1) I was born and raised in Chennai, India and moved directly from India to live in Niskayuna 18 years back. Initially, the weather was perhaps the most difficult adjustment to make. Coming from Chennai in India where the three seasons are hot, hotter, and hottest, to Upstate NY with cold snowy winters, it was a difficult adjustment.
2) Education has always been valued and at the core for my family. I grew up inside the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Madras) Chennai campus where my father worked as a Professor in Aerospace Engineering. IIT is one of the premier, highly selective, educational engineering institutions in India. It is set in a beautiful wooded campus where all students, faculty, administrators and staff live. Campus life was generously equipped with lovely housing, playgrounds for all kinds of sports, K-12 schools, open air theatres, hospitals, shopping, etc. that all students, faculty, staff and their families could use. It was a self-contained “world of its own” and an ideal place for me to grow up in with an abundance of opportunities and fun activities!
3) I met Sumit, my husband, who at the time was a student at IIT Madras, while performing in a Bengali dance drama called “Shamano Khoti” (translated as “A Small Loss”). I never thought I would marry him five years down the line. Interestingly, he has the same last name as mine (although we are not related), and therefore my last name (Bose) never changed! We have been married for 21 years and have a 14 year old daughter.
4) I have earned all of my higher education degrees in the field of psychology (bachelor's), master’s in applied psychology (counseling), and MPhil in psychology (behavior modification) from Chennai. Later my Ph.D. in educational psychology and methodology is from the University at Albany.
5) My first job was a Counselor at a Deaddiction Center (TTK Hospital, Chennai). This was followed by a Faculty position in the Department of Psychology at Jyoti Nivas College, India. When I moved to the U.S., I worked in program evaluation as I was completing my doctorate in educational psychology and methodology. I have worked in Institutional Effectiveness for the past 12 years (three years at Siena). Today I can see how all my previous work experiences have connected and come together for the field of Institutional Effectiveness. The skills of building relationships with clients from the field of counseling, to understanding a faculty perspective, to evaluation and measurement are all needed in the office of IE!
6) I have learnt Bharatanatyam and Oddisi. These are two ancient classical Indian dance forms. Below are two recent pictures of mine from here at Albany at a local event at an Indian association. The one with a white saree represents the Hindu goddesses Saraswati, worshipped for knowledge and learning, and the picture with an orange saree is with an Odissi costume and performance.
7) I can speak fluently in five different languages: Assamese, Bengali, English, Hindi and Tamil. India has 23 languages each with its own script. My reading and writing skills in these five languages are therefore at varying levels. The diversity within India gave me the opportunity to learn so many languages and appreciate various cultures.
8) I have travelled to 14 different countries so far. Someday I hope to see all the seven wonders of the world. Travelling across these nations has made me realize firsthand that the essence of human life is the same, whether one is living in an advanced, or in a developing nation. People across all nations and walks of life derive happiness from love, care, respect, and dignity.
9) I love to travel to places of natural beauty like mountains and the seas. I have visited 14 National Parks in this country and hope to see many more amazing mountains, gorges, canyons, geysers, caves etc. from the remaining of the 50 National Parks. I appreciate the awe that comes with the realization of how humble and insignificant we humans are, in comparison to the larger forces of nature.
10) I love where I live and work. Today, as an American (with an Indian origin), this place has allowed me to be an Indian and an American at the same time.