Polymer chemistry professor Ram Gupta represents Pittsburg State in many outlets through his research, which has received notable recognition. Alongside teaching and leading Pitt State students toward environment friendly polymer chemistry usages, Gupta also produces consistent nationally known research.
“Of course (I am) very happy,” Gupta said. “So we publish also lots of papers in different journals, so far we have published about 180 journal articles, which is a really good number, and of course we feel very happy. And we get lots of support from here, from our administrator, we have research funding, we get lots of support in terms of the students, so we feel really, really happy.”
A main goal within Gupta’s research is to find alternative, eco-friendly materials, such as ones that are bio-based. Gupta said he is currently working on multiple projects with this goal in mind.
“We are doing a lot,” he said. “So our idea is to use cheap and cost-effective material … so we use bio-based materials such as vegetable oils or orange juice to make polyethylene forms. So polyethylene forms are almost everywhere, like this carpet, seat cushions, even the bedding of couches … so those polyethylene forms are highly flammable, so our idea is to make something that is environment-friendly and non-flammable … that is one project that we are working (on), the other project we are working are based on energy. We do a lot of research on batteries, super capacitors, and fuel sales, so again we are trying to use non-toxic material for energy storage applications, so we are using bio-based materials such as banana peels or … soy bean residue or residue to make batteries. So several undergraduate and graduate students are involved in these projects. And another research area we are doing is we are trying to produce energy from water …”
For Gupta, he believes that providing learning opportunities for students is a major aspect of his position, saying: “if our students are successful then we are successful.”
“One of my students—he was a high school student—he was working with me in summer only and he got admitted into Stanford, which is really, really awesome for us,” he said. “And, in fact, I got one certificate from Stanford … So again, this kind of certificate to the teacher or faculty that motivated a student from a not very good university or good school how we motivated them to achieve their dream. So he got into Stanford and I think he was asked to write something and then we got that certificate.”
It is not uncommon for Gupta to influence students within their work, as he did the same for both Sneha Ramaunjam, senior in polymer chemistry, and Camila Zequine, graduate student in polymer chemistry.
“It was actually great because he is very supportive and he’s very generous and he’s very helpful to students, like in all ways, like he guides you very properly,” Ramaunjam said. “I have been very, very pleased working with him, like I am very glad that I got an opportunity working with him.”
Zequine said she has nine papers published with Gupta and has attended numerous conferences with him as well.
“So he is like a father for me, he is a really good friend also,” Zequine said. “It’s very good to work with him because he is very organized, so I could learn many different things all … also in my life he always help me with different things, so it’s great. … I believe that he can be recognized like this because he’s really awesome. All the work that he has been working since long it’s awesome, he always have really good results in everything that he works.”
Ramaunjam said that in comparison to other faculty members, Gupta is one of the best.
“If you see, compared to other faculty members, the work he is doing and the works that he has published it’s like tremendous,” Ramaunjam said. “He has done many publications and his work is well known by everyone. And he has many grants as well, so that obviously explains how good his work is, so I think he is doing great.”
Pawan Kahol, dean of graduate and continuing studies, dean of research, and professor of physics, has known Gupta for a “long time” as a colleague, researcher, and mentor. Kahol first met Gupta at Missouri State University in 2006, where Gupta spent five to six years working alongside Kahol, during which Kahol said he took Gupta “under his wing.”
“He’s a joy to work with,” Kahol said. “He is a real collaborator, kind of a team player. When we work together we want to get to the genesis of what is happening, we’re not happy kind of just looking superficially what is happening … and most of the time that involves hours and hours, and we don’t give up…”
Kahol said that oftentimes students are also part of Gupta’s work, in order for them to learn, saying they want to “bring the best out of students” and “keep students front and center.” Kahol added Pittsburg State is “so proud” and “so happy to have him here.”
“… I don’t say he is a rising star, he is a star,” Kahol said. “He has done work with so many well known scientists and engineers all over the world, published so much stuff, presented so much stuff. We’re just fortunate that he is here, he can go to many places, he himself is pretty proud that he is at Pittsburg State.”
Gupta’s work ethic is “exemplary,” according to Kahol, in that Gupta constantly thinks of what is next to do. Kahol describes Gupta as “totally committed to his work,” though also as friendly toward both his colleagues and students.
“… He is the editor of many journals; it’s a dream thing for many, many professors to get to that caliber so that they become the editors or chief editors,” Kahol said. “That’s a statement of his acceptance as an international scientist… This is just a sample of what he does, he is involved in many, many other areas… I’m very, very appreciative of what he does… If you want something done, he’s my guy and he’ll get it.”
No matter the amount of research Gupta performs, he constantly reaffirms his colleagues and students to aim high and never to give up on their own work.
“Well, I would say keep hard working, it will always give you outcome,” Gupta said. “So if you do hard work it will be always helpful to you. So to all students and to even other faculty I tell keep doing hard work and don’t worry about the reward it will come someday.”