Unique Scientist: Akanksha Rai

Time to meet Akanksha Rai (She/her)! Akanksha is an immunologist and science communicator from India!

What kind of scientist are you?
I am a Master’s student in BITS Pilani researching on Immunology and regularly share science on my website and Instagram.

What made you want to become a scientist?
There’s something exciting about “asking cool questions all your life” and getting paid for it. My master’s program is 90% funded with institution fellowship and scholarship from the Government of India.

“There’s something exciting about “asking cool questions all your life” and getting paid for it.”

Akanksha Rai

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I still feel that women in India have a long way to go, in terms of representation in research at higher levels. Science is not so sought after in our country, and is neither known for its value. The craze here is for an engineer’s degree or medicine.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I love aquarelle art! I’ve been previously school championship in international art contest, I love to write poetry and share it on my Instagram handle. Although I’m right-handed I’ve an unusual propensity of using my left hand while playing shuttle, using scissors, titrating solutions, or just cutting some veggies.

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
One reason why many people don’t go for science degrees in India is because an average science post graduate cannot afford a stable living. Funds are given to a handful of people, while others get drowned in student loans. I want to change this. Financial problems should not hold young minds back.

“Science is not so sought after in our country [India], and is neither known for its value.”

Akanksha Rai

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
I’m here because of the sacrifices my parents have made to give me a good scientific foundation right from my school. And my teachers in college who’ve been instrumental in bringing out the scientist in me and in believing in myself.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
Giving attention to my mental health and practising self care rituals.


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