Q. You completed your graduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies from India. But you also went for another postgraduate programme at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. How did that happen?
A. I migrated to Australia with my husband in 1992, after completing my postgraduate degree at College of Engineering Guindy, Anna University. I received a scholarship from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, or RMIT University, and commenced my work in renewable energy integration. Although RMIT insisted that I complete my Ph.D. studies there, I chose master’s by research as I had a growing family with two kids of whom one was a newborn. In 1998 we returned to India and I continued working here till 2009. During this period, I was sponsored to undertake a part-time Ph.D. at Anna University. I completed my Ph.D. there in 2008.
Q. One of the comments in the citation describes you as a “tireless innovator”. What did you do differently?
A. When I joined UNSW in 2010, I faced different challenges compared to those in India. I was now teaching large advanced courses with a diverse mix of 150-250 local and international students. Delivering abstract engineering concepts through traditional face-to-face lectures in large theatres while also trying to cater to the diversity of students with a mix of cultural backgrounds and assumed knowledge meant students quickly became disengaged and had little interaction with their peers. This, I believe, prevented them from undertaking deeper learning, which in turn affected their employability.
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