Driver's daughter bags US varsity scholarship
Poonam Dhull, daughter of a driver working for the government of Haryana, has done her family and state proud by bagging a US $ 50,000 scholarship to pursue a doctorate in the United States.

Twenty-four-year-old Poonam was awarded the $ 50,000 (over Rs.30 lakh) scholarship for pursuing PhD in Chemistry from the University of South Carolina.

Her father, Suresh Pal, works as a driver with the public relations department of the Haryana government.

Poonam is presently a research student in the Department of Chemistry in Panjab University here. She pursued research work under the supervision of P. Venugopalan who guided her on the project "Structure-activity relationships in a-fluorohydrins and their derivatives: A structural investigation".

Hailing from Bhana village in Haryana's Kaithal district, 130 km from here, Poonam studied in the DAV Senior Secondary School in Kaithal before coming to Chandigarh to complete her graduation in chemistry.

"My family supported me in achieving this. They encouraged me to study further and never let any financial difficulties bother me," Poonam, who has two younger siblings, a brother and sister, said.

Suresh Pal said that he was proud of his daughter's achievement. He said that his wife, Sheela Devi, who is semi-literate, encouraged their daughter to study.

The achievement brought Poonam accolades from Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who congratulated her and expressed the hope that she would excel in academics and bring laurels to the state.