Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meet your SILC Teachers and Board (2011-12)

Abhi Nayar:


Aiswarya Menon: Children's Dance Teacher (8 to 10 years) 


Aishwarya Menon is a junior at the University of Minnesota double majoring in Linguistics and French. She joined SILC at the age of 7 as a student of Malayalam and dance.  At age twelve she began teaching Hindi level 1. She also taught Malayalam level 1 as well as social studies level 2. She has also been a dance teacher for the past seven years. SILC has  been one of the biggest and best influences in her life and has made her the person she is today.

Anil Kumar: Tabla Teacher -

Anil has been teaching tabla at SILC for 6 years now. He has breathed life into the tabla program and now SILC has approximately 20 adults and kids studying tabla at multiple levels. Anil is doctor by profession. His wife Kartika teaches Hindi at SILC. Anil and Karitka's two sons Jyotirmya and Anjaneya are  students at SILC.

·        Anitha Nithyanand  - Kannada Teacher

Anitha is from Davangere in Karnataka. She has done bachelors degree in Computer Science as major. She taught computer languages to college students after completing her graduation in India. She has studied Kannada as her primary language during her early years in school and loves teaching it to the SILC students.
Anitha lives in Woodbury with her husband  Mohan Matada and two children  Amogh  and Anagha, ages 6 and 3 years. She enjoys Reading, Beading, Gardening, Baking and Photography in her spare time. 2011 is her first year at SILC.

·       Aditi Kulkarni – Dance Teacher (6 – 7 years). 

Aditi Kulkarni is currently in 11th grade at St. Paul Academy and Summit School. She has been a dancer for 10 years studying Bharatanatyam under Neelam Malhotra (SILC's Cultural Director and Dance teacher). Aditi just completed her Arangetram this past summer. 

AAlong with Bharatanatyam, Aditi enjoys other forms of dance just as Bollywood and likes to choreograph dances for Bollywood. Outside from school and dancing, Aditi plays the piano under the instruction of Elena Piastro as well as soccer with her school’s Varsity soccer team and the Blackhawks Soccer Club of St. Paul Minnesota.

Arabhi Gopal – Asst Dance teacher (6-7 years)

Aarabhi Rajagopal, a senior at Math and Science Academy and a PSEO student at the U of M, is a former SILC student. As a student at SILC for five years, she learned how to read and write in the Kannada class, and also found a passion for dance during her days at SILC. 

Aarabhi is fluently bilingual in Kannada and English, and loves to visit India whenever she can to learn more about the different cultures and societies within the country. Her hobbies include singing Carnatic music and dancing Bharathanatyam as a way to express her culture. In her free time, she enjoys biking, volunteering at local hospitals, hanging out with her friends, spending time with her family, and learning how to cook from her mom. She also loves watching Bollywood movies. 2011 is Aarabhi's first year as a dance teacher at SILC. 

Deepa Namboodiripad: Adults DanceTeacher

Deepa was born in Kerala and brought up mostly in Delhi. She completed high school and college in India. She completed training in Secretarial Practice from YWCA. She worked in a private company for 5 years before getting married and moving to USA in 2006.
She is married to Krishnan Nambudiripad and has a son, Godhun and a daughter, Soorya. She enjoys cooking, dancing, singing among other things. She is currently a homemaker. She is considering taking up a course to better her job prospects.

She has been associated with SILC for almost 5 years now. She started attending SILC regularly from 2007 and has taught Hindi and Malayalam. 
Divya Karan: SILC Board: Curriculum 

Divya Karan lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Vinay Gidwani and two rambunctious boys, Aseem (9 yrs old) and Aman (7 yrs old). She is an Information Technology professional. She loves Hindi/Urdu literature but has much to catch up on contemporary writing in those languages. Divya has taught Hindi (Level 1) in the past. She serves on SILC Board as Curriculum Coordinator. She has taken up formalizing the curriculum for social studies (done last year) and languages (in progress this year).
Erin OberdorFer: President,  SILC Board

Erin has MLS in Library Science from the University of Maryland College Park and MM in Music History and Criticism from Peabody Conservatory of Music.
She currently works at Dorsey & Whitney, LLP (law firm) as a librarian in the Trial department. She has 3 daughters, the middle one whom is adopted from Hyderabad. She has been involved with SILC for about 7 years and helps out with the younger children's dance. She served as Principal last year and she is serving as President of SILC this year.

Geeta Saran: Tamil Teacher 

Geetha Saravanarajan was born and raised in  Madurai,Tamilnadu. She completed her  Masters degree in Biochemistry from Madurai Kamarajar University, India. Geetha and her husband Saravanarajan  have two kids Jothika (6) and Nimlan (4) .Geetha loves to do Painting , Knitting, Paper Quilling, Arts and crafts. Geetha also volunteers as a preschool teacher at MNTS(Minnesota Tamil School). This is her second year with SILC and first year teaching Tamil at SILC.

Gita Gupta (Hindi Level 4 Teacher)


 Gupthan Namboodiripad: Malayalam Teacher

Gupthan is from a small village called Pazhoor in the southern part of Kerala, India. Gupthan holds the record for the longest continuous association with SILC. For many years, his wife, Uma, was a Malayalam teacher at SILC. She also taught dance and was responsible for Indian Exhibit at the Festival of Nations. Uma was a most dedicated and a very cheerful volunteer whom SILC sorely misses. The annual Uma Namboodiripad Award for Excellence in Volunteering is awarded in her memory. Gupthan's daughter, Savithry was a student at SILC and later a Social Studies teacher. Guptha's Son, Vishnu was a student at SILC and is currently teaching Malayalam for the past couple of years. Gupthan also served as SILC Principal and President in the past.

·  Kartika Kumar Bhardwaj -  Hindi Level 4 teacher

Born and raised in the North Indian town of Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Kartika moved to MN about 12 years ago. She lives here with her husband Anil (SILC Tabla teacher) and two sons, who are full time SILC students for the past many years.

Kartika is a Physician and is well versed in Hindi, Punjabi and Marwari. She enjoys traveling and sight- seeing with her family.

Krishnan Nambudiripad: SILC Board and Tabla Teacher

Krishnan Nambudiripad has been involved with SILC as a student, teacher and board member for about 15 years. He grew up in Burnsville, MN and completed the Masters in Elementary Education program at the University of Minnesota.
Currently he works as a mortgage consultant for Wells Fargo. As a student at SILC in the 80's he participated in dance, tabla, yoga, and language and social studies classes. Currently at SILC he enjoys teaching Tabla . At home he loves biking, playing guitar, and spending time with his family.

Lakshmi Buddhavarapu: Secretary, SILC Board
Lakshmi Buddhavarapu is an Information Technology professional currently working for Medtronic. She taught and is teaching Preschool/Kindergarten at SILC and is the secretary on the SILC Board. She has a Master's in Biochemistry and Engineering, both from the University of Minnesota. 

She lives in Vadnais Heights with her husband Jagadish and their son Teja (8). She enjoys biking, traveling and spending time with family & friends.

Lata Menon: Malayalam-2 Teacher 

Lata and her family came to SILC towards end of 1998 and fell in love with it! Over the years Lata has been a Cookies-and-Juice spread-outer volunteer, Malayalam teacher and has substitute taught, Hindi, Arts, Social Studies etc. Lata has always been a willing assistant with the Children and Youth dance groups for the past many years. Lata has been an enthusiastic participant in the SILC Adults dance program. In 2000, Lata and her husband Raj were the coordinators for the Festival of Nations Exhibit on behalf of SILC.

Lata is especially proud of the Hindi Level 1 & 2 and Malayalam Level 1 booklets she has compiled. Lata loves to read all kinds of fiction, is an acknowledged (by her husband!) expert on Bollywood movies and loves Indian songs in 3 languages – Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil.
Lata is a Human Resources person by profession and though currently works much harder at trying to convert her Burnsville home to heaven!

Mangala Achar: SILC Board (Treasurer)

Mangala is from a small village, Kadatoka in North Kanara district in coastal Karnataka. She completed her Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Karntaka REC, Surathkal. She worked in Electrical industry for 3 years in India before coming to USA. In USA she worked in software field for 10+ years. At present she is a seasonal part Tax professional at H&R Block, and a home maker.

She is married to Krishnananda Achar and has two sons, Manu (15 years) & Vishnu (11 years). She enjoys doing tax returns, Having light conversations with friends& family, reading, cooking, beading, sewing, walking, biking & learning new things.

She has been involved with SILC from 2002 and has been teaching Kannada from 2004 till 2010-11 school year. She has also been principal and currently the SILC treasurer and SILC Board member. She was also an active Board member of IAM(Indian Association of Minnesota) helped with cultural coordination for IAM’s IndiaFest for last 3 years..

Mary Kate:  Children's Dance - Assistant Teacher

Mary-Kate is teacher for the SILC "tweens" dance group preparing for the Festival of Nations. May-Kate goes to Como Senior High School and is a SILC Student for several years. She is currently enrolled in Telugu class.

Maulika Kohli: Social Studies Level-2 Teacher

Maulika Kohli, a junior at St. Paul Academy and alumni of SILC, has been the assistant teacher of social studies level 3 for the past two years under the guidance of her brother Keshav Kohli. Maulika will be the lead teacher this year for the class.

Maulika has vigorously studied cultural studies and world history through a meticulous high school curriculum. She has diligently observed and managed the classroom under her brother’s teachings and has gained the experience to know how the classroom should properly function in order to create an inviting and educational atmosphere.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, singing, spending time with family, golfing and playing the piano. Additionally, she tutors elementary age students in English and Math at a local women’s shelter. This is Maulika’s third year in teaching social studies at SILC

Nataraj Raman – SILC Board (Volunteer coordinator) 

Natarajan Raman is a Radiation Oncologist  at Hennepin County Medical Center Minneapolis MN. He has three children who are enrolled in SILC and he is actively involved in the Local community with several socially important causes. He is actively involved in volunteering at SILC and is keen to recruit more volunteers. He also serves on the board of SILC.

Neelam Malhotra: Dance Teacher and SILC Board

After completing her M.Phil in Economics from Gokhle Institute in Pune, India, Neelam worked as a Lecturer of Economics in Pune (of-course that was in the ancient times). During her School and college years, she also pursued training in Bharatnatyum from age 11 to 24.

Neelam is now a stay-at-home Mom and Home-maker (not that her home reflects that fact!). And in her free time (all of 2 minutes a day), she teaches Bharatnatyum. Neelam and her family, husband Raj, daughter Meera and son Sesh, have been involved with SILC since 2001 and thoroughly enjoy it. She currently teaches Dance classes at SILC and is also SILC Board member.

Padam Sharma, Ph.D : Nepali Teacher -

With B. Sc (Agric) from Udaipur University, and B.S., M.S., & Ph. D. from the University of Minnesota, Padam has about 25 years of experience in teaching, research and consulting services in the United States and Nepal. A long time resident of St. Paul, Padam is an active member of expatriate Nepali community in Minnesota. Padam is the founder President of Empower Nepal Foundation (ENF). Padam and his family currently own and operate Everest on Grand – the first Nepali restaurant in Minnesota.This is Padam's second year teaching nepali at SILC

Preeti Jariwala: Gujarati Teacher

Preeti Jariwala works at EcoLab and lives in Woodbury with her husband Chetan. This is Preeti's 2nd year teaching Gujarati at SILC. Her daughters Nidhi and Aditi are also students of SILC.

Punjabhai Patel: Yoga Teacher -

Punjabhai Patel is teaching Yoga at SILC for the past 25 years (since 1984-85 school year). He came to United States of America as an undergraduate student in 1965 and did his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering. He is grandfather of four beautiful children and is enjoying his retirement.

Raj Menon: SILC Board
Raj is an Information Technology professional, currently working at Boston Scientific. He is a graduate of Delhi University. He lives in Burnsville with his wife Lata and two children Aishwarya and Aradhana. Raj loves to play Table Tennis, though he cannot find partners, when he finds the time!
His association with SILC spans over many years and he served SILC donning different roles as Principal, President, Social Studies teacher. He is currently mentoring SAP (SILC Achievement Project) class.

Rajesh Gupta: SILC Board (Director - Registrations)

Rajesh Gupta is an IT professional currently working for Siemens PLM. This is his second year at SILC and 1st year on the SILC Board - looking after the registrations. He lives in Saint Paul with his wife Namrata and 2 beautiful kids, daughter Ishita (7) and son Aditya (1). He enjoys watching and participating in sports, traveling, outdoor activities and spending time with family & friends. His daughter's participation in SILC has definitely motivated him in volunteering and giving back to the community.

Rakesh Didwania – Hindi Level 3 

Rakesh grew up in the North Indian town of Faridabad. He is an alumnus of REC Trichy and currently works for Symantec Corporation.
He lives in New Brighton with his wife Nidhi (a SILC volunteer) and two daughters Ishana and Naisha who are 5 and 1 year old. Rakesh likes reading, listening to music, dabbling in astrology and spending time with his daughters. 2011 is Rakesh's first year as a SILC volunteer.

Rupa Ryan: Cooking Class Coordinator

Rupa has been a part of SILC since 2009. She was born in the state of Bihar and adopted at the age of 2. She loves to do as much as she can for her adoptive and Indian communities. "This is where I feel at home", says Rupa. Her original goal for coming to SILC was to get immersed in her culture of origin and to meet people within the local Indian community.

Outside of SILC, Rupa keeps busy with running and other volunteer activities.  She currently works in human resources with a company in Eagan and loves her field of work. 

Seema Nambudiripad: Hindi 1 Adults Teacher
Seema Nambudiripad was born in Delhi and grew up there. Her parents are originally from Kerala but moved to northern India in the 60s. She has a BA and an MA in French from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. 

Seema also studied Portuguese as an optional language along with French and was in Coimbra, Portugal, as a scholarship student for a year in 1995-96. She has been in the US since 1998 and lives with her husband and two sons in St Paul.

Sarah Hansen : Literature and Arts Teachers

Sarah is a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Her studies focus on the educational experiences of first and second-generation immigrant students, families, and teachers.

Her academic interests stem from her experiences as a teacher both locally and abroad. When she is not studying, Sarah enjoys strolling around the city lakes, taking photographs, and cooking vegetarian dishes. 
Shalley Gupta, Ph.D: Social Studies 3 Teacher
Shalley came from Chandigarh, India to the USA in March of 1983 as a student. Shalley has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Medical College of Ohio, Toledo. He did 3 years of post-doctoral research at the Harvard Medical School, and since 1991 worked in pharmaceutical drug discovery and development at Eli Lilly, SmithKline Beecham and 3M Pharmaceuticals. At present, He is working as Medical Science Manager with Bristol Myers Squibb.
He has authored more than 2 dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals and 5 issued patents, in addition to several filed patent applications.He is married to Gita J Gupta and has 2 daughters: Mahima (12 y) and Malvika 7 (y). They moved to the twin cities in 2001 and live in Woodbury, MN

Shiv Bhatia: Hindi-1 Teacher, Principal. SILC Board
A former military officer, Shiv served in the Indian Army for many years on a variety of assignments, most of them in counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism roles. After hanging his uniform, he has been learning the art of Corporate “Warfare”, in the Healthcare Services industry. Currently, he works for iHealth Technologies, Inc, as VP of Business Operations. 
A die-hard outdoors person, he will do anything not to stay indoors. An avid griller who also enjoys cooking on the stove top, Shiv lives in Woodbury with his wife, Varsha and two lovely daughters, Suparna and Sahana.

Siva Jasthi: Telugu Teacher, Former-President, SILC Board

With Ph.D from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, Dr. Jasthi has about 20 years of experience in research, software development and teaching in India and United States.  He currently works at Siemens PLM Software as Program Manager. He also teaches at Information and Computer Sciences department, Metropolitan State University as community faculty.
He also volunteers for "Chetana Foundation" – a charity organization supporting an orphan school in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. He lives with his wife, Bhas and kids (Tapan – 15, Deepta – 9 who are SILC students), enjoys spending time with his family, blogging, teaching, telugu music, movies, travel, ethnic foods, and volunteering. Jasthi has served SILC as Principal and President in the past and he is currently looking after Communications on behalf of SILC Board. This is Jasthi's fifth year teaching Telugu at SILC.  

Sonja Agarwal: Arts Teacher
Sonja grew up in Northfield, MN. She attended Luther College in Decorah, IA and received a major in Social Work. Sonja worked at Microsoft for 3 years in Seattle. Sonja decided to be a stay at home mom after the birth of their first child.
This is Sonja's third year volunteering with SILC. She has 2 sons in the program: Rohan (5h grade) and Nikhil (3rd grade). Her husband is Mukesh Agarwal and they live in Lakeville.

Sunita Mannamkunnath: Asst. Principal, SILC Board, Hindi Teacher - 

Sunita has been a SILC Volunteer for several years and has participated in various SILC events. With a full time job in a Healthcare organization and family to keep her busy during the week, Saturdays are a day of volunteering to give back to the community. Her daughters are enrolled in SILC and look forward to Saturdays! She enjoys gardening, reading and traveling. 

This is Sunita’s third year teaching Hindi at SILC and first year on SILC Board as Vice Principal.

Varsha Bhatia: Social Studies 1A (Kindergarten) Teacher 

Originally from Maharashtra, India, Varsha has been in the US for over 15 years. She has an undergrad in Mathematics and a graduate degree in Computer Science from UMass. She has been a Kumon instructor in CO and has now donned the cap of Math educator. She lives in Woodbury with her husband Shiv and two beautiful daughters, Suparna and Sahana.

Varsha likes to be involved in the community, and loves spending time with her family. In her spare time, she likes listening to music, solving Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
Vidya Suresh (Literature Teacher)
Vidya has a BSc. (Biomedical Science - Lab Pathology) and an Associate Degree in Dental Assisting. She grew up in India, Fiji Is., Australia, later moved to Canada and then USA. 
Her husband, Suresh Kalatoor was a Social Studies teacher for a few years and her two daughters were students. This is Vidya’s first year at SILC as a teacher. In her spare time Vidya enjoys traveling, reading, gardening and hiking.

Vishnu Namboodiripad: Malayalam 1 Teacher

Vishnu is 14 years youngest teacher at SILC. He is in 8th grade. He knows how to speak Malayalam and was brought to SILC to learn how to read and write it. He is with SILC for 10 years, and started teaching 2 years ago as a Teachers Assistant for the previous Malayalam teacher. Starting 2008-09 year, he started teaching Malayalam on his own.
He is also a Student at SILC. He is currently in Literature Class and in electives. His hobbies include video games (no wonder – kids connect with him), computer, reading, writing, tennis, and biking.


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