her. Having someone with the knowledge about what you’re doing and receiving guidance on how to move forward is an opportunity that doesn’t come every day because the chances of finding someone to guide you from one of the top universities of the world is not that easy. So, I make this article a platform to show my gratitude towards my mentor and Sustainable Education Foundation for choosing me to be a part of this program and guiding me to be better at something I truly love doing.
Another 4 months are left in the program and I expect to make the best out of that time despite the current pandemic situation going on in the country and the world. I once again thank SEF for this tremendous opportunity and I am looking forward to the remaining four months to get something more out of this program and deliver something useful/ significant to the society.