Dr. Ms. Samina Boxwala could have opted for a well-paid career in Industry with a M.Sc. from IIT Mumbai and Ph.D. Maths from Mumbai University. Instead, she has dedicated her life to sharing knowledge with others. She has been a remarkable asset to the field of academics and is a recognized Ph.D. guide. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, she shares some aspects of her impressive career…
Me: What inspired you to take up academics as a career when everyone else was rooting for Information Technology?
SAB: I am very passionate about teaching. Even during my student days, I would give tuitions to earn pocket money and I enjoyed that time thoroughly. It was then that I realised I was cut out to be a teacher.
As an undergrad at Nowrosjee Wadia College, Pune, India, I was fortunate to have some really great Mathematics teachers. They made learning Math fun and encouraged me to love the subject as much as they did.
Me: What was the turning point in your life that attributes to your current success?
SAB: It was in my final year as a student in Wadia College that I decided on two aspects of my career:
This has proved to be the best decision of my life. I always feel totally alive when I am in a classroom. Every pore of my being is engaged when I am teaching. At the end of every session, especially one where I have taught some difficult concepts, I feel that I have fulfilled my life’s purpose!
Me: What kind of pitfalls have you come across in your career? How did you overcome them?
SAB: Very early on in my career (probably in the very first year of teaching) there were a few people who were sceptical about my abilities. However, I was fortunate enough to have one mentor who kept my spirits up during this difficult phase.
Eventually, with a lot of hard work, I could turn the others around into believing in me. Once I had proved my competence and credibility the journey has been more or less smooth and there has been no looking back.
Me: What are your strengths?
SAB: Of course my parents…I owe them my sincere gratitude for the numerous sacrifices they made to give me a good education, though not being highly educated or very well off themselves.
The formal study of ‘Logic’ as part of my curriculum has sharpened my ability to think clearly. I am blessed with a good IQ and have an intense desire to excel in every task that I undertake. These qualities have helped me stay focused through all the personal/professional difficulties.
I have never taken it easy. I have paved the path from Lecturer to Vice Principal with hard work, consistent effort and the pursuance of perfection; which qualities still define my work ethics and working style. Being a part of the Management as a Life Member of Modern Education Society which runs, amongst others, the Wadia Colleges, gives me a great feeling of achievement.
Me: Who was the biggest influence in your life?
SAB: None other than my mentor – Prin. Dr. M. M. Andar. I am so proud to follow in his footsteps. Sir continues to inspire me even today with his characteristic smile and his willingness to learn a new subject even post-retirement. Both students and colleagues benefit equally from his encouraging-helpful nature, including the junior-most ones. It’s no wonder that his students revere him and develop a love for teaching Mathematics.
Me: Is there anything else about your career you would like to add?
SAB: I have always felt a wonderful sense of belonging in the Wadia College Campus, which I refer to as my first home. A street hoarding outside the college reminds me of my duty on a daily basis. It reads, “Your privileges cannot be greater than your obligations.”
Recently, I had the privilege to be the NAAC and IQAC Coordinator and to lead my alma mater to an A+ for re-accreditation by NAAC. In the true sense, I feel humbled to have had the honour of bringing glory to my Institution.
Me: Any message for young aspirants on International Women’s Day…
SAB: I would like to quote my favourite song from The Sound of Music:
“Climb every mountain, Search high and low,
Follow every byway, Every path you know,
Climb every mountain, Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow, Till you find your dream,
A dream that will need, All the love you can give,
Every day of your life, For as long as you live…”
And while you are doing all this, don’t forget to celebrate life!
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!