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Opening a new NSF Chapter in India

A Liaison’s story

Sridhar Raman, Atlanta Chapter, Liaison to the new Chandigarh chapter, December 2010

As a Liaison, my experience with starting this new chapter was all but painless and enjoyable. Initially, like everyone else, I was a bit skeptical. I had never executed anything like this before in my life. I was never a part of NSF. I recruited Ms Meera Sharma as the Indian coordinator. She was already working on social activities related to underprivileged youth and their education. She was willing to help NSF identify scholarship candidates. After the initial groundwork she made an announcement about the chapter and NSF scholarships, through press releases. Once the announcement was made the process took the natural turn of several students within the vicinity of Chandigarh querying about scholarships. It was great to work with a team who understood their responsibility. It was a great learning experience and I feel motivated to do more on the scholarship front. We are still in the process of tweaking the process but we are sure the chapter will grow in the coming years. It has been a pleasure to understand how NSF works and what it stands for. I am happy to be a contributing member of NSF. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions on starting a new India chapter - sraman30127@gmail.com

Here are the highlights of “how to”

  • Decide if you want to help open a new chapter and act as Liaison on the US side.
  • Identify the coordinator for the Indian city/state.
  • Once the India volunteer is identified, the chapter is formed with help from NSF India office in Hyderabad.
  • Identify the target audience for a scholarship in that city and arrange for a press release. The media should cover the announcement in local languages in order for the message to reach everyone.
  • Approach the principals of local colleges and announce it on college notice boards. A similar approach can be followed with high schools.
  • The coordinator should ensure that he/she gets all the necessary blank application forms from NSF Hyderabad to be distributed to prospective students.
  • The applications are sent to the prospective students by mail after an initial screening. The India chapter coordinator does the initial screening. Approximately 30 - 45 days are given to ensure enough students apply for the scholarships.
  • After the deadline, the applications and income certificates received are then scrutinized for the interview process.
  • Though NSF has a policy of giving scholarships to only engineering and medical degrees, the coordinator can make a decision by talking to NSF about awarding to some needy but meritorious students in polytechnic and arts college.
  • An interview committee in which the Coordinator is a key member is formed. These may be principals or law enforcement officers to enforce the truthfulness of the applications. The interview is conducted.
  • All the documents and other pertinent information are then sent to NSF Hyderabad for review and approval.
  • The India Chapter Coordinator organizes an awards ceremony to award the scholarships to the approved students. They are encouraged to invite highly placed dignitaries to the awards ceremony to increase publicity for the following years.

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