Sonal Baberwal from Amravati, Maharashtra, has won the first Kalpana Chawla scholarship. The scholarship is awarded by the International Space University at the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland.

The scholarship was established to honour the Indian-American’s life.

Sonal (21) has studied at the Shri R L T College of Science and the Sipna College of Engineering and Technology. She has a broad interest in robotics, Pluto, space debris and environmental aspects. She is also interested in the field of Space and Art. She has made several presentations on space-related topics in India and has also won several chess tournaments.

According to the university, the “scholarship is a commitment for creating building blocks that are necessary for India to maintain its leadership in the global space community and market place”.

The scholarship’s goal is to attract talented Indian post-graduates who share ‘Kalpana Chawla’s selfless and passionate pursuit of science and excellence’.

Chawla died in a space shuttle accident on February 1, 2003. The Indian government recognized Chawla’s contribution in the field of astronomy by constituting the Kalpana Chawla Award in 2004 to acknowledge budding women scientists. A planetarium in Kurukshetra and a medical college in Haryana have been named after her.

Also Read: On Her Death Anniversary: Remembering Kalpana Chawla Through Her Words

Picture Credit: International Space University