Mr. Vaqas Arshad's Profile
Vaqas holds a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization
in dynamics, control and mechatronics from the State University of New York, Buffalo, where he studied under the Fulbright grant from 2013 to 2015. His Bachelor's degree is in Mechatronics Engineering from the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Pakistan. Vaqas is currently working full time as a Lecturer at the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at NUST. His research interests include mechatronics for rehabilitation, which was the focus of his Master's thesis, and humanoid robots. He is aiming to begin his PhD program next year.
Working as an educator is only one of his passions. Besides his professional commitments, Vaqas is an avid reader, traveler and photographer. This project is something that is not related to his career as an engineer and combines two of his other passions of storytelling through pictures.
Oral Narratives: Chronicles of Fulbright and Humphrey Alumni Through the Decades
This September, we began a journey photographing and interviewing Fulbright and Humphrey alumni in Pakistan. Our aim was to start with alumni who received grants when the exchange programs were launched for students and scholars in the country. Many are now at the apex of their fields. These grantees include scientists, engineers and vice chancellors. We scouted individuals who traveled to the U.S. between 1960 to 1990 and were even fortunate to find alumni from the 1950 batch. We hope to chart their journeys, their rewarding Fulbright and Humphrey experiences, in a photographic interview and how it benefited them several decades later. The stories will also highlight their personal journeys, triumphs and tribulations during their studies in the U.S., their perspectives and hopes for Pakistan then, and their contributions to Pakistan to date. We wish to make it a somewhat oral history project, to collect, preserve and record their experiences from when the world was a fairly different place.
We feel that this project will benefit the global Fulbright and Humphrey community immensely. It will bring to light the struggles and accomplishments faced by alumni and we hope to share their stories across Pakistan and beyond. Through our participation in the Fulbright program, we have experienced for ourselves how incredibly talented and diverse Pakistani scholars and professionals are. By featuring their stories on social media platforms like Facebook, we hope these beautiful stories, intertwined with interesting narratives will reach global audiences and influence all Pakistanis to work for a better tomorrow for themselves, their country and our world.
Our ultimate aim, is to publish this work in the form of a book. Vaqas hopes it will help him when he finally launches his hobby of photography as a second career. Conversely, Eefa – a graduate of Johns Hopkins University – who happens to be an avid storyteller herself and a big fan of the National Public Radio regular story telling sessions with classmates, hopes that such institutionalized oral storytelling can have powerful benefits by promoting community engagement, fostering dialog, empathy and understanding.
This abstract is a joint submission by panelists, Mr. Vaqas Arshad and Dr. Eefa Tabassum.
Mr. Vaqas Arshad
Lecturer, National University of Sciences and
State University of New York