This winter, APS Development Assistant Erin Seamans spoke with recent Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship alumnus Ruhit Sinha about the YPLF program, a scholarship program run by the Education department at the American Philatelic Society. YPLF supports young philatelists, offers them unique opportunities to attend stamp shows across the country, and connects them with experienced mentors in the philatelic world.
Ruhit was a member of the YPLF Class of 2019. (Recent attendees of Summer Seminar and the APS StampShow may have had the opportunity to meet Ruhit and his YPLF classmates.) Ruhit is currently pursuing his masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at South Dakota State University. His YPLF track was on Analytical Philately.
Read the full interview below.
Why did you choose to apply for YPLF and what did you expect to accomplish?
When I was started my MS program at South Dakota State University, I was finding some ways that I would like to spend my leisure time. I checked the website of the American Philatelic Society and learned about the YPLF program. The flyer seemed very interesting: 2-3 visits to stamp shows, the APS office, and the National Postal Museum. I became a member and enjoyed reading the magazine: The American Philatelist.
I was very interested to do analytical philately because it's an emerging field and my education background supported it.
What did you learn about philately through YPLF? Can you recall a moment or memory from your time as a Fellow that was significant in your learning process?
Prior to YPLF, my knowledge about philately was very limited. For the first time, I attended events such as stamp shows. I met other YPLF fellows and mentors, experts and in short, the world of philately.
I recall when my mentors - John Barwis and Richard Judge - sat down with me at NPM and APS' office respectively and taught me about analyzing a stamp. Also, the short meeting with Warren Buffet at Omaha was also an unforgettable moment.
In what ways have you been involved in the philatelic community since graduating from YPLF?
After YPLF, I am working on translating my prototype - "Cathy" - a device which can be used for color detection, to a marketable product.
Recently, I submitted it to a business competition at my university. I am also figuring out ways - such as investment in my start-up - by which I will be able to do business in compliance with my student visa.
Conventional philately should have some touch of modern technologies.
I am curious to hear a bit more about your invention – "Cathy." Would you mind sharing a bit more about how it works?
The prototype uses a RGB sensor to input the data, microcontroller board - Arduino Uno - to process the data and LCD to output the result. In future, I am thinking about using Image Processing Tools to enable Graphical User Interface Platform integrated to a PC or mobile to analyse the color.
What did you learn during your time as a Fellow that serves your involvement in the hobby today?
Being a fellow gave me the exposure to understand that philately is a big subject. As a stamp collector, I am now thinking of focusing my collection . . . probably in the British Colonies.
I see that you are currently in graduate school. What are you studying currently? Where do you hope your career to go after graduate school?
I am pursuing a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at South Dakota State University. I am applying for a Ph.D. for the Fall 2020 session.
How has your time as a Fellow informed your work or school endeavors?
Being in YPLF gave me a chance to travel across various places in the U.S. After my YPLF activities, I made schedules to visit the universities nearby the event venues as a prospective Ph.D. student. The fellowship is also a great way to show my synergistic activities in my resume.
What are your long-term goals in philately?
Apart from collecting, I am keen to do my startup: Nua Joog Labs, through which I can make products that can make philately easier. I feel that conventional philately should have some touch of modern technologies.
What would you say to someone considering joining YPLF?
YPLF is a great program for young-adult philatelists and very flexible towards the profile of fellows. I would suggest future applicants choose the track in which they can give their best.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience of fellows, alumni, donors, and potential applicants?
I am very thankful to my sponsor: Jim Lee, my mentors, Cathy, Ross, and the endless list of names. Thanks to the YPLF alumni for their warm response. Not least, I would like to thank Alexander Haimann and APS for starting the YPLF program. I think this is one of the features which makes it unique from other philatelic club and societies.
Are you wondering if you or someone you know should apply for the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship Program? Check out the exciting perks of being a Fellow!
- Receive a one-year APS membership
- Choose an area of interest: Author, Curator, Dealer, Designer, Exhibitor & Analyst
- Learn from an adult mentor
- Attend the Great American Stamp Show and Spring Meeting
- Attend Summer Seminar on Philately at the American Philatelic Center
- Interact with stamp collectors from around the United States