In light of International Women’s Month 2021 – the whole world’s focus is clearly on women, and the contributions they make every day across varied sectors and fields. However, we certainly don’t need a month to give women much deserved recognition, but perhaps what we need are more women leaders, making headlines, every single day. Moreover, understanding the fact that women of today are unstoppable, and their power and influence are rising, especially serving as regarded educational leaders, they are right on the track of meeting the demand of a new society, which gives them the choices to do anything, be anything, and motivate young blood towards growth and development. Thereby, talking about one such personality who has always given her best in keeping all the students studying under her guidance, stay well in tune with the growing aspirations and expectations of the industry, yet, making them stay true to their culture – Dr. Srija Unnikrishnan is that educational leader, which the world needs during the current times of turmoil.
The current principal of Fr. Conceicao Rodrigues College of Engineering (CRCE), her vision was always to develop the institute into a center of excellence in engineering education, creating new benchmarks and the capability to rise to the challenges of the times. Also, having come a long way towards being that leader who can influence communities and better livelihoods, Dr. Srija operating closely with the management of CRCE has indeed helped the institute achieve excellence via all-round development opportunities provided to all present on the campus.
“Molding Engineers who can build the nation”, being the vision statement of CRCE, Dr. Srija bears the primary responsibility to ensure that the institute lives up to what it claims. With regular updates of academic amenities, campus connect programs with industry, project-based & experiential learning, she strives endlessly, making education under her leadership go beyond textbooks and classrooms. Promoting a strong sense of innovation and entrepreneurship, she believes thoroughly in being a facilitator and guide to students and staff in their journey of progress and growth. Furthermore, giving equal freedom to explore their individual paths within the framework of the institute, she maintains transparency across all departments and endeavors, giving their stakeholders a clear picture of the progress happening on campus.
Committed to creating a value
Having served three decades at CRCE, an institute that has created a name for itself in engineering education, she involves herself regularly with a committed intent and her consistent efforts. A firm believer of try, unless and until you succeed, she makes sure that no student or parent is left unappreciated or unattended to, giving full credits to all the efforts they put in towards the institute. Making her work counterparts her extended family, Dr. Srija show’s herself to be a complete people’s person, helping students stay in touch with her and the teachers, irrespective of the situation outside. Thereby, her people skills also guided her to understand and address student mental health, considering the current times of high uncertainty and change revolving around us.
“The pandemic has reinforced my belief that developing the expertise to be dynamic and adapt to the sudden changes in technological, corporate, and societal needs is a necessity for survival and growth”, stated Dr. Srija, telling us what she learned from the ongoing pandemic and how the world has changed in terms of being prepared anytime and anywhere.
Also, a staunch philanthropist, she emphasizes the importance of growing as a nation and preaches the very same in CRCE and outside, striving on the vision of the founder Rev. Fr. Conceicao Rodrigues. Having students coming from the humblest of backgrounds and converting them into confident graduates, Dr. Srija uses all her experience in academics to groom competent engineers with interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, and social concern.
A person who was always attached to her books, Dr. Srija started her academic career by pursuing her BSc. (Engg.) in Electronics and Communication Engineering. Her newfound love for innovation and technology-led her towards completing her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. She has so far published 75 papers in reputed journals and conferences, among which many of them have been Scopus indexed. Serving as living proof of her excellence in engineering, she has won many accolades across her career and has served as a Member of the Board Of Studies, Electronics Engineering, University of Mumbai, Member of Advisory Board in other institutes & in several University Committees.
Finally, in an open statement to everyone who knows her for her dedicated life, Dr. Srija put her thoughts out on women empowerment in India, by pointing out that it is gaining momentum. And with a number of women entering higher education, board rooms, panchayats, cockpits, space, military, and other domains, she states it’s high time to start from the mindset of parents and society, especially in rural areas. “Each and every individual needs to get involved in the movement of ‘educating, encouraging and empowering girls/women’, starting from his/her home, workplace, neighborhood, and society.”, she exclaimed.