International ToxScholar Award Supports Visits to Inspire Students at Two Universities; One My Alma Mater

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By Vijaykumar Kale posted 05-11-2017 14:39

  

With support from an International ToxScholar Outreach Grant, I visited two universities in the Gujarat State of India: Maharaja Sayajirao University (famously M.S. University), Baroda, and my alma mater S. D. Agricultural University, Sardarkrushinagar. It was nothing less than a dream to visit my alma mater after 13 years! It was an immense pleasure interacting with the students, and I was exhilarated by their curious questions.

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Dr. Kale is shown presenting the talk "Career Paths in Toxicology" at M.S. University.

At M. S. University and S. D. Agricultural University, my talk titled “Career Paths in Toxicology” was held in the university seminar halls. Dr. D.V. Joshi, Dean, College of Veterinary Sciences at S. D. Agricultural University, and Prof. S.J. Rajput, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, introduced the presentations. About 40–45 students and faculty members at the respective universities attended the presentation that started with the Bhopal gas disaster (methyl isocyanate leakage), which killed 15,000 to 20,000 people on December 2–3, 1984. Since then, such industrial accidents have been a widely discussed burning issue in India. The Bhopal incident helped to put the role of toxicologists in perspective as well as the disciplines of toxicology (mechanistic, regulatory, descriptive, and risk assessment). Moreover, career options in toxicology were discussed around this event.

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Dr. Kale and Dr. Prashant Murumkar are shown (center) with M.S. University students.

I also discussed the academic and non-academic skills students should master while being in college to succeed in their professional life. With the example of my personal story, I shared with the students the role the Society of Toxicology (SOT) can play in shaping their careers, the ways they can volunteer in SOT, different awards SOT offers, and opportunities to attend the SOT Annual Meeting in the United States. The students were intrigued to see such numerous opportunities in the field of toxicology. The audience was urged to join SOT and the Special Interest Group Association of Scientists of Indian Origin (ASIO-SOT).  

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 Lighting the lamp per Indian tradition at S.D. Agricultural University

At S. D. Agricultural University, I also presented a talk on “Ethics and Misconduct in Scientific Research,” which was organized at the University-wide level. The event started with the lighting of the lamp per Indian tradition. The talk was attended by 50–60 students and university officials, including the vice chancellor, directors, deans of various colleges, and faculty members.  

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Prof. Parimal Vyas presenting a memento to Dr. Kale with Dr. Murumkar (left) and
Prof. S. J. Rajput (right) M.S. University.

The host university coordinators and facilitators Dr. Prashant Murumkar, Prof. (Retd) M. R. Yadav, Dr. S.J. Rajput, and Dr. Kirti Patel at M.S. University, and Dr. D. V. Joshi at S. D. Agricultural University, were of immense help organizing and advertising these talks. I am moved by their hospitality and affection! I am thankful to Vice Chancellor Prof. Parimal Vyas, M. S. University, and Vice Chancellor Prof. Ashok Patel, S. D. Agricultural University, for encouraging the university faculties to organize and host these talks. Many thanks to my employer, Battelle, for supporting these educational outreach talks wholeheartedly.

My interaction with senior management at both the universities opened a gateway for possible research collaborations and exploration of possible training opportunities for their students and staff through SOT programs. I would highly recommend that SOT members take advantage of this award opportunity and visit the schools and colleges of your course to raise awareness and interest in toxicology.    

The next International ToxScholar application deadline is October 9, 2017.

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