Publish Date: June 7, 2021
Gaurav Goel grew up in a small town—Sampla in Rohtak district in Haryana. His family was into full time business but for him there were two options—doctor or engineer. The former, for him was ruled out from the start. So it was only engineering that he wanted to pursue.
Goel got a flavour of the Joint Entrance exam(JEE) when he was in the 11 th grade and started taking correspondence coaching from Vidya Mandir classes. He could get a ‘berth’ in the Chemical Engineering department of IIT Delhi in his first attempt .
And how was the crossover from the small town environment to being amidst the academic cream of the country?
“Well, I would say it was a natural progression. This was for the first time, that I moved away from my family and obviously there were moments of anxiety . But I was a part of a 10-20 closed group and we shared a great bonding.”
Goel maintains how the camaraderie in IIT Delhi was knitted beyond India.
“My room mate in the hostel was from Kenya and we shared a good bond.”
Fleshing out some anecdotes Goel said: “ We would on weekends line up at the PVR cinema halls to get a 7 Rs front row ticket. After the movie got over, we would line up again. This was an accomplishment for us at that age.”
But notwithstanding some frustrating moments, life on the campus was good. “ I forayed beyond the boundaries of academics and participated in chess, dramatics and other campus events. This was therapeutic.
“ I did not have any issues with the food and breakfasts were the best. But the Tandoori Rotis were such that one could calculate the elasticity,” Goel said with a smile.
After his graduation, he moved on to the US for pursuing his PhD from UT Austin –broadly on structure-property relationships in complex fluids. Thereafter he went to the Case Western University, Cleveland, Ohio for his postdoctoral work.
In July 2011, he returned back to the campus from where he started his academic journey—this time in a new role.
“It definitely felt like home coming for me. There were new faces. Some of the teachers were now colleagues. I was inundated with a set of mixed emotions. The classrooms where I once sat as a student had a different flavour now.”
Beyond the realms of academics, Goel likes to travel.
“I enjoy travelling and am looking forward to exploring new places once the pandemic settles down.
He is also associated with charitable organisations and has volunteered for Austin Children Shelter in past.
“ I am endeavouring to help people in the pandemic in whatever small way I can, but there are many challenges.”