Dr. Monisha Pulimood, Associate Professor of Computer Science, has taken a rather unconventional, yet interesting, approach to get to where she is today.
Dr. Pulimood grew up in India, where many are pushed into medicine or engineering. However, Professor Pulimood did not want to do either. She, by chance, took a summer computer science class that she really enjoyed, and therefore applied to a newly developed computer science program affiliated with her university in India.
Although she went to the University of Pune in India for her undergraduate degree, she worked in the private sector for a few years in India before realizing that she wanted to pursue a Masters degree. After attaining her Masters, Dr. Pulimood returned to India to continue working in industry. However, she did not feel that having a Masters was enough to do what she was interested in doing in industry, so she finally decided that she wanted to earn a doctoral degree.
Dr. Pulimood did not anticipate that she would teach. She thought that after she had received the Ph.D., she would continue working in the industry. However, she realized that teaching provided more intellectual freedom to do research than industry did. She coupled her desire to do research with the fact that she loved working with students, and she decided to become a professor.
Professor Pulimood interviewed at many different universities, but ultimately chose TCNJ because she especially liked the fact that TCNJ nicely combined teaching and research. Many other schools were either predominately teaching or research universities. Despite the allure of more extensive facilities of larger research universities, Dr. Pulimood believed that knowing the students in her classes by name, along with strong research support from the College, that these factors greatly outweighed the benefits of working at a research or teaching institution.
Advice that Dr. Pulimood gives to budding computer scientists is that computer science is an entirely different way of thinking, and that everyone will need to get used to it.
“Once you get over the initial hump, you’ll find that there is a whole world out there that you can control in some way,” she said.
When she is not at TCNJ, Dr. Pulimood enjoys going places with her husband and two kids, ages 16 and 6. They particularly enjoy water-based activities.
– Andrew Miller