Big leap to NASA, this farmer's daughter's determination took her from Kerala's paddy fields to the stars 

Ashna Sudhakar, a PhD student, completed her intenship recently and plans to go back to the US to complete a few more research papers, her father said 
Ashna Sudhakar had always been an active participant in competitions and have won prizes in school and college level
Ashna Sudhakar had always been an active participant in competitions and have won prizes in school and college level

A young woman from Kerala has brought laurels to her family and village through her sheer grit and determination after she returned from a three-month internship in NASA, a dream come true for the young farmer's daughter who idolises Kalpana Chawla. 

Ashna Sudhakar who interned at VSSC and Nainital's Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences had applied for an internship at NASA, post her 15-day training at the NASA Space School in Maharashtra. Following rigorous interviews and research proposal presentations, she was invited for the internship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.

The Unstoppable: Ashna who had finished her just internship is planning to go back to the US for more research works

Ashna’s father E M Sudhakaran talks eagerly about his daughter’s achievements. "Right from childhood, she knew what she wanted. She was extremely hard-working, diligent and used to sit up in the late hours to finish her work or read books,” he says. "Neither my wife nor I played a role in our daughter’s achievements. She secured the internship at NASA because of her hard work. We just urged her to continue her studies and never stood in the way of her dreams," he added.

“My daughter feels extremely positive after her visit to the US. She said she will be going to the US to finish a few more research papers," said Sudhakaran. Ashna is now pursuing her PhD in NSS Hindu College, Changanacherry. Teachers and professors remember Ashna being an enthusiastic, affable student who was actively involved in all activities.

Kozhikode Sree Narayana Guru College Department of Physics Head and Ashna’s professor P K Sheela said, “Ashna passed out of the college in 2008. She may not be the class topper, but was active in department activities and a familiar face in the college.” Apart from physics, she was also keen in dancing and writing. “She won several prizes in youth festivals and brought laurels to the school,” said  Abdul Azeez, her science teacher at Government HSS, Pannur. “We are extremely proud of her accomplishments and hope she continues to achieve high.

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