Legacy of Supporting Students in Graduate Programs Far from Home Continues: Apply for the Mehendale Welcome Award by May 30

By Vivek Dadhania posted 22 days ago


On May 30, applications will close for the first Mehendale Welcome Award, which will financially assist newly enrolled international graduate students in a biomedical scientific research program, with preference to those enrolled in a toxicology program, while they are adjusting to a new country (e.g., US).

Rekha and Harihara Mehendale, for whom this award is named, were known for offering “a home away from home” to their students.

As Dr. Mehendale’s final and only student at that time, I had the privilege of spending extensive time with him, from our initial email exchange in 2008 to our final interaction in 2022. Dr. Mehendale’s meticulous screening process, involving over 50 emails before accepting me into his lab, felt like one of the most rigorous exams of my life, but it was worth every moment.

Despite facing challenges from a stroke, Dr. Mehendale’s passion and determination remained steadfast. Alongside Ms. Mehendale’s support, they created a nurturing environment that felt like a second family to me. Their mentorship and personal assistance, backed by their personal fund, ensured my success both academically and personally.

Isn’t it time we celebrate such mentors? I felt it was my duty to contribute to this mission of nurturing the next generation of toxicologists, so I worked to establish the Rekha and Harihara Mehendale Welcome Award Fund for International Graduate Students, an SOT Endowment Fund, to continue the legacy and honor Dr. Mehendale’s exceptional mentorship, which significantly influenced my career and personal life.

I encourage any graduate student who is moving to a different country for their graduate program to apply for this award by the May 30 deadline. You can find more information on the application requirements in the SOT Apply Award System.