- Sumeeta & Hattie Gawande
Dr. Yegan Pillay Provides Psychological Support at GSG College
Dr. Yegan Pillay, Associate Professor of Counseling and Higher Education at Ohio University, visited GSG College from February 21 to March 31, 2018. His visit was supported by a grant from the Ram and Sushila Gawande India Endowment, an endowment established by SESA at Ohio University.
Dr. Pillay leveraged his experience as a counseling psychologist and a licensed professional clinical counselor to assess GSG College’s existing counseling needs and services and to conduct informal counseling sessions with students. Dr. Pillay trained faculty and students in stress management skills and “Mind Mapping,” a study aid that helps students visually represent information. He also explored opportunities for the use of technology both for classroom learning and for psychological support.
Over the five weeks, Dr. Pillay immersed himself in local life, interacting with hundreds of students, dozens of faculty, families from nearby villages, and many others. Dr. Pillay commented, “GSG is an indeed ‘an academic oasis’ in Umarkhed. I was extremely impressed by the motivation and creativity of faculty, administrators, the Board of Trustees (especially secretary Dr. Raut) and students to do so much with the available resources.” In his final needs assessment, Dr. Pillay noted that faculty, student, and alumni satisfaction with GSG is high. He made several recommendations regarding technology integration in the classroom, improving English proficiency across GSG, and ensuring students have access to counseling services.
Although this was Dr. Pillay’s first trip to GSG College, the seed for the trip was planted more than fifteen years ago when Dr. Ram Gawande spoke with Dr. Pillay about GSG College and invited him to visit. Remembering his conversation with Dr. Gawande, Dr. Pillay said, “Dr. Ram Gawande referred to GSG as his ‘adopted third child’ and expressed the wish and the commitment to ‘raise and nurture [GSG] as a gift of God.’ This wish and commitment is definitely being fulfilled and the spirit and legacy of Dr. Gawande lives on in all those who are currently involved in executing the daily functioning and mission of GSG. Thank you all at GSG and at OU for this first opportunity to serve and visit the birth country of my ancestors. I will remember this transformative experience forever- Dhan'yavāda!”