Past Events Reports
April 17, 2021 Summary
College application process: College Essays: Crafting a great college application.
Ms.Susan Goodkin, a graduate of Harvard University, Harvard Law School, and Oxford University, spoke about crafting/creating a great college application. For the college essay, it was key to have a captivating opening sentence plus she cautioned against using humor or dark cynical views. The college counsellor has two minutes to read an essay that the applicant has spent countless hours on, so it is important to be upbeat, and perhaps share what one has learnt from a struggle or a hobby.
For the second half, Dhriti Aiylam, Junior at Northeastern University, Aditya Hoque, Junior at Brown University and Aditya Khanna, Sophomore/Junior at Rochester Institute of Technology shared their personal experiences. In order to view their insights, click here. Session was moderated by Mayank and Shiamin.
From Tanvi, one of the attendees: I thought the personal statement examples that the students as well as Ms. Goodkin gave were really unique and informative. Furthermore, the tips the students gave, to research the college was really helpful. Dhriti’s idea about the specific structure and planning a few sentences about the personal statement and then giving it some time, and also reviewing it with an outsider was really great and helpful.
MARCH 20 summary
Summary: College Application Process: 'Let's talk ! Keeping the lines of communications open'
---Dr. Mayank Jaiswal and Poonam Hingorany.
Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
We had more than 20 attend the webinar on March 20 as part of ISW's initiative on providing information and support for parents and students whilst they navigate the college application process. Led by Shubh Agrawal, School Counselor, Worcester Academy and IYG Advisor and Ramendra, Ruchi and Yash Chauhan , we delved into how to keep sane and keep family relationships on an even keel throughout the college application process, with emphasis on students in high school. Shubh used the analogy that parent's role at this time is similar to their role when their teenager first learns to drive. The student is in the driver's seat and the parent is there as a guide.
Thoughts shared by Yash Chauhan, Freshman at Northeastern University , Boston
Whether it be debating between taking the SAT or ACT or attempting to figure out the so called “formula” that admission’s departments use, the American college admissions process is already an overly complicated task. However, it is made far more difficult and strenuous when there is a lack of open communication between parent and student. This is especially true for individuals with parents who were brought up in India and as such, are not as familiar with the American application process. In such a situation, the student should realize that when their parents asks them questions about certain aspects of the application, it isn’t due to them attempting to criticize the student or micromanage them, but usually just because they are genuinely curious about the process. Conversely, parents too should understand that this is a process that is primarily incumbent on the student. Although parents should always provide guidance and encouragement, they should never just take over. The skills that students develop during the application process will serve them well in the future, but only if parents let go a little and allow them to go through this experience. Even though parents should not take over, keeping an open dialogue throughout the process such as discussing what the family can afford, allows for students and parents to get the most out of the process while mitigating future conflicts. Finally, it is important to keep in mind that what matters more than where you go college is what you do during your time there; so aim high, but remember that wherever you end up going, you still have the opportunity to accomplish great things.
College Stress Management_Shubh.pdf
Next sessions are as follows:
May 22, 2021, Saturday: 11.00 am Financial planning and college coaches.Kanan Sachdeva, MBA, CFP®️, ChFC®️, Financial Advisor, Northwestern Mutual
Patrick Herndon, Certified College Advisor.
June 12 2021 Donna Cox, Cox Tutoring Group "How to tackle Standardized Tests and College Interviews". Moderators Hingorany/Shiamin
Future 2021: High school graduates discuss the process on how they made their college/major selections.
Future 2021: Negotiation and comparison of college financial packages and fees between big-name colleges and in-state colleges and universities.
College Connect Team
Mayank Jaiswal, Facilitator & Professor at Rider College
Shubh Agrawal, Counselor, Worcester Academy
Poonam & Sanjay Hingorany, parents of undergrad and grad college students
Ramendra & Ruchi Chauhan, parents of middle school and college freshman children
Snehlata & Jagan Srinivasan, parents of middle school students & themselves college professors
Aaryan Bhatt, HS Senior from Harvard, MA.
Daily 6.30 am Yoga Hemant Gera, disciple of Bharatiya Yog Sansthan, Delhi. WhatsApp contact +91-98102 48623
Mondays 10 am Chair Yoga by Latha Radhakrishnan
Tuesdays 11 am Chairobics by Stuti Khanna
Saturdays 11 am Chairobics by Stuti Khanna
TBD Meditation by Sreedhar Shanmugavelu (Heartfulness.org) WhatsApp contact +1(510) 361-9839
Request to be added to WhatsApp group for above sessions
Ragini Seth 508-330-0884
Shiamin Melville 508-353-4316
For membership information go to www: iswonline.org
In person TBD: India Center, 152 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA 01545
ISW Puzzle Challenge - II
Over the February vacation week, Feb 12-21, ISW successfully conducted its second Puzzle/Lego Structure Challenge. Due to popular request, we included Lego structures in addition to 1000 piece puzzles. We had over a dozen families participate this time around. Doing the puzzle and building Lego structure gave families a much needed break from screen time after a year long online schooling in the case of most students. The interest in the challenge was so high that many families completed not just one item, but multiple puzzles or Lego structures.
Here are our winners:
1000 piece puzzle:
Debbie Goswami and family
Even though this challenge is over, we strongly encourage families to continue puzzling. We are working on setting up a puzzle exchange at India Center. Thank you to everyone who participated and we look forward to seeing you all soon at our next challenge.
ISW Harvest Festival 2021
On Sat, Feb 13, 2021, we kicked off the first major event of the ISW calendar year – The Harvest Festival. And what a great way to start!!
This was our way of beginning the new year with positivity, prosperity and happiness. As per Indian mythology, Harvest festival (which is known by different names in different regions in India) marks the end of an unfavorable phase and the beginning of a holy phase. Particularly in the villages of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Himachal, West Bengal and Punjab, people celebrate the harvesting of new crops with bonfires, carnivals, songs, dances, kite flying and rallies.
For obvious reasons, we could not gather in person as in previous years. However, we invited the extended ISW community to come participate in the cultural event and dance competition virtually. And it was met with tremendous interest.
The event was kicked off virtually and streamed LIVE on ISW’s Facebook page.
The program ran for more than 3 hours and consisted of 35 performances ranging from Indian classical dances to semi classical dances interspersed with Bollywood medleys, poem recitations and even a very lively debate. All the dances were brilliantly choreographed and extremely entertaining to young and old alike.
If you missed the event, you can still view it at the following links -
Live 1 - https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=923983718407338&ref=watch_permalink
Live 2 -https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=901184797402446&ref=watch_permalink
As always, these events are not possible without our ISW family and community participation. Each one of them contributes to the success that we talk about here.
We thank our participants for sharing their talent and love with us.
We thank our judges for sharing their knowledge and time to encourage our participants.
We thank the ISW Cultural committee and our volunteers for putting countless hours into making this event a success.
And we cannot do this without our sponsors, a BIG thank you to them as well.
Below 9 years:
Ekta Dance Academy - 1st winner
Street Dancers - 2nd winner
Academy of Creative Arts - Little Kids - 3rd winner
Odhani - 1st winner
Girls on Fire - 2nd winner
Performing Arts of New England - 3rd winner
Performing Arts of New England - 1st winner
Vande Matram - 2nd winner
Girls of the Galaxy - 3rd winner
Boston Desi Hoppers - 1st winner
The Dholikaars - 2nd winner
Hellaro - 3rd winner
Below 9 years:
Amudhasri Dance School - 1st winner
Mona's Dance Academy - 2nd winner
Upasana - 1st winner
Amudhasri dance school - 2nd winner
Amudhasri dance school - 3rd winner
Performing Arts of New England - 1st winner
Please use this link to Donate for this event only via credit card
if you click the link it will automatically lead you to create an account which takes only a few seconds!
With February marking Black History Month, it’s more important than ever to recognize the ways we can use our resources to help aid racial equity efforts. Throughout the month of February, SAYAA is encouraging those who can to donate to organizations such as The Boys and Girls Club of Worcester. Donating helps those who are disproportionately affected by economic downturns, and even a small amount can go a long way.
SAYAA will screen "13th" in an online Movie Night. We would love to have you, your family, and your friends join us! Funds raised will be donated to The Boys and Girls Club of Worcester (https://www.bgcworcester.org/).
SAYAA South Asian Activists and Allies at ISW is dedicated to disseminating resources about important social justice and racial equity initiatives while also increasing our own self-reflection of the role South Asian communities can play in supporting social justice and promoting activism to combat such trends.
If you are between the ages of 15-35 and are interested in joining us or learning more, please contact email@example.com with any questions or inquiries.
January 23, 2021
The webinar was held on January 23, 2021, with 57+ attendees. It was a 90-minute webinar, the first part was an information presentation led by Dr. Mayank Jaiswal as the facilitator and Ms. Shubh Agrawal. It was followed by a question and answer session with a parents’ panel comprising Poonam & Sanjay Hingorany, Snehlata & Jagan Srinivasan, Ramendra & Ruchi Chauhan, and Aaryan Bhatt.
Mayank took the discussion through the step by step process of applying for college. He compared the process akin to presenting a bouquet of flowers where different flowers take different amounts of time to bloom, where the charm of each flower is best brought out by the careful nurturing during different phases of its horticultural cycle. It is important to track what interests the child, how s/he spends his/her free time, and Mayank gave suggestions on exposing the child through micro internships to different experiences or doing an assessment through the ‘Innate’ website.
To help in choosing the right fit with a college, he suggested research using the MYFIT option in US News and choosing different kinds of volunteer opportunities to build up credibility in defining the student goals.
The slide presentation outlined the many moving parts of the college admission process, and the session addressed topics such as school grades, standardized tests, essays, extracurriculars, and financials. Shubh stressed the importance of ensuring the children's wellbeing throughout the process. The panelists had children ranging from the middle school to high school to college graduates and they offered brief insights into the admissions process, how to plan on saving for college and help families navigate the college selection process with minimal stress.
The survey results confirmed the need for more information on Financial Aid, test preparation and volunteer opportunities. There was an interest in hearing from high school graduates on how they navigated their volunteer work and chose their college and their major.
As a follow-up, we are proposing mini seminars on various topics of interest. We have also created a network of parents and students via firstname.lastname@example.org, in the hope that we can create a community support framework for the families navigating this process.
Upcoming Seminars: Saturdays 3.30 pm February - July 2021
Overview Session (repeat of January 23 Session): July 2021: – free for all attendees
Tentative Monthly: Mini Sessions - Free
1. Financial planning and college coaches.
2. Mental Wellness and time management.
3. Essay & Resume writing.
4. How to tackle Standardized Tests and College Interviews.
5. High school graduates discuss their college/major selections.
6. Negotiation and comparison of college financial packages and fees between big-name colleges and in-state colleges and universities.
College Connect Team
Mayank Jaiswal, Facilitator & Professor at Rider College
Poonam & Sanjay Hingorany, parents of undergrad and grad college students
Ramendra & Ruchi Chauhan, parents of middle school and college freshman
Snehlata & Jagan Srinivasan, parents of middle school & themselves college professors
PDF of Slides
Link to ISW YouTube Zoom recording.
----------Dr. Mayank Jaiswal and Poonam Hingorany.
ISW Puzzle Session 2 challenge for vacation week. begins February 12 at 5 pm. and ends February 21, 2021 at 5 pm. Last time 21 families joined, and we hope to start a puzzle exchange library in ISW Puzzles (Whatsapp group), so do contact us soon. Send a picture of the new puzzle to email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org on Feb 12 and your phone number.
There will be public recognition for (a) the first completed puzzle/Lego, and (b) the most complicated puzzle/Lego. So 4 non-monetary prizes.
Last challenge was a lot of fun.
A 1000 piece puzzle or Lego can be used.
---Snehalata Kadam & Lucky Hoque
Puzzling with Puzzles ----Snehal Kadam
As a parent, how many of you have bought the world map and map of India to hang it in your family room? Well I have! The hope was that my kids will look at it often. Clearly, I wasn’t right about it. And one fine day, I saw my friend finishing a very complex 1000 piece world map puzzle. Looking at the intricacy of the puzzle, gave me an idea. How better to educate my kids about geography of the world and reduce their screen time! :) It seemed like the perfect fun family activity. One problem though, how do I get my kids interested in this and yet make it engaging? I decided that having a reward-based puzzle competition sounded a great idea. Incentives are a good way of getting kids engaged in activities that are usually dealt with groans and whys!!
We all know puzzles have many benefits like:
1) it improves your short-term memory.
2) it exercises the left and right sides of your brain at once, (thanks to my neuroscientist hubby!)
3) improves your visual-spatial reasoning,
4) a great meditation tool and stress reliever
5) a great way to connect with family
6) great for some needed alone time
7) And You'll live longer
My biggest bane as a teacher/mother/parent is getting into the winter vacation and having my whole family stuck to electronics. So the idea of getting away from the electronics accompanied with the puzzle competition made perfect sense. I borrowed the puzzle from my friend, Lucky and decided to get started with the kids. We even cleared out our kitchen island and all of us got together to separate the puzzle pieces. The task though overwhelming was a challenge as the first day was spent more about strategizing how to solve it. I was surprised to see each member of the family come up with different ideas. As we got on solving the puzzle, little did I realize that it was so much fun and rewarding to even figure out where a single piece went. Days went by and the puzzle started to come together. The smiles and discussions that went on the kitchen island was music to my ears. Remember all this went on with a 3 year old tugging our PJs to find out what the fun was ! So by the 6 th day, we had solved almost all of the puzzle, I mean we had 999 pieces on the board. But we were unable to find the last piece. The whole house got searching for the missing piece. Frustrations rose among the kids and us, as to where could the last piece have gone. Little did we all know that our 3-year old wanted to be involved in the puzzle. She had carefully hid the last piece in the partition of our sofa! Once found, the smiles returned and she placed the final piece in the right spot. The joy of a completed puzzle bought out our inner child and we all gave ourselves a group hug !
When I decided to start the competition, I did not imagine so many families joining in. The excitement in the community was amazing as 21 families participated in the competition. Some of the families even rushed to buy the puzzles to participate in this fun family event. One common message I got from all families was how this brought all of us from their screens to the dining and kitchen tables as a family! So thank you to all who participated. Happy New Year to all of you and may we solve many more puzzles in the coming year!
1.Kinkin Kumari and Divya Singh
2. Lazers: Yajas and Sai
3. The Piparia sisters
4. Shaurya and Suhani Aditi Jain
5. Deshpande family
6. Navin Jain Family: Dhruv and Rishi !1st Dec24th)
7. Gupta Girls (4th)
8. Shiamin and Raj Melville
9. Dhruv Arush Urvi & Jagan
10. Lucky Hoque
11. Tanushree Nekenti
12. Dixit Brothers
13. Rajit and Kashvi Naik (3rd Dec 25th 7 PM)
14. Anika and Rohan Savla (Yashodhara)
15. Shilpa Nikte (2nd Dec25th 330PM)
16. Anu Melville and Jack Saxe Staral
17. Ayan Mishra (Neha)
18. Khanna (Stuti)
19. Peerzade's (Sahar)
20. Karishma Babani (Manju)
21. Mukta Munjal
Puzzles are fun and a great way to pass time when you are bored. They are also challenging as they make you think how to put pieces in the right place and forces you to look carefully for differences in the pieces. The puzzle we solved was named “The Mystic Maze”. We really enjoyed solving the puzzle as it was mysterious with a lot of very small details and a lot of different colors. We had a lot of fun doing the puzzle as a family!– Dhruv (9) and Rishi (12) Jain. They have donated the gift card to the ISW’s Crisis Committee’s fundraising efforts. So inspiring
ISW Nominating Committee would like to announce the elections for the 2021-22 Executive Board and Governance Committee. The nominating committee would like to present the following slate:
Slate of Candidates
Mr. Puneet Kohli
I am a life member of ISW, serving the community for past 12+ years. I live in Grafton with my wife, son, daughter and parents. My son is doing is undergrad at UCSD. As part of ISW community I have had the honor to volunteer and lead many community serving activities at ISW from cultural to strategic to logistical. As member of the Executive board for over 12 years I hope to continue to serve ISW and community. Being a software engineer by profession I hope to continue to help connect ISW to larger community in Greater Boston area.
Dr. Jagan Srinivasan
My name is Jagan Srinivasan and I am a resident of Shrewsbury for the past 8 years. Since our arrival here, most members of my family have been involved in volunteering at various cultural activities organized by ISW. I have 2 boys and a lovely 3 year old girl. My wife Snehal and I have been part of ISW community for past 8 years and have active volunteers for ISW and many other community activities.
Mr. Balki Chandrakasan
Balki Chandrakasan currently lives in North Grafton, MA with his wife and two kids . I have been very active in community volunteering in various organizations and associated with ISW for the last 12+ years . He started with ISW language school teaching Tamil for several years and later became part of ISW executive board for the last 4 years .He is always interested in connecting with people and working to bring the Indian community together Balki is a Senior Technology Professional and working for Charles River Labs .
Mr. Manoharan Ganapathy
I am living in Massachusetts for more than 12 years, from a small town near Chennai, Tamil Nadu and residing in Shrewsbury with my family. I am very passionate about service and giving back to my community. I have been active in many nonprofit organizations for the past 6 years. Glad to be part of the ISW family.
Mr. Rajesh Khare
Rajesh is currently serving as the Treasurer of ISW (2019-2020). Rajesh has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2018 and has been an active member for many years. Rajesh has volunteered at many events/activities like Westborough/Shrewsbury parades, Language School, India Day, Diwali at WAM etc. He lives in Westborough with his wife Arti and 2 kids. Both kids attend the Marathi school at ISW
Mrs. Poonam Hingorany
Poonam has been volunteering at the India Society of Worcester since the mid 2000’s and held a position on the Executive Board as the IYG Advisor from 2014 to 2018. She is serving as Assistant Treasurer on the current Executive Board. Poonam has a master’s degree in Accounting and an MBA from Framingham State University. She lives in Grafton, MA with her husband Sanjay and daughters Sneha and Pooja who both have been students and then student teachers of the ISW Cultural school and IYG Board members. Poonam enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, trying out new dishes and staying active
Mrs. Amita Rao
Amita has been part of ISW serving in many roles as a volunteer. Her passion to volunteer and help drive many of the events has made her contribution to ISW valuable. She lives in Westborough with her husband, son & daughter who all are active volunteers in many ISW
Mrs. Nisha Bawa
Namaste !! My name is Nisha Bawa & I am a life member of India society of Worcester. I have severed on ISW committee in various capacities. I am honored to be nominated to server as religious committee chair person for the second year.
Mrs. Ruchi Chauhan
Ruchi and her husband Ramendra live in Shrewsbury, MA with their older son, Yash, who is a freshman in Northeastern University and their younger son, Kunal, who is currently in 8th grade. Both have been students at the ISW school as well as IYG members. She currently has been working at Floral Street School and is very passionate about working with kids.
She started at ISW Language school as a volunteer Hindi teacher. Currently, as a Co-Director, she is responsible for over 140 students that attend five language classes on Saturday and Sunday, organizing classes for 11 different grades in 5 diverse languages, and recruiting over 40 volunteers that teach the sessions. For 2020, during the COVID lockdown, she helped create Masti Mazaa classes - free online classes for kids where they participated in different activities like origami, math, english, cooking, etc. During 2020, the online language classes and the one-on-one tutoring classes by IYG members, have helped the ISW community operate in response to the COVID-19 lockdown, thereby continuing ISW’s work in the community.
Mr. Shri Garg
I have been a volunteer of ISW since 1981 or so. During this time I have served ISW in several positions such as Assistant Secretary, Scholarship Committee chair, IYG Adviser, President, Chair, Board of Trustees. For the last 3 years or so I am serving ISW as Chair, India Center Committee. I would like to continue my job for the next term also. I hope ISW has liked my service in previous years. I would like to do a much better job in the coming years. It is always my privilege to serve ISW and I am thankful to the ISW community for its trust in me.
Mr. Arvind Basil
I was born in India in 1960, married to Anita in 1987. Blessed with daughters Shruti and Kirti (who are now Physicians ) in 1988 and son Amogh ( presently a Junior in Assumption College)in 1999. I moved to USA in 2003.
I have been an entrepreneur through out my life. I presently live in Auburn and own the UPS store at Westborough.
Mrs. Suchitra Agarwal
Suchitra Agrawal has been a resident of Shrewsbury for over 32 years. She graduated with a Masters's degree in English Literature from the University of Rajasthan and has done her schooling at Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls Public School in Jaipur.She has been a lifetime member of ISW for 20 years and has actively participated in various roles throughout the organization. These roles include participation in the Religious Committee, the Rental Committee, the School Committee, and she has most recently served as a Member-At-Large. She has been a Hindi K-1 language teacher since 2007 and has been passionate about introducing the youngest language students to the Hindi School. She has also served as a member of Bancroft School's PTA and has supported the Shrewsbury Public Libary in their volunteer and community outreach endeavors. She has always found joy in volunteering for community and educational organizations, particularly working with senior citizens and young children, and often combines her interests from running a local knitting group to collecting food and clothes for charities. Among her proudest achievements is watching her two children progress through the Hindi School and become language teachers themselves before graduating. She finds true pleasure in being part of ISW and is always willing to do whatever it takes to serve the community. She currently resides in Shrewsbury with her husband.
Mr. Kamlesh Khilnani
Born and raised in Mumbai, living in Marlborough, MA now with my wife, Preeti (also from Mumbai) and two boys, Arnav and Jeet. ISW has been a great find for our family, making great connections, having the resources to expose our kids to some cultural activities, language school and the new state of the art India center.
Mrs. Sakshi Garao
My name is Sakshi Gurao and living in Shrewsbury from last seven years. I am an accountant by profession. With great interest in social activities, I joined Spirit of Shrewsbury Fall Festival in town and currently working as a volunteer Treasurer position in the organization. I have various interest mainly in art, dance, music, and cooking. I am trained traditional Indian dancer.
Mrs. Bhawna Sadhu
The committee nominates the following members for Committee on Governance :
Meera Gupta has served the ISW Community in various roles for over 30 years. She worked as an Architect and Builder for many years. Meera currently ownsAunty G's, an Indian Street Food and Ice Cream Restaurant with her husband in Marlboro, MA. She was the First Woman President of ISW from 2005-2008. Also, she was adevoted Religious Committee Chair and Chair of India Center Committee for several years. Meera is committed to being a loyal member of India Society of Worcester for years to come.
If you have any questions, please send an email to email@example.com
ISW Committee on Nominations
Renuka Garg(Chair), Barin Bando, Carolyn Passey, Sonal Koppikar, Shaikh Hoque
The Committee on Nomination of India Society of Worcester is pleased to announce the upcoming General Body meeting and Elections to be held on Sunday, January 31, 2021* at 2 PM at India Center (152 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA)
The committee solicits nomination for all the following 15 positions of the Executive Board for a term of 2 years starting January 2021.
In addition, the committee solicits names for the nomination for all the 3 Positions of Governance Committee for a term of 2 years starting January 2021.
Please use the online form to submit your nominations - Nominate Here
Included below are eligibility requirements that must be met for all nominations
A person nominated for a post in the Executive Board shall be a dues paying member of the Society for at least one full year prior to the election date. In addition, a person nominated for the position of the President and Vice-President shall meet the following requirements:
You can nominate yourself or any eligible members for the open positions. To nominate a person to one of the positions, please use the online form by clicking here on or before November 22nd, 2020.
Once the nominations are received, the nomination committee will create a slate of prospective candidates to be appointed for all the posts. This slate will be available to the general public on or before January 13th 2021. Please look for the slate in your email and on our website www.ISWOnline.org.
Please email the nomination committee firstname.lastname@example.org), if you any queries about the slate or the nomination process. (you can also reach Renuka Garg @ 508 523 6664). Nominating Committee members include -
(Renuka Garg, Barin Bando, Shaikh Hoque, Carolyn Passey, Sonal Koppikar)
* Date is subject to change based on the COVID-related restrictions and construction schedule at India Center.