Teaching is about inspiring and motivating students to realize and exceed their potentials – Dr. Vikram Kumar

Dr. Vikram Kumar
Assistant Professor (Civil Engineering), Gaya College of Engineering
Ph.D. (IIT Roorkee), M.Tech (IIT BHU)

Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey?

My education begins with schooling which I have done from the Kendriya Vidhalaya throw-out (class 1-12) in different parts of the India after which I did my graduation in Civil Engineering from Govt Engineering College Kota in Rajasthan which is now known as University College of Engineering, Kota in the year 2008.  Since after the graduation, I aimed to do MBA but financial condition didn’t allow thus decided to qualify the GATE which is Graduate Aptitude Test Engineering for national level engineering entrance examination. Qualified the GATE in first attempt during the final year of graduation and ranked in top 10% to achieve the MHRD fellowship for studying M. Tech in Water Resources Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi during 2009-2011 where I received distinction. I have found the field of water resource to be extremely appealing thus pursued Doctorate in the topic “Hydrological Response of an Experimental Watershed of Lesser Himalaya” from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Uttarakhand.

I started my journey of teaching since after my graduation. I taught to the Civil engineering students in the Poornima Group of Institutions in Jaipur for 1.5 years after the M. Tech and Gaya College of Engineering in Gaya for 2.5 years after the Ph.D. To excel in the professional front, I used to participate in the different conferences and workshop. I have participated to summer school in Germany in the year 2015 for advancing the skill of water resources and in Sri Lanka recently to participate in the International Water Association (IWA) conference. I have written more than 25 papers in the International and National peer reviewed journals, 5 books for Civil Engineering subjects and few are still in progress. I have attended several courses covering a wide spectrum of topics including elements of hydrology, watershed management, climate change and conservation practices, remote sensing, water resources engineering and many more.       

Q2. You are a Civil Engineer. Why did you go for teaching instead of any engineering job?

Ohh, very juggling question for me, but to answer this, first I would share a short story which helps to understand why I choose this……………

Siva Subramania Iyer, a teacher of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam hadn’t shown him how birds fly and inspired him to pursue a career in flight, India might not have got one of its greatest space scientists and engineers of all time. India might not have got one of the greatest Presidents of all time. So you see, not only teaching as a profession but also as a passion takes you to greater heights.”

Well!! The first thing which I let you know about teaching as a profession is that, teaching is about inspiring and motivating students to realize and exceed their potentials and by doing that it satisfies me. I have all time devoted my profession career in inspiring and empowering the students to achieve great things and be a good human being. Whereas, choosing the career in Civil engineering, which itself constitutes into a number of options (Structural designer, planner, Geo tech engineer, environmentalist, rural developer, transportation planning, building planning, material design and many more) and considered as a second-oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, involves many responsibilities towards the society and required devotion. By involving in construction after my graduation as a planning engineer, I associated with South Korean Company (Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company) for unique cable stayed bridge project. While working day and night in the construction industry, I fulfilled the responsibilities and all my duties but I was not satisfied due to rare use of my skills and it feels me that I am leaving my passion of teaching.

Perhaps, teaching being as a novel profession which gives me the opportunity and privilege of making an impact on society by shaping the next generation through providing them the tools and knowledge to form their own opinions, make a contribution, and influence society in the future. 

Q3. How do you motivate students to excel in their academics and career?

In order to foster motivation among the students, I try to create learning activities that are based on topics which are relevant to students’ lives. Strategies include using local examples, teaching with events in the news, using technology (YouTube videos) to teach, or connecting the subject with students’ culture, outside interests or social lives. Let them understand the responsibilities which they have after the graduation and sometime I offer reward of marks by conducting the technical activities which sometime work for motivation to do for few students.

Q4. Where do you want to see yourself after 10 years in career?

I look forward to a challenging career in hydrology and climate change research which may even be arduous and demanding at times but I am confident that with my sincerity and dedication, I will be able to make a meaningful contribution to the on-going research developments. I shall strive to channel my unbridled efforts into more productive avenues.

Q5. How do you motivate yourself at every morning?

The morning is quite possibly the hardest time in the day to become productive due to having so many things to get on with and I start it with listening few devotional stories each morning and sometime listen Shivani Verma of Brahma Kumari.

Q6. What was your Thesis topic in Ph.D? Please share some brief about it?

My Ph.D. topic was “Hydrological Response of an Experimental Watershed of Lesser Himalaya” where I chose one mountainous region of lesser Himalaya. In those area, 40% of the world’s population depends face more challenges due to remoteness, susceptibility to natural disaster climate changes, rugged terrain, growing population, low agriculture development and poor management of the available resources poses threat to meet their water requirement. Water scarcity and other quality issues is consequences from unmanaged use and lack of hydro-meteorological data. Thus I did the instrumentation to collect the rain gauges from different altitudes, continuous measurement of 5 different streams to record the discharge from 2014-2017. Installation of automatic weather station to collect the meteorological data which helps to develop the model and understand the hydrology of the Thatyur village located in Tehri Garhwal districts of Uttarakhand. We also monitored the sub-surface flow which is life line of the community and using the collected data suggest some intervention work to recharge the watershed by rainfall and results were promising and it was also suggested to use the surplus water for the agriculture growth to secure the food. Findings from the research would be considered as check for establishing benchmarks for sustainable development of watershed, climate change adaptation and development plans to cope up the water insecurity in rural Himalayas.

Q7. Who is your source of motivation?

My source of motivations are my family members.

Q8. What do you do in your free time? Do you update yourself in terms of education?

I am currently involved in various social activities/moments and particularly proud of my involvement and make other aware with the reading water conservation techniques. I also devote a great deal of my time to reading novel, a tremendously important part of my life. I have on occasion found myself challenged to the maximum of my capabilities because of my high academic standards, my volunteer work. But my strong belief that I have no limitations and my will to succeed has kept me going.

One thought on “Teaching is about inspiring and motivating students to realize and exceed their potentials – Dr. Vikram Kumar

  1. Really inspirational and dedicated life lived by Dr Vikram kumar.His whole life is devoted to scientific reseaches specially in water resource engineering ,watershed management etc.More than 30 paper is published in different journals.He is also extraordinary teacher and always motives student to bring awareness regarding proper uses and stop wasting of water.

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