Professor Tapan Datta meets with alumni in India

DETROIT (March 22, 2012) – India native Tapan Datta, professor of civil engineering at Wayne State University and director of the WSU Transportation Research Group, made the most of his most recent journey home. Though more than 7,000 miles from Detroit, Datta took time out of his busy schedule to meet with WSU alumni in Mumbai and Kolkata.


Alumna Suvra Chakrabarti (second from left) and her husband Shibaji (left) met with College of Engineering professor Tapan Datta and his wife Mira in Mumbai in December 2011.

According to Datta, who came to the United States in 1967 to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering from WSU, the meetings provided great opportunities to reconnect with international alumni. They also allowed Datta to hear how prepared alumni felt upon entering their respective workforces thanks to their WSU engineering education.

“Being a faculty member in the WSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has given me an opportunity to provide students with a strong theoretical background and opportunities to apply the lessons they have learned in a practical, hands-on setting,” says Datta, who earned both an M.S. and Ph.D. from Wayne State.Our talented alumni then have the opportunity to take the knowledge, skills and abilities they obtained at Wayne State and apply them in a professional setting, sometimes in countries around the world. I am grateful that our alumni care enough to assist us in establishing a network of alumni in several major cities of India and other countries, so that other students may follow a similar path toward a successful professional career."

In Mumbai, Datta met with Suvra Chakrabarti, who received an M.S. in civil engineering from Wayne State in 2004 and is now a traffic and transportation engineer for India's leading engineering and construction company, Larsen and Toubro Limited. Chakrabarti credits Datta and her Wayne State education for her success.

“My two years in the master’s program opened up a whole new world to me,” Chakrabarti says. “Before that, I was working as a systems engineer in one of India's leading software companies. Being a civil engineer, I always wanted to work in my own discipline. The M.S. program helped me achieve that goal. It was possible because I had found a wonderful mentor in Dr. Datta.”

Chakrabarti plans to become an ambassador for the College of Engineering and will work with college development officers to lead alumni networking efforts in India. Additionally, she will promote the Hometown Heroes scholarship, a way for alumni from around the world to give back to their communities by funding scholarships for deserving students from their hometowns.

Chakrabarti says she hopes to provide others the same educational opportunities she had. “It is important for me to carry on with the same ideology and help and guide others to fulfill their dreams,” she says.

"The Wayne State College of Engineering has an amazing alumni presence across the globe," said Jessica Buttermore, assistant director of development. "These types of events connect our faculty, alumni and students in an invaluable way. The Hometown Heroes scholarship is proof that these connections will have a tremendous impact on future generations of Wayne State engineering students. On behalf of the college, I thank Dr. Datta and our alumni for their efforts in India."

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