In 1967, a young couple left behind their parents and families in India and arrived in Cleveland, Ohio to start an incredible journey. Our father had arrived to pursue a PhD in Solid State Physics at Case Western Reserve University. They had previously never spent any time outside of India, and had in fact rarely traveled farther than a few miles from home. They left their entire support systems to build a life in America. In this country, they found a totally foreign landscape. A new language, new foods, new sights and sounds, new smells, new clothes, and new weather. Our mother recalls sitting at the window and watching the snow fall for hours. Until then, she had only read about snow in books. Our father worked endlessly at his studies, while our mother spent the days at home crying, missing her family and writing letters home. But through his dedication to his education, his persistence, his charisma and his sheer force of will, he was able to find a job in this country at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and build a life for his family.
After earning his PhD (in the shortest time on record at Case) our father spent 25 years of service with the Federal government – dedicated to his new country. The last chapter in his career was as a Senior Program Director at the Wm Keck Foundation. He was honored to be involved in the Board meetings with people like Robert Day, Ed Stone, Tom Everhart and Jim Baker.
We remember his and my mother’s pride when they took their oaths of citizenship in 1980. One son went on to serve this country honorably for 12 years in the United States Navy. Another son captured his own American dream as an entrepreneur. His daughter earned her PhD in neuroscience.
Over the years, he often expressed his wish to establish a scholarship fund at Case Western Reserve University to help others in the pursuit of their American story. The purpose of the scholarship is to support a Physics Graduate Student coming from India. We hope that this fund will make life just a little easier for the next generation of future Americans.
If you would like to help further that cause, and in lieu of flowers, we ask that you join us in planting these seeds for the future. Any amount small or large is welcome.
- Jeremy & Masha Vernassal
- Davina Massey
- Jade Perdue-Puli
- Anthony Detrick
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