Unnati Kashyap

Ph.D. Scholar,
IIT Indore

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There is nothing that can make you stronger than being educated.

What do you do?

My work involves data analysis and computation. I work on X-ray timing data observed by different X-ray telescopes such as ASTROSAT and NICER coming from different galactic and extragalactic compact objects such as blackhole and neutron star X-ray binaries. I study the spectral and timing behavior of these sources to understand different emission mechanisms and the underlying physical processes, their geometry as well as physics under the strong gravitational field.

Why did you choose this field?

I have been an astronomy enthusiast since my childhood. I admire Dr. Kalpana Chawla, a female astronaut a lot. I remember days in my childhood when I used to spend the whole day planning to go on a mood trip. I spent many nights during my school days on the terrace looking at the sky, connecting stars with fingertips, and finding constellations. During my graduation, I attended some meetings under SEDs (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space). I did my masters taking astronomy as a specialization. After my masters, I decided to pursue research in this field. So, I joined the Discipline of Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Space Engineering as a research scholar and now I am in the second year of my Ph.D. Even during my Ph.D., I have taken part as a volunteer in different outreach activities involving introducing and encouraging students from different remote areas towards the field of astronomy. I worked as a volunteer in an event "IAU100" (The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is celebrating its 100th anniversary), where we engaged students from different schools in different activities and tried to encourage them towards this field.

Moreover, my mother has always been an inspiration. Being a single mother, she has brought up two children her own without anyone's help. She has always inspired and encouraged me. So far what I have learned from life is that there is nothing that can make you stronger than being educated. Money is not everything but knowledge is.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Being a research scholar and a teaching assistant.

Why do you love working in STEM?

Education has become really necessary nowadays. There are still places all over the world where women are not getting scopes and encouragements to be educated. Even the percentage of women in science and technical institutions is very less (even below 10% in some well-known institutions). So, being in the same field we should encourage women towards STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. I always wanted to take part in campaigns that can encourage and influence girls to go to school and make their own identity. So, this will be a great opportunity for me as well to be able to take part in this 1MWIS (1 million women in STEM) campaign.

Best advice for next generation?

There is nothing that can make you stronger than being educated. The percentage of women in science and technical institutions is very less (even below 10% in some well-known institutions). Nothing is tough, it depends on your mindset only. Do not leave any scope to make your own identity.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it." by Dr. Kalpana Chawla.

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