1.Give brief introduction about yourself (Native, Education, work experience and other interests)
I was born and brought up in Chennai; this great city has nurtured my childhood, adolescence and formative years. My early childhood education was in St.Johns Senior Secondary School, Mandaveli. When I joined, the school had only a primary section and I continued my studies there up to VIII STD. This was one of the CBSE Schools in those days and it was difficult continuing the studies, due to exorbitant fees. But still, I should thank my parents for giving me high standard of early education. I continued my studies in Lady Siva swami School, Mylapore, a temple of knowledge, which helped me learn values of life, our culture and deep rooted tradition.
My graduation in Biochemistry was in Bharathi women’s college, Chennai and Post -graduation, M.Phil and Ph.D in PG institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Taramani, Chennai. Immediately after M.Phil, I joined teaching job, which helped me understand what life is all about.
2. Why did you select the field of Biochemistry for your higher studies? Share about your Ph.D topic.
It was God’s call, when I was called by Dr. Chandrasekaran, Director, Forensic Science Department, where my mother was working. It was he who suggested me to take Biochemistry. He advised that Biochemistry is the foundation for Medicine and suggested me to join Bharathi Women’s College. Biochemistry is the mother of all Health Sciences, which I have understood, after so many years of teaching and research in the field of Biochemistry. My Ph.D., topic was on Cancer Biology. The study was on the effect of ursolic acid, which is a chemical, found in apple peel, tulsi etc., The focus was on Liver cancer with experimental rats (invivo) and HepG2 cell line (Invitro). My research helped me keep abreast with the technological developments. It improved my analytical skills and thinking out of box to get results in research. My studies on free radicals and oxidative stress, which often leads to cancer and other life threatening diseases, made me focus on the value of Antioxidant, found in natural foods like fruits and vegetables. It was also an eye opener for me on the harmful effects of preserved, artificial and junk foods, which spoil our health and made me aware that good health is the most important thing in life, which we should preserve at any cost.
3. Share your experience in Media
I really don’t remember how I came to media. But, I should say that there was some creative passion inside me. Moreover, my success in Tamil oratorical competitions in my school and college days at state level made me try for making foray into Tamil announcements. Doordarshan was the first place which exposed me to visual media. I am proud that I was selected among 300 candidates, who appeared for interview. I was given extempore announcements and was made to organize and compere many festival and live programmes
4.You are a very creative person. Tell us how you became interested in arts and what formal training you have in performing arts?
If I am identified as a creative person, I should say it must have been in my genes. My father was an Amateur drama artist and I used to accompany him for certain dramas outside Chennai and was made to play small roles in my school days. My father also encouraged me to write dialogues along with him and also prompt during stage performances. This exposure made me knowledgeable about stage programmes and I became very confident to face public and deliver extemporaneous speech both in Tamil and English.
5.Where did you learn your leadership skills? Who or what has been the main inspiration for becoming a strong leader. Looking back, I really wonder how I became a leader. I would rather identify myself as a person, who revere responsibility and would like to execute any task given to me, to the best of my abilities. Discipline and respect to authority are sacrosanct to me. Being a caring mother of two children, I consider all the students of our college, as my own children. Being very humble and respectful to others, I respect and regard all the people, I come across, whatever may be their post or position. I think, this attitude makes me earn respect from everyone. Moreover, being a humorous and witty person, I get along well with every person and don’t take any ill feeling to my heart, even if someone is arrogant and abrasive. These innate qualities helped me perform my role as a head of an educational institution.
6. Tell us about your experience in organizing an awareness programme on Social Media in association with University College of London. In our college, my creative exposure was the street play which we performed, on “Influences of Social Media on Younger Generation”. I am very much thankful to Dr. Venkatraman and Mr.Shriram Venkatraman, for recognizing my creativity and giving me opportunity to make our students perform, to their best of potentials. Now, due to my busy schedule, I am not able to spend time for such events. It is my personal belief that every person is individually unique and has enormous talent. It is only by making sincere attempts, talent can be brought out.
7.Tell us about your views on the role of a college in community outreach programme.
I understand that College and Community is a Venn diagram of A U B. The students with lack of exposure are trained and made aware of the various societal issues. This will enable them with greater learning to improve their neighbourhood. Hence, it is imperative for the college to nurture skills and values during their stay in college and their community will be a good platform for them to understand the issues prevailing in the society. I feel we need to focus more on this issue in coming years.
8.After taking charge as principal what are the development plans for the students and the college you have executed?
18 months of my service as Principal has not been enough to implement any major development activities. We are happy that we have started Women Safety and Security Cell in our College. Though it has not gained momentum, I am sure; this will be a good initiative. I also wish to implement skill based training for our students, which will help them not only to get good job in the long run but also start their own venture. In fact, students should be trained to become Entrepreneurs, rather than seeking employment.
9.Dr. Gayathri before and after principal. What difference you feel personally?
I always feel that “The only constant thing in this world is change”. As an individual, I have evolved myself, with the challenges which have come my way, in discharging my responsibility as Principal. Being a Science faculty, initially, I had little exposure and experience in most of the day to day issues of college administration. But now, I have better understanding of various problems, which we face in running an institution (predictable and unpredictable). I am trying my level best to streamline the administration with the efficient and dedicated staff, who give me unstinting support, during trials and tribulations. Every day has been fascinating opportunity to meet different people, face challenges and achieve small successes, which in the end, will make me a better individual.
10.Tell us about books and individuals who have inspired you both in life and profession. What is your advice to the students of your college for their career and life?
Though I love to read books, I am not able to recollect any one book that has inspired me. But frankly, inspirational person for me is my dear mother. I have learnt patience, perseverance, tolerance, discipline, punctuality, sincerity and above all integrity. Another individual is my husband, who has guided me and supported me in all my efforts, with his incisive knowledge and critical analysis. My humble message to all our beloved students is “Nothing is impossible, if you decide to make it happen”. Enjoy and live every moment of life as it comes, gain knowledge as much as possible and be truthful to yourself and your parents, who are really struggling to educate you, in spite of their hardships.