Are there honors/achievements/special recognition you would like to list that are not included above?
2005: School of Education Donor Scholarship
President, KU UNICEF- 2004-2005
I am a graduate student at the University of Kansas in Early Childhood Special Education. Prior to coming to the University of Kansas, I worked as a special educator with children with multiple disabilities at the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy (IICP) in Calcutta, India. During my ten years of work at IICP, I was involved in developing training materials in the form of books, videos, films and training kits on reading and numeric skills, early learning skills and Alternative and Augmentative Communication. I was also a member of the team, which developed a graded Reading Kit for children and a manual for the teachers in Hindi and Bengali.
Presently, I work as a Graduate Research Assistant for Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence.
What led you to your area of study/field of interest?
It was by accident that I enrolled in a course on teaching children with special needs. Soon, I realized that this was what I wanted to do. Ever since then there has been no looking back!
Since I began working with children with severe needs, I began appreciating little things in my day-to-day life. I began appreciating being able to walk in a straight line, being able to hold a pencil or a brush or simply being able to smile to a friend. The beaming smiles of the children on the corridors and their optimistic attitude filled me with hope, too. The tremendous zeal, enthusiasm and hope of the parents of children with disabilities is amazing. They have taught me never to give up, however impossible a task may sound- work on it with unquestionable faith!
What honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to you? Why?
Realizing that the accomplishment of goals requires some degree of focus, my main emphasis has been to act as a catalyst to promote quality services to individuals with disabilities and their families in India. My varied and diverse experiences with disabilities have strengthened my will and belief that it is my duty to change the prevalent, narrow view though which people with disabilities are perceived in my country. I believe the society is changing and expanding, and gradually, the views of people towards disabilities will change too!
Who has been influential or had a significant impact on your life? Please elaborate. (Please include individuals at KU as appropriate.)
My family, including my husband, parents, and friends has had a great impact on me. They have constantly encouraged me to find my place in the world, professionally and personally. Every individual who has overcome challenges and has looked for a larger vision has inspired me to better myself.
Why do you believe it is important to recognize women for their accomplishments?
I think it is important to recognize anyone who not only has achieved professional or academic success, but who has also contributed to bettering the communities in which they work and live. I think women should be particularly recognized in academia in light of challenges faced by women in higher education and to support the movement towards women's equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal status with men in the world.
What is a most favorite/least favorite memory as a student?
My most favorite memory as a student in the US was when I took the traditional walk down the Campanile hill after I received my Master's degree. It had been my dream to wear the gown and the hat!
What is your definition of success?
I think each person defines what he believes success means to him/ her. To me success is going to sleep each night with the thought that it was a day well spent, and I have been able to put in my time and effort in something that I am passionate about.