Monday Motivation #101 — Student Takeover! (5/2/22)

Katy Luchini Colbry
4 min readMay 2, 2022


Happy Monday Everyone!

This week is another student takeover of Katy’s newsletter! I am Rahul Jain and I am a dual Ph.D student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE). This newsletter is a part of an awesome project by Augusto Gil whom you might recollect from one of the previous newsletters. Augusto is a College of Engineering Leadership Fellow and his project for the fellowship involves connecting graduate students in the college by sharing their personal stories to foster a sense of belonging within the engineering community. He graciously agreed for me to sign up for this month’s newsletter.

I come from Mumbai (formerly called Bombay) which is a huge metropolitan city on the western coast of India. It is actually comprised of 7 small islands that were merged into a single landmass by multiple land reclamation projects. Mumbai is just a little larger than Detroit but its population is twice that of Michigan! It is also the financial capital of India. Moving to East Lansing was definitely a big change for me personally, but I do like it a lot here too. I definitely appreciate the convenience of being able to drive comfortably in any part of the town and not having to deal with public transportation all the time.

Summer is already at its peak in India during the month of May which is a little earlier than in Michigan. There is one summer tradition we had when I was a child that I dearly miss. All the members of our extended family, at least for a couple of weeks, gathered in the village my mom grew up. It was a multi-generational household headed by my mom’s grandfather where my mom, her siblings and all her cousins that shared the same lineage with her grandfather grew up together. Imagine living in a 50 people household! We would call it the palace-house. It even had an indoor well, about 60 ft deep, as that was the only source of freshwater. All the chores were divided among the members of the family in an assembly line kind of fashion and different people really became experts at different chores. While we don’t do this every summer anymore, we often try to visit as much as we can.

Food was, obviously, an integral part of these visits. Street food is a big cultural thing in India that people bond over. While we did enjoy many street food options like ‘samosa’, ‘pani puri’ and ‘momos’, we equally enjoyed fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Dominos. A lot of my American friends are surprised when I tell them that these fast food restaurants have completely different menus for the Indian market. For example, the best selling item in McDonalds India is ‘Alu-tikki’ which is a spicy potato burger. My favourite Dominos pizza was ‘Paneer makhani’ that has cottage cheese curry on the crust. Sometimes, I miss those things in the US too.

Thanks to my cooking skills, I try to imitate those delicacies with varying levels of success. I spend most of my weekends experimenting in the kitchen and sometimes I manage to even surprise myself. If you want to learn a little more about me, please check out the attached profile. Thanks again to Augusto for letting me do this and to Katy for providing us this space. Feel free to reach out to me ( if you have any questions. If you would like to be featured in the future or know someone who would be a good fit, please email Augusto Gil (, Sandra Christlieb ( or Katy Colbry (

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead!

Rahul Jain

Three Things to Try This Week

Get to Know Someone New — It’s the start of a new month, which means another installment in our series of introductions to different member of our graduate community. Check out the pictures to “meet” Rahul, and reach out to Augusto Masiero Gil ( to be featured in this series!

Networking — As we make our way to in-person conferences and workshops post pandemic, most of us have to learn how to be social again. Networking is a strategic component of your overall success and many graduate students struggle with it. Check out these 5 tips specially curated for graduate students for academic networking.

Rest with Music — Emotional Wellness Course by Health4U Program at MSU — A series of live musical performances on a workday to help you relax. This class is held in person at the Abrams Planetarium as well as on Facebook live. Check out the dates and times for this course run by the Health4U Program at MSU and consider signing up for a few classes. It is free for graduate students.

More Resources

  • Check out this recipe for a completely gluten free Indian style cottage cheese cake. It is a dessert recipes from the Indian state of Odisha. It is easy to make and tastes heavenly.
  • It is very important to be actively involved in some kind of a physical activity for a healthy body and mind. However, it is very difficult to find time for a workout. Check out this new fitness trend on Microworkouts and see if you can fit this in your lifestyle.



Katy Luchini Colbry

wanted to send a few supportive emails to her students, but ended up with a weekly blog. Follow along to see how long it takes her to run out of stories….