HAPPENINGS AT ISW
Affinity Networking: a ISW-Women Empowering Women (WEW) event
By Snehalata Kadam and the WEW team
On January 8 th 2022, we organized an online event called ”The Art of Self-portrayal: defining your presence”.
The event was an interactive, inspirational conversation attended by members of the community. The participants were from diverse professional backgrounds, for instance: an oncologist, leading a drug discovery company, a mental health professional and an entrepreneur. They provided an unique perspective on the theme by sharing their journey with us. The take-home message of the event was that being confident and prepared enables you to succeed in any professional setup. All participants interacted and left with a smile on their face.
WEW team members Kalyani Kanuri and Neha Kaushal did a great job engaging the attendees and carrying the conversations forward.
The WEW initiative is part of ISW’s 2025 strategic plan focusing on ELEVATING, EDUCATING and EMPOWERING women.
For ideas and suggestions, contact Snehal at
The 15th Annual India Society of Worcester Christmas celebrations were held at the newly expanded India center on December 11, 2021 following the CDC guidelines. Families dressed in Christmas colors in Indian attire, from women in their colorful Saris, to men in their suits and cultural garb, kicked off the 2021 Christmas season together!.. Christmas lights with the sounds of joyous Christmas carols sung rang through the hall bought Christmas Spirit. After 2020’s Drive-thru Children’s Christmas Gifts pick up, in the midst of the Pandemic , many families wished to attend the in-person 2021 event but the registration has to be closed early to limit the audience to maintain Social distancing in the auditorium..
This year’s Christmas Story was shared by Mr. Justin Joseph, Professor of communications at Boston University bringing the significance of birth of Jesus Christ to bring Peace and Hope in times like this . Mr. Puneet Kohli , President of ISW along with Family cut the first Christmas cake following ISW Christmas tradition with greetings to the community, Dr, Jagan Srinivasan , VP ISW, presented the 2025 ISW Vision and Mr Rajoo Ananth, Chair , ISW Crisis committee , shed some light on community care for hurting families in the pandemic Also ISW presented a donation to the T&G Santa Fund to reach out to community around us to share the love. The appearance of Santa Claus, bought Cheer and Joy to the children as they received Christmas presents and took pictures with Santa. The families was also given to-go boxes with Indian food to enjoy at home with their families.
On Thursday, October 14th, 2021, the third session of WEW (Women Empowering Women) took place at ISW. Snehal and Neha did a great job presenting the panelists, women who are well established in their respective fields and have demonstrated leadership in their career path. The audience was enthralled by their accomplishments and their guidance and tips for successful career growth.
Reeta Rao, the Head of the Biology Biotechnology Department at WPI is an extremely accomplished and confident woman in the field of education and research. She prepares and mentors young scientists and researchers. She gave insight into how she has excelled in the field of biotechnology and is a role model for women who aspire to be in the teaching and research fields.
It was heartwarming to hear about Nausheen Maulana’s journey from MathWorks, where she began modestly in the quality assurance team, and later became CTO and start up Advisor. She led complex teams faced many challenges and was successful in turning them around. She has a passion for learning and integrating new technologies.
Apeksha Tripathi, a gentle and soft-spoken woman, has done amazing things in the field of medicine. Apeksha not only runs a pediatric and women's health primary care facility, she also teaches at University of Massachusetts Medical School. She has been awarded for teaching as well.
Priya Samant works in the fields of Social Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation, Non-Profit Management, Women and Youth Empowerment, Strategy Consulting, and Government and Politics. She is actively involved in her community and stays connected to her Indian roots and can be seen eloquently draping a saree be it a high political meeting or being a panelist, or even a presenter at various forums.
Neha Beniwal spoke about how she faced reluctance from her parents while she wanted to come to the USA for further studies. Neha always focused on what she wanted to achieve. She set a path for herself in the male dominated field of cyber security. She believes in the three E’s (Educate, Engage, and Enable) and the 3 I’s (Inclusion, Influence, and Impact) as she feels this is what makes a person achieve their goals.
This seminar was a humble and insightful experience. Hearing the panelists making big impacts in their field and continuing to influence and make a difference to women was inspiring. Audience has inquisitive questions to the panelist which made the session very successful.
WEW will hold its next session in December 2021.
Thank you for your enthusiastic participation in Shrewsbury Got Talent 2021.
If you missed seeing the Facebook Live event, you can still watch it on the ISW Facebook page. Links provided below -
Part 1 - https://www.facebook.com/iswonline/videos/935782133948981
Part 2 - https://www.facebook.com/iswonline/videos/264162755563306
Winners were announced during the event. Here are the winners again -
Tiny Tots - 8 years and below
1st prize - Alex Wilson
2nd prize- Sahasra Singari
3rd prize - Pihu Mangarhe
Young Icons - 9-12 years old
1st Prize - Rihana Sophia Dash
2rd Prize - Prisha Kumar
3rd Prize - Anthony Fuzaylov
Terrific Teens - 13-18 years old
1st - Adele Fuzaylov
2nd prize- Advait Bhowmik
3rd prize - Ethan Nguyen
Awesome Artists - 19 years and above
1st prize - Sneha Swaminathan
2rd prize - Grishma Shah Gandhi
3rd prize- Nitika Kundra
Congratulations to all the winners.
And others, please don't lose heart. It was a VERY close competition. Be proud of yourself and keep rocking!
Amita Rao, Cultural Chair, India Society of Worcester
We had a very successful open house on Sep 19th for new parents. All the teachers joined and introduced themselves. (Watch the video)
On September 26, we had our first day of school. It was held in person in our beautiful building. After the remote learning it was great to hear the halls and classrooms filled with the chatter of the kids, and the hustle and bustle of learning. Currently we have received 108 registration. At the first day of school, everyone was careful to wear masks and follow the protocol. ISW provided hand sanitizers in every space.
By Sarita Deshpande
On Sunday September 12th ISW's very own Shrewsbury Ganeshotsav Mandal (SGM) team celebrated Ganesh Festival with lots of enthusiasm and vigor, for the tenth year in a row. Ganesh festival is mainly celebrated in Maharashtra, where its public festival form was first introduced by the leading freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak in his hometown of Pune. With the spread of Marathi speakers across India, the Ganesh festival is now celebrated outside Maharashtra too. People celebrate and follow the tradition fondly in various parts of the world.
This year's festival at ISW had many significant highlights. First and foremost, it was held in the newly renovated India Center. Second highlight was the hand-made three and half feet Ganesh idol. It was made out of eco-friendly clay, by local artist Shrikant Savant. Shrikant along with his wife Sapna and daughter Urvi spent umpteen days in July and August to create this beautiful idol. The devotees who came marvelled at the grace and beauty of the idol with much appreciation.
The pooja, aarti in the morning was performed by Guruji Shrikant Joshi which was telecast live on the ISW Facebook page and followed by a cultural program. The event was held in a hybrid mode to limit the in-person attendance, in accordance with covid guidelines.
The theme of the event was folk art (लोककला) of Maharashtra. In conjunction with the theme, the local artists had made a beautiful backdrop of various folk arts of Maharashtra in picture form. One more highlight from the cultural program entertainment by Music 18 group from India. It also included an interview of popular Marathi and Hindi celebrity couple and Hindi actors, Ashok Saraf and Nivedita Joshi Saraf.
The third highlight of the event was the Dhol-Tasha. The team played the instruments (specially ordered from India) in a procession with many others dancing and rejoicing to the rhythm. The air was filled with energy and a lot of enthusiasm just like the festival back in India. From the older generation to young kids everyone enjoyed the music and participated in the celebration fever wholeheartedly. The afternoon entertainment program was broadcast live where local artists performed various dances and songs to highlight ten different local folk arts.
All in all, it was a very colorful celebration with pooja, prasad, entertainment program, decorations and food, and the added grandeur of the newly renovated India Center. Everyone who attended the program enjoyed it thoroughly. The fruitful completion left all very satisfied, especially the volunteers who had planned the event for months.
The Shrewsbury Ganeshotsav Mandal Team consists of Ashok Kale, Atul Deshpande, Durgesh Warty, Govind Dindore, Manjiri Patil, Priya Vaidya, Sakshi Gurao, Sarita Deshpande, Shrikant Savant, Vishakha Khamankar, and Yatin Manjrekar.
You can view the video of the cultural program and the pooja on the ISW Facebook page.
By Snehalata Kadam
ISW Women Empowering Women (WEW) held its summer event on Thursday, August 12, inviting a panel of 5 professional women from varied backgrounds. The rationale behind this event was showcasing how different talents leads to one’s contentment. Each speaker shared their intriguing stories, career choices and hurdles they faced in their journey so far. It was fun to hear their stories, ask questions and the engaging audience appreciated the insights.
Priya Vaidya, A multi-talented personality:
After completing her M. Tech. in Biomedical Engineering from IIT Bombay, Powaii, her desire was to pursue further studies in United States. Per the demands of a conservative society in India, she got married. Instead, she came to the US on a student visa and completed her Masters in Electrical Engineering from Brandeis University. Though she was keen on pursuing her PhD in the Bio-Medical field, she concluded that her happiness was more important than her potential academic profession. Fast forward to today. Not getting a PhD degree did not stop her from being any less successful as a professional. She has published 15 papers and has 12 patents. While being at the peak of her successful professional career, she followed her creative intellect with poetry, art, and culinary skills. She has also poured many hours and days volunteering and fund raising.
Sarmistha Bera, Singer
Just like many of us, Sarmistha went through the norms of an arranged marriage and moved to the US on a dependent visa. Prior to her move, she was a college teacher back in India and was quite sure of continuing with a career in education in the US. She kept an open mind and investigated available opportunities and what she could enjoy professionally beside teaching. She decided to do her masters in Computer Science. At the same time, she had a very young child at home and another on the way. With her hands full, she had to keep aside her love for music. As she was hoping to get back to her world of music once she was free of familial responsibilities, she brought her musical instruments with her when she moved to US. She also thrives on experimenting with growing unique plants at home. She has grown a three foot tall Jamun tree. Nature and gardening has taught her to be grounded. One day you are planning to harvest your precious cauliflower in your vegetable garden. The next day you see an animal has cleared it all. It is such a bummer yet such an experience grounds you to go ahead and try again next year.
Amita Naik, Environmentalist
Amita also came to US on a dependent visa, but the stay at home scenario didn’t stop her from exploring opportunities to understand and learn about the difference between tropical agriculture and temperate one. She did not let go of her love of agriculture and environmental sustainability. She joined the library, attended green and suitability conferences, volunteered at the environmental health department through a connection she made at one of the conferences. Once she got her Employment Authorization Document, she worked at Price Chopper to build her employment record. As she had done a Masters, she did question whether she was doing the right thing. She felt working at Price Chopper made her a resilient person. At the same time she updated her resume, made connections, and never gave up until she finally got a job in her field. Initially the struggle was inevitable with working odd shifts at Price Chopper. Now she has a great job at the MassDEP (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection).
Radhika Bisht, enjoying the constancy and the unconditional love with her dog Zeus
Radhika grew up with dogs in her house back in India. After moving to the US, doing a Masters in Software Engineering and joining the workforce, the ups and the downs on the professional front, the effort raising the family, she really yearned for the unconditional love of a pet. Once she got her pet Zeus, she felt complete. She got a feeling of contentment and closer to nature through him. She found the weather wouldn’t bother her and her work stress would disappear with the smile that Zeus would bring to her face. The one thing she truly treasures with Zeus every single moment is reliving her childhood.
Karuna Gurbaxani Bhatia, a multicultural accounts expert
Karuna has done a masters in business management from India. She has worked in multiple countries- in India, in the UAE and now in the US. As a management leader working with employees from different cultural backgrounds has broadened her perspective and trained her to be a robust learner. She is very passionate about yoga and uses it to create a family environment of togetherness at home and to build a better future. Her lesson in life is that the definition of perfection is unique for each individual, three is no general definition that fits everyone.
Thank you for supporting our summer programs. With the help of our volunteers we were fortunate to hold 20 summer sessions over the last two months. Looking forward, we now want to share our upcoming academic programs, please see below
ISW University: Introduction to Lego Robotics (second session) 1st grade to 4th Grade $25 for 5 sessions starting August 2, ending August 6
ISW UnIiversity: Tutoring: Preparing for the upcoming academic year, one-on-one six sessions $30, ending August 31, schedule is mutual
ISW University: QI (key) Skills: Middle Schoolers Guide to Managing Time (free webinar), August 11 at 11 am (45) mins
September 20 session start date
ISW University: Tutoring: Support during academic year, $90 for 18 sessions, starting September 20, 2021
September 11 (Saturday)
ISW University: Learning how to program a robot using LEGO Mindstorms 4th grade to 7th Grade $80 for 8-10 sessions
Usha Yadav Advisor
Tanvi Gahlot Registrar/Manager
Poonam Hingorany, ISW Executive Board
Shiamin Melville, Chair, 508-353-4316
Under ISW Symphony's Culinary Arts wing, this very first program of 'Achaar Making workshop' was held at the India Center on July 10th.
The three demonstrators were Reeta Tandon, Suchitra Agrawal and Neena Sehgal.
Reeta ji showed a unique way of making sweet and sour raw mango pickle. The pickle which is very popular to the people who like sweet and especially in the hot summer days this kind of pickle can accompany any menu of the meal.
Suchitra ji revealed a secret traditional with her own creative inputs in the recipe of making 'carrots, cauliflower and turnip sweet and sour pickle'. The pickle itself was looking so tempting that the attendees could not resists but showed an interest to taste it as soon as it got ready.
Neena ji Sehgal started her demonstration by showing a fresh, green chilies to the audience. Many of the attendees asked her that 'isn't it going to be too spicy?' Neenaji answered them very quietly 'you better taste it!'. Believe it or not but when I, myself could taste that 'chilie' with curd rice and realized what she meant to say.. The green chiilies when it got mixed with all other spices and some vinegar sprinkles; diluted the extra spiciness of the chillies .
The overall event was very well appreciated by the 25+ attendees. There is a demand of many more such demo and workshops in this series.
The next one in this Culinary Arts series will be 'South Indian Achaars'. Stay tuned for the more details. Till then, keep cooking!!
--Sarita Deshpande, Chair ISW Symphony
- Tanvi Gahlot
My name is Tanvi Gahlot and I am one of the volunteers for ISW. I am going to be going into my sophomore year at WHS. Below I have listed some of the volunteer opportunities at ISW with a small description and links to forms.
1. IYG - https://iswonline.org/page-18066
The Indian Youth Group is a group of 7th-12th graders for the youth, run by the youth. We have meetings once every month and have many volunteer opportunities. Some of these include dance events, walks to raise awareness for issues, and many other fun events. I have been a part of IYG since 7th grade and I have learned a lot and truly enjoyed the whole experience.
If your child is interested please email email@example.com for more information and to join.
2. Tutoring- https://iswonline.org/page-18129
ISW has a great program called "ISW University". Currently, over the summer we are running a 8 week long summer camp with subjects ranging from Math and English to Robotics and Coding. Additionally, there is a year long tutoring program where high schoolers can tutor younger kids in varies subjects. I am a tutor year long and am also volunteering for the summer camp, I’ve loved teaching kids a lot since the pandemic hit and this program started.
If your child is interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to join click here .
3. eSandesh- https://iswonline.org/eSandesh-Newsletter
Each month ISW publishes 2 newsletters. In this newsletter there is a "youth corner" which many high schoolers and middle schoolers volunteer for. I actually write for the eSandesh and do career profiles and interviews of people in different career fields. However, the eSandesh has a variety of topics, such as poems and articles.
If your child is interested in writing for the eSandesh please contact email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com .
4. Events- https://iswonline.org/page-18090?EventViewMode=1&EventListViewMode=2&SelectedDate=7/8/2021&CalendarViewType=0
Each year ISW has many event would never be as fun without all the hardworking volunteers. Currently, the India Day Event is coming up and we need may volunteers.
India Day Event Information: https://iswonline.org/event-4380319?CalendarViewType=0&SelectedDate=6/8/2021
If your child is interested in volunteering for the ISW India Day Event please fill out the following form: https://forms.gle/zR4ygHEuHzi51kKc7
For questions about the India Day Event please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this helps!