Many things had to go right for me to reach where I am today. But perhaps the most important thing that happened to me was being chosen by the The Pestalozzi International Foundation (formerly the Pestalozzi International Village Trust; Pestalozzi for short) to study the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma in a sleepy little village called Sedlescombe in the East Sussex county of the United Kingdom. Pestalozzi is a UK-based charity that offers scholarships to “exceptional 16-19-year olds who are academically bright, but have limited educational prospects in their home countries.”

Before being chosen for the Pestalozzi program, I had no clear direction for continuing my further education. I was doing well in school and was interested in pursuing science but I neither knew how to do it nor how to pay for my education ahead. So when Pestalozzi offered me the chance to come to the UK for two years to study the IB Diploma, I took a blind-faith leap and went for it, without even completely understanding what the program entailed. All I knew was that I had a chance of continuing my education.

The time I spent at Pestalozzi were hands down the best two years of my life! I received an excellent education, and living among a multinational and multicultural group of people helped me develop a global perspective on many matters. The Pestalozzi mission of educating the “Head, Heart and Hands” influenced my own learning and teaching philosophy. Pestalozzi’s timely mentorship helped me chart a path to pursuing science. Before coming to Pestalozzi, I had not even heard of MIT, and yet, three years later I found myself in Cambridge, Massachusetts conducting cutting-edge research on exoplanets.

Pestalozzi changed my life and it continues to do so for many young people around the world. If you would like to know more about Pestalozzi and/or wish to contribute to their mission, feel free to reach out to me or visit their website at The Pestalozzi International Foundation.

I’ll end this page with a few pictures from my time at Pestalozzi. (It’s been a long time since these pictures were taken and I have mostly forgotten who took them. So I apologize for the missing credits. If you see this page and remember that you captured any of these pictures, kindly let me know and I’ll gladly add your name.)