After my unsuccessful attempt at a medical profession In India, my journey started in US in 2003. At that Time, I was looking for a job by applying for 10-15 positions a day and still nothing happened for almost a year. I had a master’s degree in Entomology (Insect Science) from Guwahati University, India but couldn’t find a job here even after I reduced my qualifications to a Bachelor’s degree.
One day, I decided to start volunteering to get to know people around me. At that time, my husband was working in Downtown Phoenix so I decided to Volunteer at the “St Luke’s Medical Hospital”. That when I learnt a lot about the working of a hospital from the surgical waiting room to the Emergency unit to working on the Console in the front office.
During those days, I would always be my cheerful self, always wishing “Good morning ” to everyone I see and I kept track of some familiar faces that I used to see every day. One day, around three months into the volunteering, one of the familiar ladies whom I said “HI” too every day came up to me and asked me “Do you want a Job?” I thought I had heard her wrong and told her “But I did not apply for any job” and in a matter of three weeks, I was cleaning cafeteria tables and floor as a Cashier in the Cafeteria. I loved the job as I got to learn about the packing of lunches for the patients and also got to work as a Cashier. The next few months was smooth sailing, during the cafeteria hours that I had a break, I worked as a volunteer all around the hospital, Then in 2004, July, I got hired as an Adjunct Faculty at the Mesa Community College. Since that day till 2013, I continued to teach at different community colleges from Phoenix College, Estrella mountain community College to finally Chandler Gilbert Community College.
During that time, I had my daughter and my son and I was happy babysitting them in the morning and going to teach in the evenings. Life was finally settling down. Then in 2012, I got an offer to work at USDA as a Laboratory technician and ended up working with Dr. Colin Brent on Lygus bugs. It was extremely fun to find myself in a research setting once more. I always to pursue my PhD and I still remember the day when Dr. Brent took me to ASU on a tour of the Social Insect Research Group (SIRG). I will never forget that day. That was a beginning of a new chapter in my life. I started to Volunteer at the Honey Bee Lab at ASU Polytechnique under Dr. Osman Kaftanoglu. Whatever minimal I know about bee keeping, is because of his patience with me. I worked tirelessly at the Honeybee lab for almost a year and then finally got accepted into a PhD program in 2014 August. I was extremely happy that I came back to school after 13 years of my first Master’s. But after two years of the program unfortunately my professor decided to move out of ASU. I remember that day when I could see my dreams of becoming a Doctorate come crushing down. I remember it was 4.23pm on a Tuesday afternoon when I changed my PhD program to a second masters. I was devastated. I went into depression but at the same time my father in law passed away and I had to pick up my pieces of my heart and look for better good of the kids.
Finally, I joined ACP-Erie in 2017 and something in me changed then. One day I happen to visit ACP-Erie for a science fair and meet my dear friend and well-wisher Mrs. Cristi Sims, who is a science teacher at the same school. She told me of an opening and in a matter of 6 months, I was working as a high school science teacher at ACP-Erie. Since July of 2017 to this day, I continue to flourish with these exceptionally talented high schools and I work towards making their dream come true in the field of research.
This road has had many ups and downs…my biggest struggle till date is to accept that my dream of getting a PhD was shattered when my PI decided to leave ASU. It took me great courage and over four years to complete my second masters but finally I did complete my Master’s degree and graduated in 2018 December. I will go back one day, I am sure of it …just waiting for the right moment.
I specialize in Science instruction and also a Researcher. As a honey bee scientist, I love pushing students in the research field. I call this DRIPBL( Dream Research Innovate Project Based Learning), through which my students push the boundaries of their concrete thinking into more abstract and innovative mindset.
I think the one thing that sets me apart from others is that I am very research based and I want the students to not participate in Science Fairs but also to take a project up and look at it from the real world problem perspective and try to come up with an innovative solution to the problem.
I have been extremely blessed the last couple of years for the following reasons.
1. Got two MIT excite Awards.
2. Was awarded the honorable mention for Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental educators in 2019.
3. Was awarded the Global Innovation Award by Turnitin for authentic learning and teaching practices.
4. I am also proud of the three provisional patents that the 9th and 10th-grade students have filed for their innovative ideas.