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March 2019 View more

Dr. Shekhar Mishra (far right) with a group of U.S. and Indian scientists

Although his father is now deceased, Dr. Shekhar Mishra recently accomplished a goal that was bestowed upon him by his patriarch—to give something back to his homeland 7,500 miles away.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind recently conferred the 2019 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award—also known as the Expatriate Indian Honor Award—upon Mishra, 58, a senior scientist at Fermilab in Batavia. He received the award, the highest honor conferred on an overseas Indian, for his contribution to science.

“Over the past 15 years I have worked with three presidents and two prime ministers of India, but the words written on the conferred citation from the president—‘In acknowledgment of your outstanding achievement in the field of science and … your valuable contribution in promoting the honor and prestige of India’—has made me very happy and humbled.”

Mishra moved to the U.S. in 1981, received his Ph.D. at the University
of South Carolina in 1987, and has since held many senior management positions at Fermilab. He is currently working with an international group focused on R&D of the cold electronics for the Fermilab Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

The Naperville resident, who raised two children here with his wife Tanuja, continues to foster personal and professional ties here and abroad. “I feel very honored to have been recognized by my motherland for the work in science by a team of my colleagues at the University of South Carolina, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fermilab, and many other national and international laboratories and institutions,” says Mishra. “My only wish is that my dad, who directed me to give something back to India, was alive to see this great Indian recognition of the work of a team.”—MD

Photo courtesy Fermilab