Purnima Mehta, Ph.D. at Punjab Agricultural University

Purnima Mehta, Ph.D. at Punjab Agricultural University

Please include details about your educational background and what sparked your interest in atmospheric or related sciences.

I did my doctorate in “agricultural meteorology” in the Department of Climate Change and Agricultural Meteorology at Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, Punjab, India. I did my masters of science in “environmental management” in the Department of Environmental Science with Dr. Yashwant Singh at the Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry in Nauni, Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India.

My main emphasis was on providing weather-based advisories to farmers for increase in crop productivity due to change in climatic conditions. I worked on smart agriculture facilities for farmers to minimize the communication barriers between farmers and scientists.

Recently in my research work, I developed the Agromet wheat app for Punjab farmers for giving weather-related warnings to farmers and also developed a growing degree days calculator.

What was your first job in the field and how did you end up in the job you are in now?

I did a four-month job after masters in NICRA project at Central Potato Research Institute. The main objectives of project were:

  1. To enhance the resilience of Indian agriculture crops to climatic variability and climate change through development and application of improved production and risk management technologies.
  2. To demonstrate site-specific technology packages on farmers' fields for adapting to current climate risks.
  3. To enhance the capacity of scientists and other stakeholders in climate resilient agricultural research and its application.

What opportunities did you pursue that you knew would be beneficial to securing a job in the profession?

During my Ph.D. program, I was an INSPIRE fellow in the Department of Science and Technology in New Delhi, India. I also developed a weather-based mobile app “Agromet Wheat” for farmers. The app is useful for farmers by giving information about wheat management practices and wheat advisories about weather, insects, and diseases for three agroclimatic zones of Punjab.

What other courses/skills beyond the required math and science courses do you think would be the most helpful to individuals wanting a career in your profession?

Disaster management.

What do you like most about your job? What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Interacting with farmers and to tackle there problems.