Shantha Unnikrishnan: Technical Educator

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Shantha Unnikrishnan graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, in 1970. Her career started out with a setback but she persevered and went on to teach at her alma mater, CEG, and retired from there as an Associate Professor of Computer Science.  She carried on the spirit of her parents’ caring, hospitality, and generosity, throughout her life. In her retirement, Shantha leads a quiet life filled with spirituality.

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Nalini Uhrig: Engineering Leader and Spiritualist

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Nalini graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, in 1970. She has many firsts to her name in CEG, many of which, she fought for. She had a very successful career first in AT&T’s Bell Laboratories, Columbus, Ohio, and later in Lucent Technologies where she was a Director and Chief Strategist. Post Bell Labs, her career included a startup and several consulting companies where she was involved in design, testing, new product introduction, business development, and strategy planning.  She is now starting the next chapter in her life, retiring, and moving to Florida. She overcame many difficulties in her life, and her life story is truly inspirational for today’s girls and women who have to navigate this complex and demanding world of careers and families.

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Prema (Charles) Thomas: Service- Focused Technical Education Leader

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Prema Rajavalli Kathleen, who graduated in 1970 from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, devoted her life to technical education. In her career of forty years, of which thirty-six years were in government service, she worked tirelessly to provide education to rural, marginalized, and downtrodden sections of the society empowering thousands of women to earn their own livelihood.  A woman of high integrity and strong convictions about right and wrong, she says: “It is very easy to get a good performance evaluation from your boss. But getting a good one from God is what I have strived for in my entire life”.

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Kalpa (Kalpakam) Gopal: Renaissance Woman

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Kalpa Gopal graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, in 1969. Her career is amazingly rich with product design, marketing, banking and technical finance, and entrepreneurship. Her passion to be of service to the less fortunate is a second parallel track of creating, managing and helping multiple non-profit organizations.   She infuses everything she does with the joy she derives from her fun activities.   Renaissance woman is an apt term to describe Kalpa.

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Chandra Aiyangar: Perpetual Learner

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Chandra Aiyangar graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India in 1969. She joined Indian Broadcasting Engineering Service (IBES) in the year 1974 and retired as the Director (Engineering), South Zone, All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan in 2007. After retirement, she taught in Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College in Chennai for eight years. Since 2016, she spends her time in community service and spiritual pursuits. A passionate advocate for women’s education, she says “Education is everything. Especially women’s education.  I am what I am today because my parents educated me.”

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Jayashree Anandakumar: Researcher

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Jayashree Anandakumar graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India in 1968. After a thirty-year career working on radar research and development in India’s prestigious Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), she is now retired and content to live a life immersed in spirituality, and grandchildren.

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Mallika (Somasekhara) Chellappa: Researcher and Quality Leader

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Mallika Chellappa graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India in 1969. After working as a researcher for prestigious defense development labs of the Indian Government over twenty-three years and tackling challenging technical problems, Mallika pivoted her career to a be a software quality leader, consulting for many leading companies on software development life cycle and implementation of quality processes. She is a great role model for young women who graduate in technical fields and look to have a balanced family life and a fulfilling career going forward.

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Dr. K.S. Babai: Technical Education Leader, Humanitarian Par Excellence, and Lifelong Learner

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Dr. K.S. Babai, who graduated in 1966 from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India has dedicated her life to serving others, educating and uplifting them.  Her life journey has been shaped by the principles of her father and today she serves in the same position her father and her older sister held at Madras (Chennai) Lions Clubs International Foundation, District 324 A1.  She is the 34th Governor of this district, leading the efforts in several areas including education, empowerment of youth, and affordable cancer treatment. She is a cancer survivor herself. After thirty-six years of service in the Dr. Dharmambal Government Polytechnic College for Women, she continues in the field of technical education by leading the Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College, Anna University, Chennai as its Principal. Her lifetime accomplishments are too numerous to fit into this short article.  She personifies leadership in technical education, quality, and service to the downtrodden.  Her life story is awe inspiring to all who strive for excellence.

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Indira Premkumar: Empathic Technical Educator


Indira Premkumar graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India in 1966. Her career, spanning thirty-four years, was dedicated to technical education.  Her former colleagues praise her as an excellent teacher and administrator, who was kind, empathetic, and humble.  She brought sincerity and care to everything she did, retiring as the Principal of Government Polytechnic for Women in Madurai.  “Work is Worship” was her motto during her career and she managed her family life with equal dedication.  In retirement, she has turned to spirituality and is a great provider of support for everyone who is lucky to come across her.

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R. Sulochana: The Can-Do Chief Engineer, Civil Designs

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Sulochana graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India in 1962. She had a very successful career in civil engineering in the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) becoming their first woman Chief Engineer in Civil Designs and continues to lead a very successful family life. As a young woman in the first year of her career, she declared she was up for any challenges in a field that was exclusively men’s at the time. With her hard work, sincerity, intelligence, and integrity, she demonstrated exactly that while continuing to nurture her family.  Her life story is an inspiration to all women who wonder how they can do it all. She couldn’t have done it without the support of her husband and other family members; therein lies a lesson for the larger society.

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