SPOTLIGHT: Hemalathaa K. Y.

My Journey: Upward and Onward!

Hemalathaa K. Y. is a first-year doctoral student from India. In this interview, she shares with us her reasons for studying IDD&E and what her experience has been so far after one semester of coursework.

Hemalathaa K. Y., Syracuse University, Fall 2021
Hemalathaa K. Y., Syracuse University, Fall 2021

What motivated you to study IDD&E?

I’ve always enjoyed keenly observing ways in which instruction is delivered and the impact it has on learners. In India, I worked with three different international baccalaureate schools. Each strives to constructively use technology and instructional design (I.D.) both inside and outside the classroom to reach different stakeholders. I created whole class experiences for meaningful instructional, collaborative, and reflective moments in the teaching and learning process by employing an inquiry-based approach. Whether a physics facilitator or a college advisor, I aimed to design learning experiences that would result in the acquisition and application of the intended knowledge, skills, and attitudes by learners. I visited universities around the world and noticed how the path of I.D. was evolving in primary, secondary, and tertiary education. My training in electronics, computer science, and education as well as my professional career experience help me better understand how we design learning experiences to solve real-world I.D. barriers in organizations and institutions. All this motivated me to pursue a Ph.D. in IDD&E.

Why Syracuse University?

I had spent a couple of months reading course outlines of various Ph.D. programs at different U.S. universities. I wanted a program relevant to the I.D. career rather than one that’s a mere combination of courses such as EdTech or EdPsych. While reading the Syracuse University IDD&E Student Handbook, I knew IDD&E was for me. During the application process, I received great support from faculty, staff, and Ph.D. peers, one of them was Yuri. The virtual conversations with Yuri and his lived experiences in the program helped me make the decision to study at Syracuse University (SU). A predefining factor was studying at an R1 university with motivating and supportive faculty members and peers. Receiving an SU fellowship changed my life in leaps and bounds. Being the first woman in my family to study abroad has been truly one of the best episodes of my life.

What has been your experience so far in the program?

Being a risk taker has been the theme of my fellowship life for the past few months. I successfully completed five thoroughly enjoyable courses in the Fall semester and Winterlude. Every course kindled the inquirer in me to deeply understand and question the underlying knowledge and theoretical concepts while simultaneously apply them in the real world. Day after day, I am actively working towards growing into a progressive reader, listener, and writer. I hope these learning experiences will lead me to explore various research areas within I.D. and prompt inspiring phenomena and sapience.

What are your current ideas about your future?

As a woman of letters, I want to grow into an expert in the field and learn to bridge the gap between I.D. pedagogy and practice. I want to be identified as an architect of learning experiences who can bring research-driven solutions to numerous I.D. interventions in academia and other fields. The rapidly changing learning landscape demands I.D. intervention in many ways. Additionally, the pandemic has created a change in thinking in the way teaching, learning, and work/task accomplishment are taking place today and created a great demand for I.D. experts in numerous fields. I am waiting to catch sight of the social impact I can make with all the knowledge and skills to be gained from this program and broaden my career opportunities.

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