Don't Give Up!: Pradeep's Perseverance

[Pradeep] I'm Pradeep and I grew up in India. I came to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, on a leave of absence from my job working for the state owned Coal India Ltd. to study Mining Engineering.

My parents have always been a major influence in my life. They inculcated certain values that are ingrained in me and are here to stay. Whenever I'm caught up in a quagmire of self-doubt and diffidence, these values act like a beacon light and help me find a way out! My motto, instilled by my parents, is to excel at all I do.

My disability is a consequence of my involvement in a serious car accident in 1992 in Fairbanks, AK, where I was studying for a Masters in mining engineering. Before the accident I had high marks in all my classes and had excelled academically and professionally. After the accident I had a head injury and a stroke leading to left-side hemiplegia—paralysis of my left side. After taking a break to return to India and recover medically, I have returned to Fairbanks and re-enrolled in my M.S. degree program at the University of Alaska. I have come back again to finish my degree as I strongly believe a person's career goal and objectives- even with an unforeseen turns of events- do not get changed, they only get postponed!

The DO-IT AccessSTEM program has played a role in my return to school. Being part of the email listserv through AccessSTEM, DO-IT staff, mentors, and other students are always there, over email, to help you, if needed. Understanding technology access has added a new dimension to my work. Access to email and other similar technology has rendered the fact that I take more time to complete activities insignificant! I have also been placed in an engineering internship through AccessSTEM.

Although the stroke I had may appear to limit my freedom (for example, I'm not able to drive my car now), instead of feeling limited by this, I have tried to ensure that my living accommodations are close to my work place! This allows me to maintain the freedom to come and go from home and work as I please. Because of my disability there may be some constraints on my ability to take a field-based job in the mining industry; consequently, I have developed computing skills. While in India, I was actively involved in computer aided project planning and design (CAD) and was a Project Coordinator for a host of prestigious outside consultancy jobs for my organization. I have found a fulfilling and challenging way to continue working in my chosen field in a role that is appropriate for my abilities.

The major factors in my career success are my motivation and my "Don't Give Up!" philosophy, my family's unequivocal support, and God's grace!