Updated: Nov 3, 2022
by Archana Anokhe
The ICAR National Fellow is a prestigious programme instituted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, to promote excellence in Agricultural Research and Education at the National level in India. Dr. Kolla Sreedevi, Principal Scientist, Division of Germplasm Collection and Characterization, ICAR-National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources, Bengaluru, has been conferred with this prestigious ICAR National fellow in crop sciences this year. Indian Entomologist (IE) congratulates Dr. Sreedevi, who is also serving the IE as an Associate Editor.
Dr. Kolla Sreedevi graduated from S. V. Agricultural College, Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU), Tirupati is presently working as Principal Scientist (Agricultural Entomology) at the Division of Germplasm Collection and Characterization, ICAR-National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources, Bengaluru since June 2017. She started her career as Scientist in 2006 at Citrus Research Station, ANGRAU, Petlur, Nellore dt. (Andhra Pradesh). Later she moved to S. V. Agricultural College, Tirupati, as Assistant Professor in 2007 and continued till 2012, where she taught Entomology courses to UG and PG students and guided five M. Sc (Ag.) students. Thereafter, Dr. Sreedevi joined ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi on Direct Selection as Senior Scientist in May, 2012 and worked on “Biodiversity and Biosystematics of Scarabaeidae” at the National Pusa Collection, Division of Entomology, IARI. Later she got transfer to ICAR-National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources (NBAIR), Bengaluru, in June, 2017. After joining NBAIR, Dr. Sreedevi continued her work on biosystematics of phytophagous Scarabaeidae. She described more than 22 new species in the tribe Sericini of Scarabaeidae and has documented 78 new distributional records across the country apart from species profiling and taxonomic studies. She has been recently awarded the prestigious ICAR National Fellow to work on the biogeography and biosystematics of white grubs in India.
Dr. Archana Anokhe, Associate Editor, IE interacted with Dr. Sreedevi, and the discourse is presented here:
Dr. Archana Anokhe: - How do you feel about being conferred with the prestigious ICAR National Fellow?
Dr. Kolla Sreedevi: - I am feeling very happy as it's a big boon to me in my career, which I never dreamt of. I am humbled and privileged to receive ICAR National Fellow and learned that it is the first time an insect taxonomist has been chosen for this coveted recognition. I am extremely happy that biosystematics importance in Agricultural Entomology has been recognized. It will be very encouraging to youngsters and those working in the taxonomy and biosystematics field. I am incredibly grateful to God, who bestowed me with all the benefits and blessings, though I entered the field late. I am highly thankful to all my teachers, guides, fellow colleagues, and my dear family members, who encouraged and supported me constantly and continuously. In this connection, I would like to specially mention and thank Dr. Abraham Verghese, Former Director, ICAR-NBAIR, Bengaluru, who was my Ph. D guide and mentor, for encouraging me to do Ph. D after a gap of 10 years, away from my career and settled as a housewife; I profusely thank Dr. V. V. Ramamurthy, Former Professor, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi for suggesting me the insect group to work upon and given me the base to work on taxonomy and biosystematics of Scarabaeidae; I am deeply indebted to ANGRAU, which has given me a base as a student and a faculty to start my career as Agricultural Scientist. I also sincerely acknowledge the support and encouragement received from all the past Directors and Present Director, ICAR-NBAIR and colleagues at ICAR-NBAIR, ICAR-IARI and UAS, GKVK. My heartfelt gratitude and thanks to Dr. Dirk Ahrens, ZFMK, Bonn, Germany, world authority in Sericini of Scarabaeidae, for his continued valuable guidance, support, mentoring and encouragement. I also thank all my students and lab people for their valuable help. I am highly thankful to ICAR for giving me this unique opportunity to serve science and farmers better. The immense love and affectionate support from my parents, husband, children and friends keep me motivated and moving ahead.
Dr Archana Anokhe: - Can you please share more details about the ICAR National Fellow that can motivate the youngsters.
Dr Kolla Sreedevi: - The ICAR-National Fellow (NF) programme was initiated in 1978-79 with the objective of promoting excellence in Agricultural Research and Education at the National level and recognizing the meritorious contribution of individual agricultural scientists/teachers, and facilitating their research and related activities in agriculture through funding to carry out the activities. Usually, the total number of positions of ICAR National Fellows will be twenty-five at a given time. This year five positions have been awarded, of which I got it in Crop Sciences. The ICAR NF will be mainly on the merit of the research project submitted in the relevant area, and selection will be based on the relevance of the area of research, proposed plan of work in the form of a project, academic records, achievements, and experience. I am delighted that ICAR NF has been awarded to entomologists in crop sciences.
Dr. Archana Anokhe: - What message do you wish to give to young entomologists and scientists?
Dr. Kolla Sreedevi: - Work hard with sincerity and honesty. All the honours, laurels, recognitions, and awards will follow. Do not limit one's own potential and capability with certain yardsticks or scorecards, thrive to excel more and more; the sky is the limit. The youngsters need to work to their conscious, being loyal to the work and organization, and with their capacities, skills, smartness, and networking, they can take themselves and the organizations to the next level.
Dr. Archana Anokhe: - What strategy should women follow to flourish in STEM?
Dr. Kolla Sreedevi: - Women of late are encouraged in several fields and make themselves visible with their efficiency, perseverance, competence, and capabilities. If we see the workforce of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), it is very less compared to men. Though the gender gap is much evident, women are showing tremendous potential in the recent past, and their presence is increasing in certain fields especially Biology, Material Sciences, etc.
I feel that encouragement should start from parents and schooling for women to flourish in STEM. Young women scholars should make use of special schemes and fellowships of DST and other agencies which are instituted to encourage women scientists. It is glad that, of late, we find many women occupying RMP positions and managing successfully. For instance, prominent organizations like CSIR and ZSI are headed by Women scientists, besides some women Vice-Chancellors and Directors of ICAR Institutes. Women themselves have to get motivated, inspired, and push themselves against most of the odds, obstacles, and difficulties to flourish in STEM. Women also should get inspired by the women achievers and work towards achieving their goals.
I thank profusely Dr. P. R. Shashank, Dr. Archana Anokhe, and the team of Indian Entomologist magazine for giving me this opportunity to express my happiness and gratitude for winning the ICAR National Fellow and share my views and thoughts.
Dr. Archana Anokhe is a Scientist at the Division of Entomology, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi, and also the Associate Editor of Indian Entomologist.