We invited Dr Pallavi Tiwari, Asst professor at Case Western Reserve University for a chat with the Scholar Strategy community. We discussed topics such as how to build a career in R&D and academia, how to contact professors etc.
She went on to Rutgers University where she finished her PhD in Biomedical Engineering and decided to continue her R&D career by taking the academia route.
Pallavi, who herself hailed from a Tier 2 town in India and had a limited research exposure in college, has achieved great heights in her research career in USA.
Dr Tiwari’s impact on brain cancer research was recognized in June when she was selected as one of six winners of the third annual Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Scholars Award. Each recipient, representing each of the STEM2D disciplines—science, technology, engineering, math, manufacturing and design—will receive a $150,000 grant and three years of mentorship. She has previously been a recipient of many research-related awards including the Presidential 100 Women achievers award by the Govt of India for her contributions to Science and Research.
At Case Western Reserve University, she is spearheading cutting-edge research in the field of computational imaging, artificial intelligence and machine learning to address some of the most critical clinical problems in brain tumors. She is the Director of Brain Image Computing Laboratory.
In her chat, Dr Tiwari advised engineering students to proactively reach out to Professors if they are applying to Grad School.
Keep the emails succinct because Professors are busy and do not copy paste the same email to multiple Professors. It is always good to read a few of their papers and mention them briefly in the email. Most importantly, be genuine.
I often get emails from students all over the world but I would like to see more emails from Indian students. I want them to know that research is a viable career option.
She would love to get more emails from Indian students and is always encouraging women to pursue careers in STEM.
Also Read: Why Email Professors before applying to MS programs?
Dr Tiwari also added that worrying too much about jobs and salaries very early on can hamper grad students from exploring all the options.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself initially, else you will not know what other option could have worked very well for you. I myself didn’t have a very clear plan when I came to the USA but slowly realised that I want to continue to pursue research as a career option. If you are not sure of the commitment for PhD, you can come for MS and then decide later on.
She also discussed the importance of finding a good research mentor.
Working in a productive and collegial research lab in the long-run is a lot more important than going to a high-profile university. I have benefited greatly from the mentorship I received during my PhD and the friendships I built with my labmates over the years.
Full conversation with Dr Pallavi Tiwari is available on our Instagram TV.
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