NCC Day at Stella Maris College

Nikita Pinto, III Year B. A. English.

 

[Photograph Source: Yakshita Harish Kumar]

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NSS and YRC Day Celebrations

Dalia N., III Year B. A English.

On February 21, 2017 the NSS and YRC units of Stella Maris College celebrated the achievements of its volunteers and its founding. The entire student body gathered at the OAT to take part in the celebration which also made non-members aware of the quantum of work done by the NSS and YRC units. The event started with a prayer song rendered by the Western Music Club, followed by a prayer delivered by our Secretary, Sister Susan. The welcome address was delivered by Dr. Sr. Principal Jacinta Quadras and the Annual Report was delivered by the NSS and YRC unit’s coordinator Dr. Nirmala Alex. The event was presided over by Dr. Amuthavalli , IAS, Director of Social Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu, and Ms. Dr. J. Jayalakshmi,  Joint Director of Social Welfare, Tamil Nadu. Senior volunteers were awarded in appreciation of the service rendered to the society. Dr. Amuthavalli addressed the gathering about the kind of work done by the Social Welfare Board of Tamil Nadu and explained their schemes. Her address was followed by a question and answer session, in which she clarified doubts. This was followed by a cultural programme that was a culmination of the various styles of dances and songs of Tamil Nadu, performed by Stella Marians who were trained by professional artists. The event ended with the College Song and National Anthem. Food stalls and stalls which helped women entrepreneurs were set up in the college campus.

[Photograph Source: Benitto Amirthem]

Off to A New Horizon

Stella’s First Club Day!

Mathangi M. H., II Year B. A. English.

Horizon 2017, Stella’s first club day, was celebrated on the 25th of February and was one of the most awaited events organised on campus. The President of the Student Union, Catherine Saranya, began with the welcome and invited the college choir on stage to sing the prayer song. Following that, the welcome address was delivered by Monica M. H., Cultural Secretary of Shift I after which Horizon 2017 was declared open by Sr. Principal. Most of the clubs put up brilliant performances for the audience. The Stellaeidoscope sold copies of their issue while the Dramatics Club staged a play at F 2-1. Most of the clubs also organised various workshops conducted by professionals in their respective fields. Amidst the happening atmosphere, the students danced to the tunes of DJ. Overall, it was a much-needed break for Stella Marians.

[Photograph Source: Stella Maris Students Union Facebook Page.]

And Then What?

Medha Kinger,  III Year B. Comm.

“Beta, what are you planning to do after college?”

Plan your funeral.

This is exactly what you wanted to say to the aunties and uncles who torment you with the worst question that should be asked to a college student.

Waiting for college to get over – because well it’s college – but not waiting for it to get over because you will have to decide what you want to do next?  Envy the cousin/friend who’s got his/her career sorted? Work after college or study further or just get married and chill (for girls it’s actually an option given by many parents)?  Do I like this career option or love this career option? What is my yeh jawani hai deewani Kabir Thapar type passion?

If these are the questions that are circling in your mind well then you’re reading the right article!

This article however (sorry to disappoint you!) is not going to give you a list of career options for you to choose from. It’s, on the other hand, going to help you deal with the existing queries regarding your future that make you worry all day and all night.

Firstly, let’s face the fact that marriage is out of question. We are strong independent women building a career because a career won’t ditch you but a man will. (Okay, go ahead and facepalm!)

Pro tip and a mantra that everybody should always chant while making his/her decision is: what you are today, you may or may not be that person in the near future.

No matter what you choose as a career path today, you may or may not be pursuing it later in life. (Even engineers end up doing a management job after college!) A chartered accountant may decide to quit the daily routine and travel the whole world. A doctor may want to start a bakery. This is the age where one can explore and experience various fields. Why stick to one line of thought when you can experience so many? It is not the end of the world if you don’t like a course you are stuck with. Try something else and do what you love to do. Often one gets this fear of failing/losing. If one doesn’t pursue what they want to, how will one know if they’ve failed or passed? Unless one thinks he/she is Nostradamus and can predict his/her future.

College is a place where all of us are in the same boat. None of us know what we exactly want from life (if you do, hats off and all the best, you’re very lucky!). It is twisted to expect a 19-year-old to make life decisions when she still has to ask for permission to use the restroom. But then that’s life. It’s not easy.

Give a confident smile to anyone who asks you about your future and say I haven’t decided yet. You’re not alone. Be proud about accepting you’re cluelessness. Continue talking to kids to get a few potential career options. Till then keep exploring different avenues of interest that excite you. Try everything you love doing. If you are worried about what your parents or the world will think about you please watch 3 Idiots once again. Sometimes, it’s good to leave some questions (“and then what?”) unanswered (like the ones we leave unanswered in most of our answer papers).

Till then, love and live your three year stay at college to the fullest because during this period you always have time!

[Photograph Source: Google Images]

Movie Review: The Rise of the Guardians

Annapoorani K. H., I Year M. Sc. Chemistry.

As children, we’ve all grown up hearing about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and of course, the Easter Bunny. A few would’ve heard of Jack Frost. More importantly, we believed in them. We believed that every Christmas Santa would leave us presents for good behaviour, the Tooth Fairy would give us a penny for being brave when a tooth fell and so on. Our good dreams come from the Sandman and the Easter Bunny was why Easter is so much fun! When nightmares came from Pitch Black, we crawled into our parents’ bed and took comfort from their presence.

As we got older, we grew up. We quit believing in it. Well, this movie will re-instate your belief! A gripping story with an equally well-crafted screenplay ensures that the movie keeps you riveted. While the age-old good vs evil concept is at the base of this movie, there’s no element of predictability.

Movies with an all-star cast have been known to fail at the box-office but this isn’t one of those. The characters have the right voices, the right messages and exactly the same amount of screen-time. You’ll love the gruff wisdom of Santa, the sweet support of the Tooth Fairy, the constant sarcastic banter between Bunny and Frost and above all, the quirks of the Sandman. Jude Law’s Pitch Black will ensure shivers run down your back and have you wishing for his defeat. Cold, cunning and terrifying are the words to describe him.

Fast-paced, thrilling and brilliant, this is one movie that will ensure that we never stop believing that there are guardians that watch over you. You can watch it over and over again without getting bored!

[Photograph Source: Wikipedia]

Game Review: Pokemon Sun and Moon

Rochana Mohan, III Year B. A. English.

SPOILER WARNING: STORY DETAILS ARE REVEALED WITHOUT SHAME. I MEAN IT’S POKEMON, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT.

The first Pokemon console release after the phenomenon that was Pokemon Go, Pokemon Sun and Moon had to meet the towering standards of being the best console release till date. With new fans entering the franchise and retired fans deciding to return, Pokemon Sun and Moon had to balance innovation with simplicity. Well, does it succeed?

The overwhelming response to that question, coming from a fan of the franchise for the past 17 years, is a yes. Pokemon Sun and Moon met all the exacting standards of the hard-core fans, achieved the simplicity needed for newer fans, all while reminding the older fans that you had to ‘Catch ‘Em All’. Oh, but I will most certainly go into great detail.

With each new game comes in a slew of new Pokemon. Now that we’re on 801 Pokemon in total, it does get rather difficult to keep up. However, unlike in Pokemon Black and White, Pokemon Sun and Moon brings in newer Pokemon designs that are not only simplistic but also memorable. Crowd favourites include Rowlet, Litten, Oricorio, Mudsdale and my personal favourite, the adorable puppy Pokemon Rockruff.

The graphics have advanced greatly from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Comparing the two games, the design models for all characters have vastly improved. The diagonal movement allows for realistic exploring, and the new style allows for little details to be noticed. The in-battle designs have improved greatly, with newer animation designs and models bringing out little nuances in the game – Lusamine’s Pokemon have angry expressions on their faces when you battle them.

The plots of Pokemon games have been very predictable in the past. This time, Game Freak and The Pokemon Company tried to show the development of character and more unique characters are presented in a different manner. The character of Lillie is most impressive – she grows and matures from a terrified, mysterious girl to a confident, brave young lady.

The addition of Trials rather than Gym Battles was a stroke of genius. It brings innovation to the usual Pokemon game for the older fans without removing the quintessential element of collecting the Gym Badges –in this case Z-Crystals – from the game.

Pokemon Sun and Moon was a game I was itching to play – only to want to play it again. It made the Alola Region feel like a living breathing new environment that was fresh with strife, strange new creatures, and adventures. This hard-core fan is excited to see what The Pokemon Company has in store in the future.

[Photograph Source: http://www.pokemon-sunmoon.com]

The Exodus of the Exceptional

Jerusha Christina Jose, III Year B. V. A. Fine Arts.

After the usual drama of receiving the results of our 12th standard board exams or during the final year of our undergraduate education, a question that frequently pops in our mind is: “What next?” That question is followed and subsequently answered by another question: “Here or Abroad?”

We always come across many talented Indians conquering the world in the various fields of technology, business, academia etc. There are several reports suggesting that Indians dominate the technology industry of the USA.

But why are most of those Indians not in India but in the USA or UK? If we go a little more in-depth to analyse this issue, we will begin to notice that the top Indian professionals and entrepreneurs today in the US had actually left India during the latter part of the 20th century after obtaining their degrees in India. So, why did we have such a severe brain drain?

Human capital flight, sometimes called brain drain, refers to the emigration of intelligent, well-educated individuals for better pay or conditions, causing their places of origin to lose skilled people, or “brains”.

One common answer we get is that India did not have the right opportunities for their specialisation. This might hold true for technical PhD holders who need employment from research institutes which might not have been prevalent in India.

It is easy to claim that such people are greedy and that they do not care for our country as per common patriotic norms and choose to flee abroad to apparently greener pastures. But the real reason lies in the political & economic system and the imbalance between supply and demand in a certain field.

“As I had wanted to pursue my higher studies in Western History of Art, I had to opt (for) studying abroad as no university in India offered a degree in Western Art History. I love India but it could not provide what I wanted” says Dr. Florence Vincent, an alumnus of the Oxford University.

Indian academia has for the past several decades suffered from brain drain and continues to lose smart and hard-working academics to universities and research centres in North America, Europe, and other parts of Asia.

According to a recent report from the National Science Foundation’s National Centre for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), India has continued its trend of being the top country of birth for immigrant scientists and engineers, with 950,000 out of Asia’s total 2.96 million. More worryingly, these numbers show an 85 per cent increase over the last decade. Similarly, according to an OECD report, highly educated Indians are the fastest growing set of emigrants to OECD countries.

“Brain drain is pronounced in areas other than the sciences and engineering. For example, there is no head count of Indian economists who work abroad but we do know that they are many. Recently, the Indian government itself recruited its top economic decision-makers – Kaushik Basu (Chief Economic Adviser under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh), Raghuram Rajan(formerly Chief Economic Adviser and now Governor, RBI), Arvind Subramanian (the current Chief Economic Adviser) and Arvind Panagariya (Vice-Chairperson, NITI Aayog) – out of American institutions,” says Dr. Maya Bennett, an official at IDP, an agency to facilitate studying abroad for Indian students.

Overall, the number of immigrant scientists and engineers in the US has risen to 18 per cent from an earlier 16 per cent and 57 per cent of those were born in Asia.From 2004 to 2014, the number of scientists and engineers residing in the US rose from 21.6 million to 29 million.

This 10-year increase included significant growth in the number of immigrant scientists and engineers, from 3.4 million to 5.2 million, said the report from the National Science Foundation’s National Centre for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).

“Also since 2004, the number of scientists and engineers from the Philippines increased 53 per cent and the number from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, increased 34 percent, leaving India as the biggest contributor to the scholar pool of the USA and UK” Dr. Maya Bennett added.

The NCSES report found that immigrant scientists and engineers were more likely to have earned post-graduate degrees than their US-born counterparts. As US citizens claim to have a strong base in learning, while the Indians and others ask for more.

In 2014, 32 per cent of immigrant scientists reported their highest degree was a master’s (compared to 29 per cent of US-born counterparts) and 9 per cent reported it was a doctorate (compared to 4 per cent of US-born counterparts).

“The most common fields of study for immigrant scientists and engineers in 2014 were engineering, computer and mathematical sciences and social and related sciences,” the findings of IDP’s recent study showed.

Over 80 per cent of immigrant scientists and engineers were employed in 2014, the same percentage as their US-born counterparts.

Among the immigrants in the science and engineering workforce, the largest share (18 per cent) worked in computer and mathematical sciences, while the second-largest share (eight per cent) worked in engineering. Three occupations — life scientist, computer and mathematics scientist and social and related scientist — saw substantial immigrant employment growth from 2004 to 2014, the report said.

Post-graduate students from India are increasingly choosing to study abroad. The U.S. Council of Graduate Schools’ new statistics show that offers of admission to Indian post-graduate students are up 30 per cent for 2014-15 from the previous year, compared to a 9 per cent increase for all countries. Numbers from China showed no increase compared to last year. While these statistics are only for the U.S., India’s most popular destination, it is likely that other countries such as Germany, Canada and the U.K. are also seeing significant increases from India.

Why? There are, no doubt, many reasons why Indians are choosing to study abroad. Two of these factors are troubling for India’s universities and for prospects for the high-tech economy. When bright students look around India for a place to study for an advanced degree, they find only a few top-quality programmes. In the social sciences and humanities, there are a small number of respectable departments, but absolutely none that are considered by international experts as in the top class of academic programmes.

“I had always wanted to be an art therapist, I have a diploma in Psychology from the University of Madras and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the Government College of Fine Arts. But there was no Master’s degree in Art Therapy, so here I am, currently pursuing a degree in Art Therapy at the George Washington University, Washington DC. Yes, it is super expensive, but my family agrees it is worth the investment,” says Amrita Singhvi, a student at the GWU, Washington.

In the hard sciences, biotechnology, and related fields, the situation is more favourable with a few institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and some others, despite limited acknowledgement from abroad, being internationally competitive by most measures. But the numbers of students who can be served by these schools is quite limited.

Thus, if a bright Indian wants to study for a doctorate or even a master’s degree at a top department or university in most fields, he or she is forced to study overseas. Further, a degree from a top foreign university tends to be valued more in the Indian job market than a local degree — a perception based not only on snobbery but also on facts. While master’s degrees can be quite costly in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and elsewhere, doctorates are in fact quite inexpensive because of the likelihood of securing a research or teaching fellowship or assistantship that pays for most or all of the costs.

Not only are overseas programmes and departments more prestigious, they also have far better facilities, laboratories and a more favourable culture of research. Top faculty members are often more accessible and it is easier to become affiliated with a laboratory or institute. Academic politics exists everywhere, and Indians may suffer from occasional discrimination abroad, but overall academic conditions are likely to be better than at home.

Finally, studying abroad is often seen as the first step toward emigration. Of course, few students will admit this, but statistics show that a very large proportion of students from India — and also from China, South Korea and other Asian countries — choose to stay in the U.S. following the completion of doctoral degrees. Data from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates show that 80 per cent or more of students who complete their PhDs in the U.S. from India and some other Asian countries remain in the U.S.

“I chose to stay back in Seattle after my Master’s in Comparative Religion, as I knew getting a job or a research grant in my field of study in India would be near to impossible; Plus, I love the city, its people and the dogs-off-the-leash policy. I do come visit my family, whenever time permits,” says Susan Kurian, currently working at the University of Washington, as a teaching assistant.

The reasons for deciding not to return to India are varied and not hard to discern. Better salaries and facilities abroad, easier access to research funds, working on cutting-edge topics and many others are part of the mix. And while some are lured back to India later in their careers, the numbers are small. Once established overseas, either in a university or in the research or corporate sectors, it is difficult to return.

It may be relevant to note that the rate of Chinese post-graduate students going abroad is flat after a number of years of steady increases. A likely explanation, with relevance for India, is that China has invested heavily in its top-tier universities and now has significant quality and capacity in most academic fields for post-graduate study. Chinese students are no longer obliged to go abroad for high-quality programmes, with an apparent trend toward choosing to remain at home.

There are quite a few who return to India, a few to serve the economic potential of their homeland and many others, in all honesty, who find themselves without jobs or adequate funding or for the reasons of the elderly parents.

“I returned to India after a MBA from Wharton, mainly for my parents; my mother’s blood sugar problems and my father’s waning health. I may have earned more in the US, but what good is a well-paying job, if you can’t care for your parents?” asks Mr. Selwyn Pandian, an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania.

There is no short-term solution to this problem for India. The only remedy is to build up high-quality capacity in key disciplines at national institutions so that a greater number of Indian students can obtain excellent training at home. This means significant investment over time, and careful choices about where to invest since all universities cannot be top research universities.

It also means significant changes in India’s academic culture to ensure that meritocracy operates at all levels. China’s top universities are beginning to show up in the mid-levels of the global rankings, an indication that they are having some success. India, so far, is nowhere to be seen.

So, you want us to stay in our motherland for infinity and beyond? Then, up your game, India.

[Photograph Source: Go Indian News]

Placements 2016-17

Stella-r Placements despite tough market situations

Vidhya R, III Year B. Comm.

Out of the 593 students who registered at the Career Guidance Cell (CGC) this year, 235* students have secured their placements successfully. The Commerce department, the biggest department in the college, had the highest recruits totalling 112 students. The Economics, Literature, Maths and Chemistry departments also fared well this year.

The Chemistry Department saw a new entrant this year in Sun Pharmaceuticals. Another new development seen this year is the entry of Mathematics students into the Business Analytics, Banking and Financial Services domains. Top Companies like Google, McKinsey and Ernst & Young have shown keen interest in the Department of Mathematics this year.

The Literature, Sociology and Fine Arts Departments predominantly took up Publishing and Teaching job profiles. Top recruiters in these departments include Velammal College, R R Donnelley and ZOHO.

Ms Sarala Vasu, Head of CGC feels that this year has not been the “representative year” for the placements in Stella. “This is mainly due to the global economic and market conditions. Due to Brexit and now Trump’s administrative rule, there has been a cap on IT export,” she says. The Computer Science Department was the worst hit, with several IT companies like Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, Polaris and Mahindra Tech not making it this year, resulting in lesser numbers.

The best package this year was Google – CTC Rs. 5.6 Lakhs. This figure is excluding Bonus and ESOP which by itself is valued at close to Rs. 6 Lakhs. Other top packages were offered by companies like McKinsey, Shell and Deloitte. Royal Bank of Scotland and Ernst & Young (GDS) recruited the maximum number of candidates. Other notable recruiters that are expected in the following month are DSP BlackRock, Accenture and I-Thought.

*As on February 1st 2017

Source: Career Guidance Cell

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