Initiative brings Indian students to Penn State York

September 25, 2008

A multi-campus, multi-cultural initiative is bringing students from Mumbai, India, to Penn State to complete their information sciences and technology (IST) degrees.

Samir Shah, an IST instructor at Penn State York, started the Penn State India Initiative two years ago as part of his IST 440W course, which focused on global relationships. His intention was to form partnerships between Penn State and universities in India.

Shah worked with Penn State York Chancellor Joel Rodney to begin the first phase of the program by bringing 10 students from the Vidyalankar Institute of Technology to the United States to complete the last two years of their degrees at Penn State York. Vidyalankar Institute of Technology is affiliated with India’s Mumbai University.

Shantanu Rajadhyaksha, one of those students, said he is adjusting well to life here and to courses at Penn State.

“The program in India is definitely more rigid than the one at Penn State,” he said. “Here, we have the opportunity to take courses outside of IST. That’s something we couldn’t have done there because the courses are already planned out when you enroll in the program … there’s no such thing as making your own schedule.”

As an arts lover, Rajadhyaksha said he particularly enjoys the music and theater courses he is taking this semester. He plans to finish his IST degree at Penn State and hopes to pursue a master of business administration.

Shah was recently appointed director of the Penn State India Initiative by John Romano, Penn State’s vice president of commonwealth campuses. He plans to expand the program to include the following Penn State Commonwealth Campuses: York, Schuylkill, Berks, Greater Allegheny, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre, Worthington and Hazleton, all of which have expressed interest in hosting Indian students.

About 15 students are expected to participate in the program next year, Shah said. Plans are also under way to include more Indian universities and to allow Penn State IST students to study at colleges and universities in India.

The India initiative is one of several connections that IST has with that country. Over the summer, four University Park students spent 10 weeks interning for Honeywell in Bangalore, India. Also over the summer, Irene Petrick, IST professor of practice, completed a faculty internship with Computer Sciences Corp.


  • Participants in the Penn State India Initiative are (left to right):Rohan Chitalia, Ashish Rane, Krupali Desai, Shantanu Rajadhakshya, Kiran Mody, Samir Shah, Kashmira Kundargi, Akshaya Naik, Bhaskar Suryakumar, Sayur Shah, Akhil Rane.

    IMAGE: Samir Shah
Last Updated November 18, 2010