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Sir Syed Emerging Scholar Award-SSESA (Dr. Suhail Sabir)

Sir Syed Emerging Scholar Award (SSESA) program, an initiative by our US based Alumni, was initiated almost eight years back by one of the most talented students of mine, Rehan Baqri who pursued Botany Honours from AMU, moved on to Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. TIFR is the most prestigious institute in the Country at par with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Dr. Baqri completed his Masters and then moved on to Michigan State University, Michigan, USA to do his Ph.D. Today he is a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. Rehan thought that if he can travel to this distance, why not other students from AMU. With this aim, an inception of new era was made. Sir Syed Excellence in Science Award (SSESA) as it was named earlier, came into existence with the support extended by a number of our alumni like Shaida Andrabi, Saif Sheikh, Ali Rizvi. Initially, a few scholars of basic sciences were selected. The selection process was very rigorous which has been the hallmark of this scholarship since its seminal inception. Gradually, the scholarships grew in number as more and more AMU Alumni and their Associations in USA got convinced that supporting such an initiative is like an investment as more AMU students may be able to join prestigious US and Canadian Universities, off course if they are talented. Ali Rizvi, Saif Sheikh and now Mohsin Khan, latter a very beloved student of mine from my Department [of Chemistry] and an old resident of Mohsin-ul-Mulk (M.M.) Hall, constitute executive machinery of this award and Mohsin Khan is currently serving as the Chair of SSESA.

When I joined M.M. Hall as its Provost, Mohsin left for USA to do Ph.D. He is in University of Maryland, Washington, USA. I advised the SSESA Committee that as students from various background such as humanities, Commerce, Management Law are equally good, the nomenclature be changed retaining the abbreviations same so as to open this program for all the students of AMU and thus it became Sir Syed Emerging Scholar Award. This has grown now into a very popular and most prestigious scholarship programme ever run by our Alumni. Most of the students are now aware of it on the campus. More applications we receive every year and more number of scholarship are now available for AMU students. Figures are burgeoning consistently tear by year. The only requirement is that a student has to be motivated, determined to go abroad for higher studies. It is not only that our students obtain admission in a US or Canadian Universities but they are placed in different prestigious institutions in UK, South Korea, Japan, Finland, Taiwan and in other Countries. They feel proud to be SSESA awardees.

I am of the opinion that if we, the teachers play their role and motivate our students, tell them about the importance of higher education, more and more students may get benefitted by such scholarship programs. Till date 52 of our very bright students have been placed in world's best institutions. Only in the last year, 19 students were selected and some of them have already got admission in US and other universities. This year we might select more students and 2-3 students may get another award through which they may get 4-5 months all paid US trip to work in any laboratory/ university. Through SSESA, a student is paid his Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) fee (almost $300- $400) and application fee to apply for up to five US Universities ($500) and if finally selected, he/she gets mentorship for 3-4 months till he/she settles in the USA. Apart from all this, a student gets the feeling of belonging to an institution whose Alumni are so helpful in shaping their future. They may, in future, get inspired like Rehan and Mohsin to do something constructive and seminal for their alma-mater. Alumni have to look back to their alma-mater as it needs their 3Ts (Time, Talent and Treasure) which our Hon'ble Vice Chancellor has envisioned in his Vision-2020 document. I appeal to my students though this write up to rededicate themselves to achieve something big in their life. In case any one of our student needs to know about all such program can contact me and it would be my pleasure to help the students.

In the end, I thank the Editor of the Al-Mohsin Global Mr. Muhammad Naved Ashrafi who gave me this opportunity to write this article about SSESA. I want and hope the message reaches to maximum number of students of our university.

*Dr. Suhail Sabir is Campus Coordinator of SSESA program at AMU. He is Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, AMU, Aligarh and served as former Provost, Mohsinul Mulk Hall (2009-2012). He can be reached at 08791713363 / drsuhailsabir@gmail.com
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