In pursuit of higher education

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In pursuit of higher education

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:57 am

People sometimes ask me about my moving to Canada from the U.S. long ago, after living in Hawaii and California for a number of years.

I arrived in Hawaii from India as a graduate student at the beginning of fall 1970 and received the M.S. degree in mechanical engineering / ME (M.S. thesis in spacecraft dynamics) from University of Hawaii (UH, Honolulu) at the end of spring 1972.

As I was interested in pursuing Ph.D. degree in ME (with specialization in satellites / spacecraft) after completing the M.S., and since there was no Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering at UH at that time, I decided to pursue further studies elsewhere. To this end, I even got an admission to the Ph.D. program (aeronautics & astronautics dept.) at Stanford University in fall 1972, but, unfortunately, no offer of financial help (grant or assistantship) to go with it.

Since my financial situation was inadequate to pay for my education personally, in addition to my being on a foreign student visa in the U.S. which made it difficult for me to borrow money in the form of student loans etc., the opportunity for me to join the Ph.D. program in fall 1972 was lost due to lack of funds.

I then took a teaching job in general engineering (GE) department at UH and continued to explore other venues for Ph.D. education. I was soon able to secure admission in the Ph.D. (ME) program at UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) for fall 1973, along with an offer of teaching assistantship. Furthermore, I was accepted to the Ph.D. program in ME at UBC (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) where I also was promised a research assistantship on the condition that I acquire landed immigrant status in Canada, for which I applied as well.

Meanwhile, I also continued to send small amounts of money home in India from my earnings at UH which, by virtue of a favorable exchange rate between the American dollar and the Indian rupee, helped my father to pay for the college education to my younger brothers; myself being the eldest of the brood and thus expected by my parents / family to contribute to the education etc. of my siblings.  

I said good-bye eventually to Hawaii in the summer 1973 and joined the Ph.D. (ME) program at UC Santa Barbara in Sept. (fall 1973 session) on a teaching assistantship. Unfortunately, the money earned by me at UCSB from teaching assistantship proved barely sufficient to pay for my own educational expenses at UCSB (room and board and tuition etc.), thus leaving very little with me in the form of savings and therefore myself not being able to send money home anymore for my brothers’ education. As a result, my father wrote to me indicating that he was ready to withdraw the boys from college because he could not pay for their education by himself, while also reminding me in the letter of my earlier insistence to have the boys enrolled in a college and the promise to pay for their education.

This made me feel quite badly thinking especially that, while I was busy pursuing the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering at a U.S. university (on a foreign student visa), my younger brothers in India (whose education I had tried to further by having them enrolled earlier in a college and by promising to pay for it) would soon miss the opportunity to complete even the Bachelors level education (B.Sc. / B.A.) due to the inadequacy of funds at my end and my inability to send money home for their education.

Thus, after much thought and apprehension about my precarious financial situation and the impending family obligations at that time, I decided to pull out of the Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering at UCSB at the end of Dec. 1973, in spite of my having earned good grades (A’s and B’s) in my courses at UCSB during fall 1973 and the ME Dept. chairman (Prof. Mitchell) urging me to stay. I had made up my mind by then to continue the Ph.D. education in Canada instead, where I had just been approved for the landed immigrant status which not only made it possible for me to earn money through a research assistantship during my Ph.D. studies in mechanical engineering at UBC, but I would also be able as a landed immigrant (without any visa restrictions) to undertake any additional work in future to earn extra cash if necessary (such as to meet the family obligations and paying for brothers’ education, etc.).

To make a long story short, I finally arrived in Canada from Santa Barbara (Calif.) in early January 1974 as a landed immigrant and joined the Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering at UBC (Vancouver) immediately (winter 1974 semester), and the rest is history.

: Subhash C. Sharma

Seva Lamberdar

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Re: In pursuit of higher education

Post by Hellsangel on Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:22 am

Why is this under creative?

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Re: In pursuit of higher education

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:30 am

Hellsangel wrote:Why is this under creative?

Admin may consider it moving to the Personal group.

Seva Lamberdar

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Re: In pursuit of higher education

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