Research opportunities in Pennsylvania.: Becoming Minnesotan

Prasanna Mishra, c.2001.
  • Name - Prasanna Mishra
  • Age at interview - 50
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.28.1999
  • Family Fun Fair, SILC, Como High School, St. Paul, July 24, 2002.

    Asian Indian, Work

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    Essential Question

    Coming to America: What did coming to America symbolize for this person?

    Push & Pull Factors: Why did this person come to the U.S.?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    India has a very good educational system.  The free public schools have offered opportunities for many young Indian men and women to earn college degrees and even advanced degrees, as well as gain advanced skills and better jobs.  However, India’s economy has often struggled over the past 100 years.  Because India is such a huge country with so many different ethnic groups, there has been a lot of competition for sometimes limited job opportunities.  Many well-educated Indians have moved to the U.S.  for specialized jobs that they cannot find in India.

    To learn more about Asian Indian history and culture, visit our Asian Indian Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Prasanna Mishra 1
    2:13 Minutes | 2.13Mb


    Narrator: Prasanna Mishra (PM)

    Interviewer: Polly Sonifer (PS)

    PS:  So you had this opportunity to come to America, shortly after your marriage, but then you delayed that.

    PM:  That's right.

    PS:  So tell me about this first job that you were offered and how you came to have that.

    PM:  This was in the Institute of Cancer Research in Philadelphia, Fox Chase Cancer Center. This was a yearlong project, a project for a year. This was to apply the physical technique I used to do to stir up proteins in cancer and the drugs. So I came to Philadelphia for a year.

    But from Philadelphia I went to Pittsburgh, which was very thrilling for me. There was the most powerful NMR [nuclear magnetic resonance] machine in the world at that time, all designed in-house, in Carnegie Mellon University, and I always loved doing things by hand. I stayed there for twelve years. I loved every moment of it.

    PS:  And the specific project you were working on was to cure cancer?

    PM:  It was a machine to study the structure of molecules. If you know the structure and the functions are related, so if you want a certain function of the molecule, you have to design it a certain way, so you need to know the structure of the molecule in a liquid state, and nuclear magnetic resonance happens to be the best technique to study molecules in liquid state and find their structure.

    PS:  So after twelve years, had you moved up, or were you doing essentially the same thing in twelve years? Is there a hierarchy of —

    PM:  Yes, I joined as a postdoctoral fellow, then I became the facility manager there. You don't necessarily do research. Being a facility manager, you provide other — run other samples, give them assistance in analyzing and stuff. But it is a similar work. Yes, move up in the hierarchy, more money, probably, but it is similar work. I loved it.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Verb:  To examine something closely.  (analyzes, analyzing, analyzed)


    Noun:  A graduate awarded a fellowship, a temporary position at an academic institution with limited teaching duties and ample time for research.


    Noun:  An established rank or system of order.


    Noun:  A chance for advancement, progress, or profit.


    Noun:  The overall form or organization of something.


    Noun:  A way of doing something, especially in a systematic way.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 598