The International Space University (ISU) announced its first ever Kalpana Chawla Scolarship and its winner is a 21-year-old girl from Maharashtra named Sonal Baberwal!

ISU initiated a scholarship scheme for the Space Studies Program at the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland which is given to students with backgrounds in science, medicine, and other space-related areas and it has been established to honour the Indian-American Astronaut Dr Kalpana Chawla who died in the Columbia space shuttle accident in 2003. The scholarship is an annual regime which will assist 3 exceptional Indian post-graduate students who share Chawla’s selfless and passionate pursuit of science and excellence, to study about space research in the Cork Institute.

The scholarship which will exclusively select very few yet very talented Indian students and help them to elevate to international stage. This was the first year of Kalpana Chawla Scholarship and its first winner is a girl – Sonal Baberwal, hailing from a tiny town named Amaravati in Maharashtra. She has studied at the Mount Carmel High School and Shri RLT College of Science. She completed her engineering degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from the Sipna College of Engineering and Technology in Amravati under Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University.

With deep interest in space research, robotics, Pluto, space debris and environmental aspects along with the fields of Space and Art, she came in contact with NASA astronaut Nicole Stott and has also made many presentations related to space topics. Achieving the scholarship which is focussed on developing strong leadership qualities and provides funding for Indian nationals to attend the ISU’s space studies programme, Sonal will get an immensely strong platform to become the next Kalpana Chawla.