Nitin Sai Bommi, an Integrated Masters student at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) was selected as a research intern at the University of Calgary, Canada, through Mitacs GRI. Mitacs is a non-profit organization that paces collaboration with Canadian institutions. It is a competitive internship where more than 10k students apply, and only a few 100s get through it. Nitin says, “The internship is funded, and Mitacs covers other general things like flight costs and insurance. The applications usually open in August for penultimate year undergraduates. There will be an initial screening by Mitacs where basic eligibility is verified. We then have to fill in our preferences and get only 7 options. This process is similar to that of JEE Mains. Considering the limited number of choices, we must fill them conscientiously. The project selection is the most crucial part that is in our hands. After filling out the preferences, the professors review our profile and may take one-to-one interviews. After the professor submits their review, Mitacs maps students to projects. So, there are 3 levels of screening, and I feel amazing getting through all of them”.

I started my research career back in August 2020 under the guidance of Prof. Siba Udgata and research scholar Rohit Bondugula. I worked on COVID datasets, and when we found a potential solution that was novel, we immediately drafted a paper and submitted it. Since then, I’ve been an active member of Prof. Udgata’s lab. Till date, I have submitted 6 papers to various journals, of which 2 have been accepted. I am thankful to my mentors, who guided me and are the sole reason I am here today.

“I took inputs from Prof. Chakravarthy, Prof. Atul, and Prof. Udgata on filling the preferences. Fortunately, I got my first preference. After getting the offer letter, I applied for a special visa (GSS – Global Skill Strategy) which applies only to visiting scholars. I then booked my tickets to Calgary”, said Nitin. He further adds, “This whole journey from applying to getting selected and reaching Calgary is full of anxiety. I modified my profile from day 1 of the application till the last day. I kept on taking inputs and made it better every time. Though the journey was hectic, the world-class research environment is worth it. I would encourage all the students to apply and grab the opportunity. In the first week itself, I started learning many things, and life here is entirely different and worth experiencing!”

The internship at University of Calgary is for 12 weeks and started from 15 June 2022 till 6 September 2022. Nitin’s Project is on Robust AI and his mentor is Prof. Hadi Hemmati, Associate Professor in Software Engineering at Electrical and Software Engineering Department, University of Calgary.