PRINCE AGRAWAL, 20
Prince Agrawal is a sophomore at the University of Texas Arlington, majoring in mechanical engineering. He first came to the United States in 2018 for his undergraduate studies. He is a part of the Nepalese Student Association at UTA and the Nepalese Society of Texas which brings youth together to address social issues. Agrawal has served as a delegate for Nepal as a participant in the 2016 Asian Science Camp, a camp that brings young minds across twenty-two Asian countries to foster discussion between young minds, Nobel Laureates, and STEM leaders.
Agrawal was a research assistant at UTA’s Research Institute, a research and development unit specializing in applying cutting-edge technologies to real-world engineering problems. In 2014, he was awarded the “Best Exhibitor” award in the First Civil-Mechanical Engineering Exhibition, hosted by one of the finest engineering colleges of Nepal. He recently participated in the University of Texas, Dallas, American Society of Mechanical Engineers Design Challenge at HackUTD 2019. His creation of a 3-D CAD model of a steering wheel was recognized and will be used in the new ASME Solar Vehicle. This vehicle will compete in the American Solar Challenge in 2020.
Agrawal is a passionate mentor and makes it his top priority to cultivate other mentors because he believes that educational systems place too much importance on academic achievement and does very little to groom skills like leadership and entrepreneurship that students need after graduation. To pave a better road ahead for young people around the world, he believes that youth have no choice but to set a new pace for change, and to share their experiences with those younger than them. As a part of a youth organization, Agrawal launched a program that gathered college students and STEM and non-STEM professionals to debate and discuss effective transitions from college life into the professional world. He has plans to lead similar programs in the future.
Asian Science Camp 2016
An excerpt from the essay Asian Science Camp 2016
by Prince Agrawal
I personally believe that imagination is the foremost step for the initiation of any project. With this belief, I was interested in is Asian Science Camp 2016. This camp brought together delegates from 23 Asian, South Pacific, and African countries along with Nobel Laureates around the globe. This diverse set of community was a yearly event that fostered ideas between delegates, shared established beliefs, and pulled delegates together for a project. It gave every young mind a chance to explore and express their ideas and credence to globally recognized scientists and like-minded peers. I was interested in this opportunity because I wanted to serve its values and beliefs. Moreover, my curiosity and passion I had for science grew stronger when I was surrounded by this community.
Science has always been a subject of perplexing issue rather than the direct source of facts and information since secondary school. I used to read my course books and always felt them to be incomplete because I thought of myself as a perfectionist who wanted to know everything. I cared more about my self-awareness of science knowledge rather than simply memorizing the stuff. This pursued me to use the internet and different course books for understanding the heart of the matter. I loved imagining science with different perspectives. Meanwhile, I was seeking a community that matched my feelings and values and I found it at Asian Science camp. I expected this camp to be far different from the orthodox society of my ethnic community where hardly anyone cared or took interest in science apart from their family business. This camp was something special that I had been constantly seeking since the first day of learning science: a community who cared and valued imagination in science.
I came to know about this camp in my high school from seniors who were giving presentations on the 2015 camp. Based on their presentations, I thought the camp to be filled with heated discussion and question and answer sessions with Nobel Laureates, but it turned out they presented science more artistically rather than seriously, imagining and knowing its versatility. I discovered I had to journey for miles to use my imagination and have it make an impact in the scientific world. This experience not only changed my perspective, but it gave me a new vision of viewing science for change.
After serving in the camp 2016 as a delegate, I was seeking to serve its values and beliefs in other communities. Eventually, I was hired for a job as an academic mentor for Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics in a high school. The job was challenging for me, but not in the sense that I had to imagine and convey solutions to my students on their subject matters, but it was the imagination that I had to foster inside them in order to produce solutions themselves. It wasn't going well at first because they were staying far away from imagination as a form of habit and it was impossible to change that since it was only up to them. So, I taught them with a new strategy by asking them basic questions that a younger student could answer, directing them to complex subject matters and issues. As said by Mark Twain, “Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist.” I felt that my students had an imagination, but lost their imagination as they grew up.
All in all, my community memories are difficult to lose since they attach beliefs that I value the most. This community encompasses delegates and Nobel Laureates holding different perspectives in science ranging from their artistic approach in science to unique imagination that my ethnic community is far away and reluctant to gain. Since I was striving to sustain my values inside, this Asian Science Camp was something I wanted to belong to throughout my entire life. This community appreciates young minds and their efforts for this generation and believes their effort as worthwhile. Currently, I’m studying Mechanical Engineering and, after graduation, would like to research more about the “Waste to Energy Concept” which uses waste to generate electricity for solving energy-crisis. My experience taught me the discipline of imagination and scientific knowledge that I want to use for solving energy-crisis issues within my country in order to serve my community.