IIT graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

Vikram Govindan
Vikram Govindan

Vikram Govindan, the son of Santhini and K.M. Govindan of Mumbai, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, and he has received the Monsanto/Dr. Norman Borlaug Corporate Fellowship. He holds a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Mr. Govindan is pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration degree at the Olin School of Business and expects his study to continue for two years. He is supported in his studies by a fellowship awarded to him by Monsanto, a global agricultural company based in St. Louis, Missouri. The company produces seed-based products and herbicides to address on-farm challenges and reduce agriculture’s overall impact on the environment. Monsanto will offer Mr. Govindan the opportunity to work as an intern, interacting with the company’s executives.

“We were extremely impressed with Vikram Govindan’s application to the McDonnell Academy, as was our corporate sponsor at Monsanto,” said James V. Wertsch, Ph.D., the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences and Director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy. “The Monsanto/Dr. Norman Borlaug Corporate Fellowship is a very prestigious award. “Mr. Govindan looks like the perfect match as we at the Academy help develop global leaders of tomorrow and Monsanto thinks about building new links to India and elsewhere in Asia.”

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy is both new and unique. Employing an unusual structure and approach, it brings together top scholars from many countries to pursue world-class education and research while forging a strong network with one another. Key to this are partnerships Washington University has established with top universities and corporations around the world with an eye to increasing opportunities for joint research and global education.

The McDonnell Academy Scholars are considered future world leaders in their fields. As such, they are provided not only rigorous graduate instruction, but a thorough cultural, political and social education designed to prepare them as leaders knowledgeable about the United States, other countries, and critical international issues.

Once selected for this highly competitive program, each scholar is matched with a distinguished member of the Washington University faculty who serves as a mentor for the scholar and also as an “ambassador” to the university partner from which the scholar has graduated. The ambassador assists the McDonnell Scholar in academic and professional life and travels annually with the scholar to the partner university to build relationships between the two institutions.

Pratim Biswas
Pratim Biswas

Pratim Biswas, Ph.D., the Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science, is Mr. Govindan’s faculty mentor-ambassador. Dr. Biswas holds a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology, a master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a bachelor of technology degree from IIT Bombay. He has published extensively in his field and served on many international organizations and conferences. His research interests include aerosol science and engineering and nanoparticle technology.

The McDonnell Academy Scholars receive funding for full tuition, living expenses and travel to and from St. Louis. Most of the scholars reside in two fully equipped and furnished apartment buildings near campus.

Funding is provided through a sustaining endowment gift from John F. McDonnell, vice chairman of the Washington University Board of Trustees and retired chairman of the board of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, additional endowment pledges, and 11 multinational corporate and foundation sponsors. Sponsoring corporations also offer internships and on-site educational opportunities for the Academy’s Corporate Fellows.