Kurla Slums to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: Research Scientist Jaykumar Vaidya's untold journey

Jaykumar works at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as a Research Scientist. He has proved that constant hard work and dedication can help you reach the success door.

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Image source: Jaykumar Vaidya Facebook

If you want to drive your life towards success, consistency and determination is the only way one needs to walk on. Jaykumar Vaidya, a boy from Kurla slums, has proved that constant hard work and dedication can help you reach the success door. The journey of the 25-year-old boy is much inspiring. He used to live in a one-room kitchen in suburban Kurla, raised by his single mother.

Jay got abandoned by their father at a young age, his mother Nalini also faced the consequences. Struggling for a meal, Nalini had to do several jobs to take care of Jay, her mother, and her brother. Though being healthy, Jay's uncle was not only an addict but also abusive. This lead Jay to be the man of the house at an early age. Jay started working at an electronic shop at the age of 10 and tried to help his mother in whatever way he could with his little earnings. Most people living in slums get frustrated with their difficult living and financial situation, give up their education and lead to work in small industries accusing their fortune of their whole life. Jay and his mother didn't lead to this way of living. Jay's uncle often used to come to his house and talk about unwanted things. In this situation, Jay would have to find another place to study in peace. He watched tutorials on an old phone, which he bought from the electronic shop where he used to work. 

Jay pursued his engineering from KJ Somaiya College of Engineering in Mumbai, where the fees were over Rs. 1.25 lakh per year. He got help from different NGOs like MESCO Trust that helped him pay his engineering fees. He received more than ten scholarships, including Ratan Tata Scholarship for Engineering students, Somaiya students, Somaiya Scholarship, and a few more. Being a bright student and spending all night studying during his exams, he was always more interested in the practical side of engineering rather than the theoretical. Jay liked to research and to create things and questioning stereotypes. After completing his degree, Jay got an opportunity to work as a researcher with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), earning 30,000 every month, researching nanotechnology from 2016 to 2019. Later he applied for a scholarship and got into the University of Virginia in the United States. He became a Research Assistant while he was in the graduate school of Electrical Engineering. Every month he earned $2000 while getting his degree. 

At present, Jaykumar works at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as a Research Scientist. Also, he spends his time teaching international students from different countries on various online teaching platforms. Jay won three national and four state-level awards in Robotics for constructing a prototype of an agriculture robot vehicle.